Watchmaker Recommendation for your Vintage Seiko's (and Swiss/American!): ClockSavant
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  1. #1
    Member WRXtranceformed's Avatar
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    Watchmaker Recommendation for your Vintage Seiko's (and Swiss/American!): ClockSavant

    Hi WUS fam! As usual this will be a bit of a long read but I wanted to share my experience with a recent vintage Seiko purchase and my quest to find a watchmaker I trusted to service it. I’m excited to say that I found one, a really good one, and here is the story how:
    Recently, I purchased a stunning vintage 1970’s JDM yellow hands Speedtimer Kakume (6138-0030) from another collector and decided to put it through a proper service since it would be a keeper for a while.






    The watch was running when I received it but it was averaging about -41sec/day on and off the wrist, the crystal had some chips in its edges, chronograph would not always reset correctly, and the hour chrono register had stopped working. I’ve been dealing with another watchmaker who will remain nameless that’s had another vintage Seiko of mine for about twice as long as anticipated (8+ months) and has not been a good communicator. Having been through a couple of watchmakers now that haven’t met my expectations, I knew I needed to seek out someone who was a master at their craft, honest, communicative and who wouldn’t have unnecessarily long lead times. Frankly, the collector community needs more resources like that.

    As I’ve been building my Instagram community, I came across a DC based watchmaker not far from where I grew up named ClockSavant (Eric Greenberg). What originally caught my attention were his posts detailing his forensic, detailed approach to servicing rare vintage watches and the problems that he faced with questionable work from other watchmakers in the past. Following a few DM conversations, I was convinced that Eric was the one I was looking for even though his specialty was vintage Swiss and American watches. Although the market for quality watchmaking work for Seikos really has not been that big in the past, with the meteoric rise in vintage Seiko prices and more serious collectors getting into the brand I gave him my opinion that there would be more people like me looking for quality service work for these aging chronographs. He was willing to take a flier on my project and dive into my Kakume.
    From the beginning of the ClockSavant process, it was like night and day compared to my past watch service experiences. I received a login to a web-based portal where he communicated his initial pre-service assessment and where we could chat back and forth throughout the service. A cloud-based photo album was also created to document pics of the entire process. I have probably 75+ pictures of the service documented for posterity! Here is an Imgur album I hosted with some of my favorites: https://imgur.com/a/4imQfLX

    What impressed me out of the gate though was his desire to go “all in” and understand the project before it began. While my Kakume was in the mail to him, he purchased two of his own 6138s to disassemble and service (including a beautiful Bullhead that’s currently for sale on his site) so that he could know what to expect from these old chrono movements. This Kakume was, as it turned out, plagued by gremlins from a heavy handed, careless watchmaker in the past so the experience was super helpful going into it.
    Right out of the gate, some of the causes of the timing and chrono register issues became apparent. The mainspring barrel was filthy and overflowing with excessive, dirty grease. Excessive oil was used throughout the entire watch and he also found human hairs left inside the movement in a number of places.




    Due to possible direct bare handling of the movement, there was more rust on some of the watch levers that led to weakening of the metal. They were cleaned and strengthened where possible, and he ended up replacing the flyback lever altogether with an OEM replacement due to a concern that it could fail at some point in the future. The chronograph mechanism needed significant attention including replacement of worn and incorrect parts and improper adjustment of something called eccentric screws. As I learned from Eric, eccentric screws are essentially the “brains” of the chronograph mechanism, guiding sensitive tolerances and motion between chronograph parts. If these are improperly adjusted by a past watchmaker, the work to correct them can be very complicated. The forensic approach that Eric took helped to reveal to me why, for a watch you really care about, it is super important not to just accept the lowest priced watchmaking solution. A simple “clean and oiling” is not adequate, a watch must be fully disassembled and inspected to diagnose current and possible future issues. As I learned, cleaning and oiling is only one part of the total work involved— diagnosis, adjustment, optimization, and repair of past servicing errors and wear are essential. While not as beautiful and more industrial in design than their Swiss counterparts, these old Japanese chronos are actually quite complicated. I am very much in the “buy once, cry once” camp for things I really care about, and a poor watch service can lead to more sunk costs and another broken watch in the future.
    After the course of a few weeks and a lot of communication, I came back from a long business trip to some final pics of my Kakume, crystal replaced and movement running like it did when it left the factory! Eric provided detailed performance measurements of my watch pre- and post-service (amplitude, rate, and beat error) in six positions so I could see the huge performance improvement. From what I was able to glean on the Internet, my watch is now running at top performance.

    Following my flawless experience, I knew that by sharing this glowing review that I was at risk of being too unselfish and could face the possibility of longer wait times for future service from him. But I really believe that the community needs more watchmakers like this one, not just for vintage Swiss makes but also for these valuable vintage Seiko’s that need to be properly preserved. It would not be cool of me to keep this incredible watchmaking resource to myself. If you’re in the market for quality service for your vintage pieces, I would encourage you check out his website as well to see his pedigree and past projects: https://clocksavant.com/. I will say that the investment of a high quality, documented service with full disassembly will not only save you money in the long run, for a savvy collector it should also add to the resale value. If you made it this far, thanks for looking!

    Edit: For some reason, my embedded photos aren't working, so for before and after pics please head over to that link provided above - https://imgur.com/a/4imQfLX
    Last edited by WRXtranceformed; July 23rd, 2018 at 05:02.
    trhall, requiemjp, Rissei and 7 others like this.
    Instagram handle: @watchmodperfect

    Collection: ​Tudor Black Bay 58 / ​Tudor Day Date M76200 / ​TAG Heuer 1000 980.913N / Omega Speedmaster Professional / Seiko 6309-7049 (birth month and year) / Seiko SBDC055 / Seiko SKX009 "Perfect Patina Pepsi" Mod / Seiko SKX based "Perfect Mil-Spec" Mod / Citizen Perpetual Calendar BL5400-52A / Citizen Satellite Wave CC3005-85E / Casio G-Shock GW-6900 / Casio Protrek PRW-3100Y-1BCR / Vintage Casio DW-400 Tachy Meter / Vintage Dufonte / Collins The Bronson / Silver Archetype One

    Previous Mod Projects:
    Seiko SKX007 "Project Perfect SKX" / Seiko SRP775 Turtle "Project Two-Tone" / Seiko SRPB49 "Project Perfect Samurai" / Seiko SRPC91 "Project Perfect Ocean" / Seiko SKX "CWC Explorer" Mod / Seiko SKX based "Perfect Soxa" Mod

  2. #2
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    Re: Watchmaker Recommendation for your Vintage Seiko's (and Swiss/American!): ClockSavant

    Thanks for sharing.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    WRXtranceformed likes this.

  3. #3
    Member rfortson's Avatar
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    Re: Watchmaker Recommendation for your Vintage Seiko's (and Swiss/American!): ClockSavant

    Nice write up and recommendation. Thanks!
    WRXtranceformed likes this.

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  5. #4
    Member WRXtranceformed's Avatar
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    Re: Watchmaker Recommendation for your Vintage Seiko's (and Swiss/American!): ClockSavant

    Quote Originally Posted by requiemjp View Post
    Thanks for sharing.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Quote Originally Posted by rfortson View Post
    Nice write up and recommendation. Thanks!
    You are welcome and I am glad to do it! Like a lot of us I have been burned by watchmakers in the past (and am still dealing with a frustrating situation with one) so I really feel like it's important to seek out new options for the community. Having been through the experience and been a bit of a guinea pig, I can fully endorse (not paid, just appreciative :)) ClockSavant.

    I will try to get some wrist shots up if the forum image hosting is working when it arrives! Sorry the embedded pics aren't working in my original post, not sure what is going on there. The coding looks fine
    Instagram handle: @watchmodperfect

    Collection: ​Tudor Black Bay 58 / ​Tudor Day Date M76200 / ​TAG Heuer 1000 980.913N / Omega Speedmaster Professional / Seiko 6309-7049 (birth month and year) / Seiko SBDC055 / Seiko SKX009 "Perfect Patina Pepsi" Mod / Seiko SKX based "Perfect Mil-Spec" Mod / Citizen Perpetual Calendar BL5400-52A / Citizen Satellite Wave CC3005-85E / Casio G-Shock GW-6900 / Casio Protrek PRW-3100Y-1BCR / Vintage Casio DW-400 Tachy Meter / Vintage Dufonte / Collins The Bronson / Silver Archetype One

    Previous Mod Projects:
    Seiko SKX007 "Project Perfect SKX" / Seiko SRP775 Turtle "Project Two-Tone" / Seiko SRPB49 "Project Perfect Samurai" / Seiko SRPC91 "Project Perfect Ocean" / Seiko SKX "CWC Explorer" Mod / Seiko SKX based "Perfect Soxa" Mod

  6. #5
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    Re: Watchmaker Recommendation for your Vintage Seiko's (and Swiss/American!): ClockSavant

    Thanks for this recommendation. This place isn't far from my home so I dropped my 6139 off yesterday, kind of late in the day. Before I even left for work this morning I had an email with a detailed account of what he had found on his initial inspection as well as a link to a cloud photo album that already had a bunch of pictures of the watch. I was disappointed to see how dirty the movement was in a watch that I kind of overpaid for, but really glad that it will be taken care of by someone like ClockSavant.
    WRXtranceformed likes this.

  7. #6
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    Re: Watchmaker Recommendation for your Vintage Seiko's (and Swiss/American!): ClockSavant

    Quote Originally Posted by WRXtranceformed View Post
    Having been through a couple of watchmakers now that haven’t met my expectations, I knew I needed to seek out someone who was a master at their craft, honest, communicative and who wouldn’t have unnecessarily long lead times. Frankly, the collector community needs more resources like that.]
    You're certainly right about that. There is a vintage Seiko specialist in a town near me who has stopped taking new service work until he clears out his backlog, and Klein Vintage Watch has done the same. The market is there for sure.
    WRXtranceformed likes this.

  8. #7
    Member WRXtranceformed's Avatar
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    Re: Watchmaker Recommendation for your Vintage Seiko's (and Swiss/American!): ClockSavant

    Quote Originally Posted by haejuk View Post
    Thanks for this recommendation. This place isn't far from my home so I dropped my 6139 off yesterday, kind of late in the day. Before I even left for work this morning I had an email with a detailed account of what he had found on his initial inspection as well as a link to a cloud photo album that already had a bunch of pictures of the watch. I was disappointed to see how dirty the movement was in a watch that I kind of overpaid for, but really glad that it will be taken care of by someone like ClockSavant.
    Fantastic! Yes the instant, convenient communication and documentation is really appreciated. There were some unexpected surprises inside my Kakume as you saw as well, I think it's going to be the nature of a surprising number of these desirable vintage Seikos. Unfortunately, a lot of these were seen as tool watches and since they weren't that expensive back in the day (like a Swiss counterpart would have been) it's pretty likely that the owners used more budget-oriented service options, if they serviced them at all. Frankly from what I've seen with my Kakume, going forward I'd almost prefer to buy a watch that's never had its case cracked. "Serviced" is not necessarily a good thing depending on who was doing the servicing I have come to find out.

    Quote Originally Posted by jamaha View Post
    You're certainly right about that. There is a vintage Seiko specialist in a town near me who has stopped taking new service work until he clears out his backlog, and Klein Vintage Watch has done the same. The market is there for sure.
    I completely agree, the demand is only going to get higher as more and more people start collecting these and the prices continue to increase. I think for some collectors it may be a bit of a sticker shock when they learn what it takes to properly service these old chronographs, but the ability to document a quality service adds a lot of value to these pieces going forward. And putting money into a cheap service is just going to cause more issues and more cost down the line as parts for these get harder and harder to find.
    Instagram handle: @watchmodperfect

    Collection: ​Tudor Black Bay 58 / ​Tudor Day Date M76200 / ​TAG Heuer 1000 980.913N / Omega Speedmaster Professional / Seiko 6309-7049 (birth month and year) / Seiko SBDC055 / Seiko SKX009 "Perfect Patina Pepsi" Mod / Seiko SKX based "Perfect Mil-Spec" Mod / Citizen Perpetual Calendar BL5400-52A / Citizen Satellite Wave CC3005-85E / Casio G-Shock GW-6900 / Casio Protrek PRW-3100Y-1BCR / Vintage Casio DW-400 Tachy Meter / Vintage Dufonte / Collins The Bronson / Silver Archetype One

    Previous Mod Projects:
    Seiko SKX007 "Project Perfect SKX" / Seiko SRP775 Turtle "Project Two-Tone" / Seiko SRPB49 "Project Perfect Samurai" / Seiko SRPC91 "Project Perfect Ocean" / Seiko SKX "CWC Explorer" Mod / Seiko SKX based "Perfect Soxa" Mod

  9. #8
    Member WRXtranceformed's Avatar
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    Re: Watchmaker Recommendation for your Vintage Seiko's (and Swiss/American!): ClockSavant

    Just a quick update for those who haven't been following him, Clock Savant has produced some pretty incredible vintage Seiko services recently:

    6105: https://www.instagram.com/p/BnrtcfoH...on_share_sheet

    Original Pogue: https://www.instagram.com/p/BnCku7-H...on_share_sheet
    Pogue 2 with the "extra jewel" left in the movement (facepalm): https://www.instagram.com/p/BnB0Wk3n...on_share_sheet

    Another yellow Pogue: https://www.instagram.com/p/Bmy_-5VH...on_share_sheet

    He's also picked up a few "watchmaker's specials" as parts watches that he ended up liking so much that he kept! Hehe. The vintage Seiko bug bites all of us eventually :)

    Helmet: https://www.instagram.com/p/BnQxRMwn...on_share_sheet
    6138: https://www.instagram.com/p/BnOOn1nH...on_share_sheet
    Instagram handle: @watchmodperfect

    Collection: ​Tudor Black Bay 58 / ​Tudor Day Date M76200 / ​TAG Heuer 1000 980.913N / Omega Speedmaster Professional / Seiko 6309-7049 (birth month and year) / Seiko SBDC055 / Seiko SKX009 "Perfect Patina Pepsi" Mod / Seiko SKX based "Perfect Mil-Spec" Mod / Citizen Perpetual Calendar BL5400-52A / Citizen Satellite Wave CC3005-85E / Casio G-Shock GW-6900 / Casio Protrek PRW-3100Y-1BCR / Vintage Casio DW-400 Tachy Meter / Vintage Dufonte / Collins The Bronson / Silver Archetype One

    Previous Mod Projects:
    Seiko SKX007 "Project Perfect SKX" / Seiko SRP775 Turtle "Project Two-Tone" / Seiko SRPB49 "Project Perfect Samurai" / Seiko SRPC91 "Project Perfect Ocean" / Seiko SKX "CWC Explorer" Mod / Seiko SKX based "Perfect Soxa" Mod

  10. #9
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    Re: Watchmaker Recommendation for your Vintage Seiko's (and Swiss/American!): ClockSavant

    The yellow Pogue he posted is mine :)
    WRXtranceformed likes this.

  11. #10
    Member WRXtranceformed's Avatar
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    Re: Watchmaker Recommendation for your Vintage Seiko's (and Swiss/American!): ClockSavant

    Quote Originally Posted by haejuk View Post
    The yellow Pogue he posted is mine :)
    Nice! That was a stunner man! :)
    Instagram handle: @watchmodperfect

    Collection: ​Tudor Black Bay 58 / ​Tudor Day Date M76200 / ​TAG Heuer 1000 980.913N / Omega Speedmaster Professional / Seiko 6309-7049 (birth month and year) / Seiko SBDC055 / Seiko SKX009 "Perfect Patina Pepsi" Mod / Seiko SKX based "Perfect Mil-Spec" Mod / Citizen Perpetual Calendar BL5400-52A / Citizen Satellite Wave CC3005-85E / Casio G-Shock GW-6900 / Casio Protrek PRW-3100Y-1BCR / Vintage Casio DW-400 Tachy Meter / Vintage Dufonte / Collins The Bronson / Silver Archetype One

    Previous Mod Projects:
    Seiko SKX007 "Project Perfect SKX" / Seiko SRP775 Turtle "Project Two-Tone" / Seiko SRPB49 "Project Perfect Samurai" / Seiko SRPC91 "Project Perfect Ocean" / Seiko SKX "CWC Explorer" Mod / Seiko SKX based "Perfect Soxa" Mod

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