Ask

Since reliable information about vintage watches can be difficult to obtain, and the I have I have decided to create this page as a nursery for watch-related information. As the page gets populated I will organize as needed to make sure topics become easy to find.

If you have any questions about a watch of yours, details of repair, are seeking watch parts, technical guides, or anything else watch-related that you would like an answer to, please leave a comment/question here and I will respond as soon as possible.

63 comments on “Ask

  1. Dan Dawson says:

    I just found you site and appreciate it. I’m diving into a Bulova 21AE 8-day aircraft clock for the 1st time with some trepidation. I’ve cleaned/repaired a couple of dozen wrist watches successfully, but an 8-day mainspring sounds…hmmm…a little scary. Generally I remove and replace watch mainsprings by hand. Is this approach recommended (with caution) with this size/strength mainspring?

    • aberlow says:

      It is very scary! 8-day springs are huge compared to wristwatches. Before getting proper winders I unwound and wound them very cautiously by feel with my hands under the bench to prevent any injury. If you are going to attempt it I suggest the same approach.

      • Ricardo Kleinbaum says:

        Hi Aaron, My friend Vincent Yeh suggested I contact you to find out if you know someone who can repair a Longines watch in the New York area. Thanks, Ricardo Kleinbaum

      • aberlow says:

        Ricardo, send me an email at ambwatches@gmail.com with some pictures and a description of the watch and I would be happy to see what I can do!

  2. Ken Schuster says:

    Fresh from another dead watch battery disaster that almost cost a life (long story), I have had it with quartz watches. What do you recommend for a reliable, relatively accurate, automatic timepiece… preferably with day and date?

    • aberlow says:

      That sounds like a crazy experience! The first question to answer is: what price range do you want to be in? Then, what is your general style preference? After that, do you want brand new or vintage? Once you answer those questions, you will find that your field will have been hugely narrowed. I personally love the seiko 5 21 jewel automatic. It has a day/date, looks good, and is super affordable.

  3. Brenda kelly says:

    I found my dads longines automatic ultra chron with date anh Roman numerals sweep second hand silver/stainless ..I think it is a different band than an original one . I set the time and it still works.
    Was going to toss it then decided to look online for it , some longines watches are worth several hundred dollars, any idea on an estimated value???

    Any info would be greatly appreciated
    Thank you!,

  4. Gary Clarkin says:

    I AM LOOKING FOR AN AVI-8 SPORT QUARTZ Ref. WB111603 ITS FULLY STAINLESS STEEL WITH BLACK FACE BUT WITH NO LUCK, WOULD B APPRECIATED IF U COULD RECOMMEND WHERE TO PURCHESE AND A ROUGH IDEA OF THE PRICE. MANY THANKS

  5. Lachlan says:

    G’day
    I’m writing to you from Australia, about my 1967 214 Railroad Accutron.
    I bought this a year ago, and had it shipped from the United States. It has been running flawlessly ever since. I am unaware of the service history of this watch, although it appears to be taken quite good care of. There aren’t any people in Australia I know about that actually service these things, and I’m certain it would probably be fairly expensive anyway (I’m a university student), I still quite stupidly I suppose took the gamble on the Accutron. Just wanted your advice about servicing and the like, as I’ve read some articles online saying that servicing is incredibly essential.
    Cheers

    • aberlow says:

      Service will definitely become necessary if it has not yet. If it is keeping great time you may be able to get away with it for a bit. When the time comes you are usually looking at a number in the low hundreds for a truly qualified accutron watchmaker. I highly recommend Bob Piker. I have worked with him in the past and he is great.

      • Lachlan says:

        Thanks for the reply!
        Yes the reason I haven’t thought about servicing much is because it is running extremely well. I’d happily say its been within a minute per month easily. When I get some extra disposable cash I’ll have to get onto that bloke. Cheers for your help mate
        All the best

  6. Flora, Singapore says:

    is the 1958 Military Issue Bulova A17A Caliber 10BNCH for sale?

  7. Brandon Johnson says:

    Hi enjoyed reading about the A17A bulova rebuild. I have one in need of repair and was wondering of you were interested in repairing mine for me?! Thank you got your time!

  8. Major.Luo says:

    Hello, Aron you good (thumb up)!

    Wonderful describe words enjoyed by me,
    while I enjoyable /touched
    1960’s Omega Automatic
    Seamaster De-Ville over size (36mm)
    With calligraphy 3/6/9/12,gold and steel
    Unishell without date window!
    Back steel has carved some words
    “May 1967”!

  9. aldo pizzoli says:

    HI Aron I just found your WEB site and have enjoyed it a lot. I too do some repair on pocket watches. I just picked up a Waltham 8 day with 2 barrels. its in super shape. I have some old vintage watches that I would like to get a price for a cleaning and restoration. I don’t have time to do the work nor all the equipment needed to work on the watches.. So please let me know. Thanks for the Videos and the Pictures. I too think that vintage watches are great little machines. Take Care. And Happy New Year!! Aldo Pizzoli

  10. Philip Mygatt says:

    Can you get me a detent lever for a 3818-A?

  11. Philip Mygatt says:

    Never mind. One is the screw and the other is the lever.

  12. jkjod says:

    Hello! I was curious how difficult/costly it would be to find a Hamilton 987A movement and put together a watch with this dial (eBay listing 231473794020). I can see the case (eBay listing 171545436968) but not sure if this is correct, and where to find a movement and have it all put together. Thank you for your help, have a great day!

    • aberlow says:

      Generally speaking if all goes well you are looking at maybe $120-135 for a multi watch assembly. That being said however I would strongly urge against it. While the seller claims NOS on that dial, i have yet to see a real issued watch with the Bald Eagle on it. That was likely painted post factory and is not one of the ones issued to servicemen/women. Item 251835840275 is a more likely all original dial. While it requires patience, you will always get a better watch and end product if you wait for a complete one to come up for sale.

  13. Hrad Kuzyk says:

    On your first post back on August 31st 2012, you picture a Cimier Sport Chronograph. It is very similar to a watch I have been looking to acquire. Is it available for sale? Great site and thanks!

  14. Jay says:

    Back in September you restored an Omega Chronostop Genéve, and one of the things you did was replace the pusher. What part did you use? I am currently in search of that part for one of my own (in a beautifully hideous green!)

    • aberlow says:

      I can’t remember the part number, but I do remember where I got it. If you go to cousinsuk.com and go to the omega case parts, you will easily be able to locate it.

  15. Ashley Jones says:

    Im interested in buying a vintage seiko watch from you, I was talking to you on instagram about it. If you could send some pictures of the Seikos you are selling that would be awesome, thank you.

  16. Christian says:

    The effort and expertise you put into this page is a key motivator for me to learn more about watches! Thank you and please never stop.

    I have a question

    I’m about to replace a crystal on a Bulova 3818a. What are the pros and cons of using a crystal lift vs a crystal press? Or is one method always better than the other?

    Regards,
    Christian

    • aberlow says:

      Thank you for your kind words! To replace crystals I only use a crystal lift to remove crystals from unishell cases. Otherwise I always use a press. The press is a much more robust and fixed piece of machinery. While it very occasionally runs the risk of damaging the crystal I have found it to be a much more reliable and easy to use system.

      • Christian says:

        Thanks!!

        I had a feeling that was the case (no pun inteded) and it´s great to get that confirmed!

  17. I’ve been looking for the right vintage OMEGA to buy as a gift for my husband for our 10th anniversary. (It’s an old promise we made way back when) Can you recommend a reputable seller where I can buy a reliably serviced genuine Omega (1940s – 1960s)? I see so many ‘Franken-watches’ and doubtful ‘restorations’ is difficult to make a confident choice.

    Many thanks for all your wonderful information and images. Your site is very helpful to a novice collector.

  18. John Duteil says:

    I have a Bulova Railroad Approved Accutron. Not operating?
    Would love to have it up and running.
    I love this watch.
    Can you help?

  19. jOHN dUTEIL says:

    Thanks for the assistance.
    I will try him.

    John

  20. Troy Duncan says:

    Good evening. I have two questions. 1) what solvent did you use to remove the old melted gasket from the dial? 2) What is the safest and preferred manner to disassemble the two-part winding crown from a Heuer Monaco manual wind. I have a Heuer ref 73633 blue and I can open up the case but cannot access the movement due to the two part stem needing to be removed first. I am not familiar with two part stems. Any guidance is appreciated.

    • aberlow says:

      I would give a very strong caution if you intend to go near the dial. I used some hairspring cleaner which is a super fast dissipating solvent and a specially designed cleaning swab. It’s very risky, and I only did it because my friend insisted against my opinion. As far as a two-part stem, you have three options: 1) pull it until it disengages (this is risky as it can break if there’s any weakness) 2) but the bergeon tool specially designed for this task (the most expensive option) 3) gently lift the movement up and wind the stem slowly. When the two part stem gets in a certain angle it will slide right out (this is my recommendation but requires some finesse.) hope that helps!

  21. Troy Duncan says:

    This helps a lot, thank you very much. To clarify – when you say “lift the movement up”, do you mean via the winding crown? I ask because with the Heuer case, I cannot access the movement prior to removing the two part stem. Do you keep the stem in the “in” position when performing this so I can wind per option 3 above?

  22. Jason says:

    I really enjoy your site! Thanks for taking the time to maintain this site.

    I’m shopping around for a Omega Seamaster Deville automatic with a date function. What is the going price for it in good condition? What about ones with the quickset date?

    I’m a little hesitant shopping on Ebay. Are there specifics I should look/ask for to up my chances of getting an original piece?

    What about these automatic date calibers in general – are there quirks or trouble with servicing them?

    Lastly, do you have any recommendations on reputable, interesting vintage/second-hand watch shops in the New York area?

    Thank you!

  23. Giovanni Carta Satta Aggazzotti says:

    Hallo, i’m Giovanni and i’m writing you from Italy. I would like to send you a picture of an Ulysse Nardin of hte 50’s (i suppose) i own from my grandfather; i have no idea of the type, of the value etc.
    Best regards, Giovanni

  24. Rich says:

    Hi, I read your article on the rolex tru beat.(nice article by the way ! ) I have one with the 1040 cal. movement ,however mine sweeps it doesn’t tick each second. Are these parts available,or could this be repairable?Any input you have would be greatly appreciated ! If you believe its worth looking at I have no issues sending the watch to you. Thanks, Rich

    • aberlow says:

      Rich, thanks for your kind words! If it sweeps it means that the dead second is either broken or missing. These parts are unfortunately not made and incredibly rare to find, but it is definitely worth looking at. Send me an email at ambwatches@gmail.com

  25. Dolores says:

    My gentleman friend’s pride and joy was a Bulova Acutron off face watch. One side was flat along the band and the rest protruded to the other side away from the band. He has been told parts are no longer available for this model. Could the works from another watch be placed in his? Do you think it can be repaired? I would love to have it repaired for him.

  26. Howard Ross says:

    Hi,
    I am looking for a lost top pusher end cap for a Gallet michron 12. Can u replace or give any referrals for the part?
    Thank you,
    Howard

    • aberlow says:

      Howard, sorry for the delayed response. Unfortunately pushers are a terrible hard thing to replace. I would say to try a material house like Jules borel or cousinsUK, and if those don’t pan out stalk the gallet forums, and eBay. Sorry I couldn’t be of much help!!

  27. Joe says:

    Hello;
    I’m looking for a dial similar to the 1941 Bulova Chronograph you recently did. I was stunned at the cleanliness of that dial. I have a 40’s chrono with a patina’d dial, and I’d like to have a crisper dial. My thoughts are to find another Valjoux 23 dial, and see if it’ll fit, then have it re-painted. Thoughts?

  28. Rob says:

    I have a Waltham 8 Day Mantel clock. Not sure when it was made or anything. I was told it did not wind and when I opened it up to see if I could spot the damage I found a broken gear. I can supply you with pictures if you want them. I have no idea where it came from and I have found very limited info or pictures of the movements. Please help me find where the broken part came from.

  29. Mitsas Marcos says:

    hi
    do you know if the omega costellation 198.002 is waterproof?
    i don’t mean if i can go for a swim with it….but at least if i should not be worried if i wash my hands and a bit of water goes on it..
    thank you very much and merry christmas

    • aberlow says:

      I would er on the side of caution and say no water is good. Without knowing the service history, its hard to know wether something as simple as the rain may cause the watch to fog up.

  30. Jason says:

    I have the following watch and was trying to determine the year. It was my grandpa’s watch from when he was in the military. Unfortunately he has passed so I cannot ask him more details. Any help is well received.

    WATCH NAVIG.
    TYPE A17A
    Spec. MIL-W-6433A
    MFR. BULOVA PART NO. 45145
    ORDER NO. DA-36-038-ORD-20328
    STOCK NO. 6645-526-5063
    US PROPERTY

    • aberlow says:

      That’s an amazing military watch!! If you have some time, please contact me via e-mail and id love to see some pictures and tell you all that i can about it!

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