A Third Regeneration of a Timelord

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After reading countless posts, technical documents, and pulling apart the top plate of my Swiss made Sellita SW200 about a dozen times: I finally got the stem and the keyless to work again! Apparently, this is not uncommon on the Sellita SW200: if you press too far on the release you can not get the stem to reengage. Reading through several forums and it looks like if you use the design of the slot to the stem release and use the blade of your screwdriver from end to end, it will keep you from traveling too far when you press. Reminding me that everything designed with function; has a purpose. Form does truly follow function. En route is a new case and a few spare stems for my next attempt, for a third time, to encase this moment into a proper case. With the hope that this time, I will not botch horribly…again. I’ve learned quite a bit in the last 17 months of working on this project, and expanded my skills and part suppliers. In the end, I am hoping that I can get the sum of these parts into a full (keyword here) functioning Swiss driven watch, crafted here in Bellingham. The specs have changed since that initial prototype, but the mission still remains the same.

Learning from building an homage taught me how precise things are REQUIRED (not optional) to be able to achieve a watch; this goes for the parts AND the tools. Having the right tool for the job greatly determine whether or not you are going to spend time, and more money, to fix a catastrophic mistake. In working with a Swiss movement, their are the benefits of finding parts and forum support for questions, with the constant deficit that you have to wait for international shipping, and pay for the price of the quality control that comes with be being Swiss.

In making the second prototype. I decided to go with a new old stock skin dive case from the 70’s, and fit it with an Asia-built replica of the ETA 2824/SW200. This was to with the new unknown of what would happen if I were to create the movement holding ring, from a 3D printer. Creating this ring from scratch, and out of PLA plastic, I was unsure whether or not I could get it within tolerances to fit, let alone if the PLA would become to brittle and break from impact from wearing the watch. In the end, it was a miscalculation on my part with regards to the travel of the rotor in relation to the back of the case. The dial thickness put it to close to the back, rendering the rotary weight useless in perpetually winding the movement. Eventually, I’ll look into seeing if I can separate the auto-winder from the movement, and modify it to just be hand-wind. Going through both moments, Asia built vs Swiss built, I can see why Swiss moments fetch a much higher price. The quality control can be night and day, as I found with comparing and getting to know these two movements. Things are much MUCH smoother and more refined in the Sellita and ETA movements.

This third reincarnation of this watch, which hopefully be the final one, brings with it a slightly new complication; shaving the dial diameter down .2mm (or .0079 inches) to fit through the case back. A slow and uniform sanding with the finest grit sandpaper/file I have should hopefully achieve this. From their, it will just come down to setting the dreaded winding stem into the keyless, WITHOUT over-traveling the detente release.

More to come from the travels…of this amateur Timelord.