… noted on recent wanderings…
for sale at thrift shop $69.99
seen on local street yesterday
seen on lot of repair garage
same lot, just completed restoration
When I discovered long ago that I shared my birthday with Elvis, it came as something of a shock. Despite knowing that millions upon millions of people had the same birthday, January 8, somehow I relished the thought of Elvis and I as birthday buddies. When I was a young teen I even bought several of his current hits on 45, including Return to Sender, She’s the Devil In Disguise, and One Broken Heart for Sale. Two of those must have been on one 45, but I can’t recall which, nor the song that filled out the other missing side. I also had such hits as PT 109 by Johnny Horton, The Twist by Chubby Checker, and Hello Dolly by Satchmo. I’m slightly embarrassed by all this, with the exception of Louis Armstrong, who I still revere as a true musical legend. This may be apostasy with regard to Elvis, but I have this sinking feeling that Elvis’s fame, though seemingly immortal, will one day fade away to a footnote. Only his early stuff will, and should, endure as great music; the rest should be forgotten.
That being said, Elvis still exerts a strange fascination which was piqued yesterday in the aftermath of my examining an interesting old portable phonograph in a thrift shop.
Opening the lid I saw it was a phonograph, and a very interesting one indeed. It was a Perpetuum Ebner Musical 5v Luxus, as near as I can determine.
I took a picture of it and went home. Later I did some research. Now I wish I’d bought it, but when I returned this morning it had been sold. Perhaps another buyer had Googled it right on the spot and seen what it was! Maybe I’m fortunate however, seeing as how I really have no use for it, and nowhere to put it.
The point is of course, Elvis had one in Germany. He used it not only for listening to records but as an amplifier for his guitar.
From time to time we all undertake tasks that should best be left to those who know how. Yet still we persist with this irrational behaviour. As some people have pointed out, that is what makes us great! Or sometimes we fail…
But, we learn, nevertheless. Yesterday I learned a lot about Seiko watch movement 7006A. The watch, my latest thrift store project – a 1972 Seiko “Monaco” blue face, was all cleaned up and running, but it was losing 5 minutes daily. Since I had figured out how to open the one piece waterproof case already, I decided to speed up the balance wheel a bit. To help me with this task, which from experience I know is very hit and miss without instruments, I found a free watch timing program called Biburo. Further searching provided instructions in English (Biburo is from Japan). I scrounged around for the necessary equipment to make it work, and found an old cheap piezo guitar pickup that conveniently plugged into my Yamaha USB audio interface. When set on full gain it was able to detect the beating of the watch.
Biburo, when you get it right will show the ticks as a series of dots running across a graph. Slanting up means the watch is fast, down is slow. Horizontal is perfect timing.
I tweaked the timing lever a few times and in no time I had the watch running right on time, at least when laid flat. Then I noticed that in the instructions it said that if you had two parallel lines on the screen it meant the watch was out of beat. That is to say, the balance wheel turns unequally in rotating. To adjust this is another simple task, as the Seiko 7006A has a beat adjustment. I began to push this lever a tiny bit, first one way, then another. It didn’t seem to be responding well so I was resolving that I would just leave well enough alone when I noticed the watch had ground to a halt. Nothing would get it to restart. Now I suppose the rational answer is that there was something wrong in there to begin with and whatever I did, that certainly didn’t cause the watch to cease beating. But of course I cursed my luck. Then I decided that, what the hell, I might as well see if I could take it apart and clean it up, and perhaps dislodge whatever dirt or errant tiny hair of dust might have jammed the works.
So I spent the entire day discovering the wonders of Seiko engineering. I must say, it is an amazing machine as watches go, especially the bi-directional auto winding mechanism. However, I wasn’t able to fix it, and after many hours I decided to see if I could swap it out for another 7006A I had in a box. It turned out they were almost the same, except the donor had 19 jewels, versus the 17 on the first. The main difference was that this case being one piece, requires a different way of releasing the stem, and this piece doesn’t come on the regular watch movements. I was able to remove the tiny lever however, and install it in the donor movement, since the base plates were identical.
I’ve got the movement assembled and running, and am testing it now in various positions. It will not be perfect, since it probably needs a total overhaul and cleaning, but at least it still runs, which means I can wear it. If I recover some patience that I exhausted on this, I may strip the original movement down and see if a cleaning and lubrication gets it going again. If it breaks, at least I have learned something about these watches.
Yesterday we closed the office here at Nathanguitars, due to various pressing issues:
Today is more of the same, only I don’t know yet just what that will be precisely. However, directly after breakfast we began a short series of poems typed on index cards:
This afternoon, as on most summer Sundays here, there was a concert in Beacon Hill Park at the band-shell. The weather was perfect, 25C (high 70’s) and my wife was up there playing her flute. She can be seen as one of the dark dots on stage…
After the concert we walked over to the ice cream stand, and then watched turtles sunbathing on a log in one of the many ponds. It is amusing to see 17 turtles in a row, separated by several ducks. I hope and expect this sort of bucolic day was enjoyed across the country and perhaps around the world. If we simply had more sunny afternoons in the park I’m sure there would be world peace. Make it mandatory I say!
I recently acquired two 1970 era Seiko wristwatches in thrifting expeditions. The first was a lovely and elegant Sportsmatic. I wiped it off and have been wearing it for months now. It loses one minute daily, which I can live with. I may crack open the case and adjust it soon however.
The second watch I found last week – a square blue faced gem in a man-sized stainless steel case. I polished the crystal with Brasso, which did an amazing job of removing most every little scratch. It needed a strap though, since the original steel band had been made so small it didn’t fit my man-sized wrist. I then proudly strapped the watch on, only to discover that the second hand sometimes jammed against the minute hand. I would have to open the watch now, but I didn’t know how, since it was not like any watch I’d ever seen. It has two spring clips, which are between the lugs and only visible when the strap is removed. To remove the watch from the case, one pushes in these springs and pries out the case. The case-back is a steel clam-shell affair on which the crystal sits, gasketed to the rim. Once the case is opened the entire top part comes away leaving the watch with the crystal loose on top. I cleaned up the usual gunk and lifted off the crystal to access the hands. With a tiny bit of adjusting I got the second hand to clear the minute hand and assembled the watch. To get it to snap back together I inserted one clip first, turned the watch face down and pressed on the case until the second spring snapped into place. Once you know how, it’s dead simple and very ingenious.
Both watches have a similar auto wind function where the stem only sets the time but does not wind the mainspring. Winding is done by wearing the watch. The stems are made to fit well into the watch cases and thus do not protrude and catch on things the way most watch stems do. I don’t think these were expensive watches, so I admire how well they have lasted, both of them around 40 years old and running quite well.