Monthly Archives: June 2016

DIY Watch Regulation

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…


watch attached to piezo pickup

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.

original timing was slow

original timing was slow

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.

yamaha USB audio interface

yamaha USB audio interface

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.

my work-tray

my work-tray

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.

testing in various positions

testing in various positions

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.

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Gone Fishin’

Yesterday we closed the office here at Nathanguitars, due to various pressing issues:

  1. the Westy had to go in for a new water pump ($600)
  2. we needed new material for our ongoing series of watercolour sketches (see sketch below)
  3. my son and I went fishing (no luck)
  4.  there was nothing else to do (???)
    sketch #1 - June 27/16

    sketch #1 – June 27/16

    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:

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Filed under Fishing, Poetry, Sketching, Typewriters, VW Vans

Band Concert in the Park

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!

concert at the bandshell

concert at the band-shell


Filed under Sketching

Seiko Time

Seiko Sportsmatic 1970's

Seiko Sportsmatic 1970’s – hidden stem at 4 o’clock

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.

Seiko 7006-5019 blue face

Seiko 7006-5019 blue face

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.

back side of blue faced

back side of blue faced

seiko sportsmatic back

back side Sportsmatic


Filed under Thrift shop finds, Watches

Brexit Schmexit

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ALF: an old Empire Aristocrat (British)
KURT: an old Olympia (German)
TONY: an old Olivetti with a Scottish accent (Italian from Scotland)
HECTOR: an old Webster/Messa (Japanese-Portuguese)
JACK: an old Smith Corona (New York)
BJORN: an old Facit (Sweden)


TONY: I knew it, we should have left when we had the chance, it’s those Englishmen again, gone thinking they can do it all alone. What are they all thinking?
ALF: You didn’t know it; you’re making that up
KURT: Why does this bother you? Who needs them anyways? Warm beer and crappy cars.
ALF: All German beer tastes the same, but it’s cold. So what?
JACK: Hey, watch what you’re saying. All American beer tastes the same, and it’s cold too. Real cold.
ALF: It has to be cold so you don’t taste it.
HECTOR: You fellows need a nice bottle of wine. I wish I was lying under an olive tree on a blanket right now.
BJORN: I like that idea, but you need some good music, like ABBA.
ALF: egad, another reason why we’re out. Ghastly!
KURT: I suppose you’d be listening to those Beatles? Such ridiculous nostalgia.
ALF: Hardly. I prefer madrigals, played on a lute.
JACK: What the hell is a lute? Some kinda guitar?
HECTOR: We invented those you know. Before we discovered America.
BJORN: I have news for you. The Vikings were in America long before Columbus, who by the way, was an Italian.
TONY: That’s it – I’m going back to Italy to retire in the sun.
ALF: and good bloody riddance, too.
KURT: just wait, the English will be back, begging to join us after they fall on their faces in their English mud.
BJORN: I heard that if they exit, IKEA is pulling out of the UK.
ALF: they wouldn’t dare. Where will they get blueberry jam? The British Navy will embargo Sweden until they relinquish the furniture.
KURT: the furniture doesn’t come from Sweden you idiot. It comes from Asia.
JACK: Asia – you mean where all our jobs went?
HECTOR: who cares about jobs? We don’t have any! How I thirst for a nice glass of Ruby Port.
KURT: You know what it’s really about don’t you? Football. This is their master plan to win the World Cup. But it will fail, because we have mastered their game, ha ha ha ha.
ALF: Football is for hooligans. Our proper sport is cricket I’ll have you know. And by the way, we invented every sport there is, with the exception of basketball, which isn’t really a sport. A freak show for giants, actually.
JACK: Americans invented football, basketball, and baseball.
BJORN: actually, they were all invented by Canadians.
JACK: we call that America north.
ALF: just you wait until we reclaim the Empire, then you’ll all see what a brilliant move this is. (begins humming Rule Britannia)
KURT: God help us, can’t you stop? Anything but that. At least hum something everybody knows.
ALF: Well if you insist, how about this? (begins to sing: Yesterday … )
ALL JOIN IN: All my troubles seemed so far away…


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Filed under Plays, Typewriters

Haiku Sketchbook June 17

Mt Fuji painted

Hokusai, thirty six times

Me, BC Leg three

not hokusai #1

9 am: not hokusai #1

not hokusai #2

10 am: not hokusai #2

not hokusai #3

11 am: not hokusai #3


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Iridiumland, or the mighty quill

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parker 61, online, manuscript (callig), parker 51, waterman, pelikan, shaeffer "touchdown"

parker 61, online, manuscript (callig), parker 51, waterman, pelikan, shaeffer “touchdown”

Document (16)-001

now that is fine dining!

now that is fine dining!

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Filed under Pens, Thrift shop finds