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Discussion Starter #1
A question to the experts here who are familiar with Swiss ETA build kits -

I am contemplating building my own GMT and are looking at these two items on eBay:

191881679394 - This is a GMT kit which includes case, movement ring, dial, hands (4) and crown (no stem). It says it is for "ETA 2836 GMT Movement and Hangzhou 6460."

222137676436 - This is a Hangzhou 6460 GMT movement which clearly states it is a clone for the ETA 2836-2 GMT. The movement comes with a plastic crown. Hands required should have the following hole measurements - 95/150/25 and 200 for the GMT.

I can go as far as modding my Seikos (7S26 & 6309) and have basic tools for that but this is the first time I'm doing something like this. I can't seem to find the "for dummies" version of how to do this so please forgive my noob questions:

1) I read somewhere that the ETA 2836 uses either a 180 and a 200 hole GMT hand. How can one know which ETA 2836-2 to get? Are there other additional movement codes? I am also checking with the supplier of the case/dial kit what the hand hole measurements are.

2) What exactly do I have to do to use the crown supplied in the kit? The case has a screw down crown supplied. The movement has a long stem with what looks like a plastic crown. Are these stems standard length? Are they a drop in thing? Is there cutting involved here? What is needed to install the crown to the stem? The screwdown case/crown combo sort of complicates things for a newbie like me! What tools do I need?

I really need the basics here so as not to waste good money. If you could point me to a knowledge base / blog online where I can learn from I'd appreciate it too. So far my Googling hasn't helped me.

Thanks in advance!
 

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From what I can see it looks like the movement will drop right into that case. You will have to cut the stem to the proper length and install the crown in the kit. Now, if you read the description on the movement you'll notice it talks about the date being offset to the left to build a "homage watch". That means it's for a fake Rolex dial not a standard 2836 dial. The calendar display in the dials is in a slightly different position. Take that into consideration. Now, all that being said the quality of the Chinese components is spotty at best. Things that are "supposed" to fit sometimes don't, movements sometimes are made of low quality steel and brass, movements often are dirty and not oiled properly right from the factory, an so on. I'm going to be quite honest here. If you're a novice to begin with I think you're setting yourself up for a lot of frustration with a project like this. I will never understand why people think they can just jump in and build a watch with no knowledge. Every skill requires practice. Watchmaking (or assembling) included.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the reply. Your first sentence is very encouraging and I will probably do some more reading on how to cut the stem and fit the crown. This is probably elementary for you but as this is my first try I will proceed with a lot of caution. I was also wondering about that "homage watch" remark on the description, now it is clear. I my use the supplied dial or perhaps go with a 29mm no-date version just to keep things easier for the watch rotation.

As for me setting myself up for a frustrating situation - challenge accepted! I'm not going into this entirely blind. This is also why I ask this question here to the experts as part of knowledge gathering. Not all of us have the time for a formal watch making course. I am not servicing a movement (and have no plans on going that far) but merely attempting an 'assembly.' I figure this project is worth the crash course and the learning experience. One has to start somewhere and keep on learning right?
 

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Hi C4L18R3,

everybody has to start practising why not with higher ambition. So just do it. Here are some things that might help.

You got the kit in front of you? Then you should add:
a movement holder
a caseback opener with this special design (I hate those casebacks because I do not own such a special tool)
a pair of tweezers fitting the dialclamps to open (optional, I often use a screwdriver)
a thin wire of brass for closing the clamps (optional, I often use a screwdriver)
a screwdiver fitting the stemrelease of the movement
a calliper (I prefer the digital) to measure the length of the stem
a dremel / proxon with cutting wheel
a piece of fine sandpaper or fine file to smoothen the cut stem
a small pair of pliers to grip the stem while fastening the crown to it
a pair of tweezers to handle the hands
a hands-setting-tool
a piece of rodico to remove dust from dials, hands, inside of case etc.
grease for the square and shaft of the stem
silicone grease for the o-ring of the crown and caseback

now you can start, this is the way I (non-pro) would go:
part I fitting the stem
- take the movement and dial, open the dialclamps with the tweezers
- mount the dial and close the clamps
- dont set hands jet
- mount the movement to the casing ring and
- fix both screws
- remove stem (first pull out stem to hands setting position)
- fix crown to the stem
- fit movement with ring inside the new case
- mount the stem back to the movement
- test all positions of stem (winding, quickset, hands set), if ok then
- go to winding position
- messure the distance between case and downside of crown
- press down the crown and measure again the distance, this will give you the amount of how much you should shorten the stem (the difference of both meassurements will give you the maximum of screwing depth)
- remove the stem
- remove crown from stem
- cut the determined piece preferred straight (shorten the side with the thread) ;-)
- smoothen the cut end
- fasten the crown to the stem
- mount stem to movement
- testing of the positions winding, quickset, hands set, screwdown crown
------ done ----
part II setting hands
- remove stem
- remove movement from case
- mount stem
- put into movement holder
- pull out crown to hands setting position
- turn hands clockwise to date change
- set all hands to 12 o'clock position
- check after each hand if they are exactly adjusted to 12
------ done ----
part III final mounting of movement
- again remove the stem
- fit the completed movement inside the case
- put grease to the stem
- put siliconegrease to the o-ring of crown
- insert stem and test again all positions
- screw down crown
- put siliconegrease to the o-ring of the caseback
- install the caseback
------ done ----
hope I didn't forget something, constructive criticism very welcome
thats all, not very complicated just requiring clean and accurate work

enjoy your first custom kit and post pics
 

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For cutting the stem to size it's like Klaus said above, though I would use a pair of end cutting pliers to trim the stem and a pin vice to hold it rather than pliers, but that's a minor difference. One thing I would add is that it is fine if you don't trim off enough as you can keep filing it down till it's the correct length, but if you trim off too much the stem won't fit anymore. So what I do is be a little conservative when measuring how much to cut off, then refit the crown and measure it again. Then just repeat that file it down, check, file it, check etc. a few times until you are happy with the fit.
 

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Thanks for the reply. Your first sentence is very encouraging and I will probably do some more reading on how to cut the stem and fit the crown. This is probably elementary for you but as this is my first try I will proceed with a lot of caution. I was also wondering about that "homage watch" remark on the description, now it is clear. I my use the supplied dial or perhaps go with a 29mm no-date version just to keep things easier for the watch rotation.

As for me setting myself up for a frustrating situation - challenge accepted! I'm not going into this entirely blind. This is also why I ask this question here to the experts as part of knowledge gathering. Not all of us have the time for a formal watch making course. I am not servicing a movement (and have no plans on going that far) but merely attempting an 'assembly.' I figure this project is worth the crash course and the learning experience. One has to start somewhere and keep on learning right?
Well good luck to you then! Fixer29 gave you some good advice on cutting the stem. Anybody can take metal off, but it's exceedingly hard to put it back on.....;). The good thing is that ETA stems are cheap. You might want to have a few on hand just in case. Other than that, have at it.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hi C4L18R3,

everybody has to start practising why not with higher ambition. So just do it.
enjoy your first custom kit and post pics
Thank you for the step by step directions Klaus! I have about 95% of the tools I need already with me. I do believe that the stem cutting part of this exercise will be my greatest challenge as it is my first. Your post is very helpful, really appreciate it! :-!

I'm off to ordering the kit and the rest of the tools. I shall report back here once I start with the project.

For cutting the stem to size it's like Klaus said above, though I would use a pair of end cutting pliers to trim the stem and a pin vice to hold it rather than pliers, but that's a minor difference. One thing I would add is that it is fine if you don't trim off enough as you can keep filing it down till it's the correct length, but if you trim off too much the stem won't fit anymore. So what I do is be a little conservative when measuring how much to cut off, then refit the crown and measure it again. Then just repeat that file it down, check, file it, check etc. a few times until you are happy with the fit.
Thanks for the tip, it makes a lot of sense!

Well good luck to you then! Fixer29 gave you some good advice on cutting the stem. Anybody can take metal off, but it's exceedingly hard to put it back on.....;). The good thing is that ETA stems are cheap. You might want to have a few on hand just in case. Other than that, have at it.
Thanks. Best to start off with that Hangzhou movement. At least when I screw it up it is not as costly. When I do get it done right I might eventually replace it with an ETA.
 

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Hi,
I would fit the dial and hands to the new movement (leave the stem and plastic crown on the movement), then install the movement with dial and hands in the case and then fit the stem with the metal crown and close up the case. This will save time and eliminate removing the stem multiple times.
Samantha
 

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Expanding on what Samantha said the method I've used most to cut stems to length is to do what she said and case everything up first and then screw the crown onto the stem and install it in the movement. Check for function, and then use a GOOD caliper to measure the distance from the crown to the case. Remove the stem and crown, remove the crown from the stem, and then cut the stem. I leave them just a tad long to be sure. Re-install the crown and then install the stem and crown assembly in the movement and see where you are at that point. If it's still a bit too long remove it again, remove the crown again and use a stone to remove a little bit more from the stem. Put it all back together and check again. Repeat until the proper stem length is achieved. And like I said before, ETA stems are cheap. Have a few laying around just in case...;). It's like any other skill. The more you do it the easier it becomes. And the first time is always the hardest.
 

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Like anything else, the more stems one fits, the quicker and easier it gets - even to the point where one can judge the distance by eye and then cut down the stem!
Samantha
 

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Like anything else, the more stems one fits, the quicker and easier it gets - even to the point where one can judge the distance by eye and then cut down the stem!
Samantha
Back when I was doing retail watch repair I could do that. I tried it again recently because I was in a hurry. I guess it's a good thing I had an extra stem laying around.....;). Never get in a hurry. It always ends up costing more time.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Hi,
I would fit the dial and hands to the new movement (leave the stem and plastic crown on the movement), then install the movement with dial and hands in the case and then fit the stem with the metal crown and close up the case. This will save time and eliminate removing the stem multiple times.
Samantha
Expanding on what Samantha said the method I've used most to cut stems to length is to do what she said and case everything up first and then screw the crown onto the stem and install it in the movement. Check for function, and then use a GOOD caliper to measure the distance from the crown to the case. Remove the stem and crown, remove the crown from the stem, and then cut the stem. I leave them just a tad long to be sure. Re-install the crown and then install the stem and crown assembly in the movement and see where you are at that point. If it's still a bit too long remove it again, remove the crown again and use a stone to remove a little bit more from the stem. Put it all back together and check again. Repeat until the proper stem length is achieved. And like I said before, ETA stems are cheap. Have a few laying around just in case...;). It's like any other skill. The more you do it the easier it becomes. And the first time is always the hardest.
I see I'll be needing a lot of caution and common sense. On removing the stem, does anybody have a definitive answer on which crown position should I remove the stem? And in which position should it be when replacing? Does the stem release button need to be pressed on a Hangzhou 6460 (ETA 2836-2 clone) when inserting the stem?

Again thanks for the tips :-!
 

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. . . On removing the stem, does anybody have a definitive answer on which crown position should I remove the stem? . . . .
Perhaps a more interesting question would be who doesn't know the correct answer.
 

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What an absolutely helpful post
A perfect response to the inexplicably insipid way that the original query was posited.

There is only one answer and it requires no qualification - definitive or otherwise.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
A perfect response to the inexplicably insipid way that the original query was posited.

There is only one answer and it requires no qualification - definitive or otherwise.
You are obviously a master at what you do. Well done.
 
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