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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’m just excited so bear with me. :roll:

I saw an interesting watch ad on a Finnish used-goods site last weekend. The watch was an old Tissot Visodate automatic Seastar PR 516. From the seller’s lousy pics it seemed to be pretty beaten up, but still it look intriguing. I immediately contacted the seller who happened to be located in my hometown.

This was my first vintage watch transaction, so I didn’t know exactly what to look for when examining the goods. So I searched online for some reference and pics for what the PR 516 should look like.

When I got my hands on it I was a bit disappointed. The watch had seen better days, it was dirty and greasy. Case and acrylic crystal both had a lot of scratches and dints on them, bezel was impossible to turn and the bezel insert was a bit worn away. The watch came with no strap.
I tried to see past all that, knowing that at least the case and crystal can be polished to some extent. I thought that what matters most is the working movement.

So I checked that it was running and listened that it was ticking consistently. I also tried to listen that the rotor was spinning freely and made no disturbing noises while spinning. I checked also that the crown had a Tissot “T” engraving in it. Caseback was clear and had now markings, but so was the casebacks of the other wathes I had looked for reference earlier.

So mostly by the gut feeling I took the chance and handed down the money.

After some intense cleaning it started to look like a watch again. I even got the bezel turning again. I happened to have a perfect matching 18mm “bond “ nato lying around for it.

The dial looks matte black, but when the light catches it a turquoise/blue shade comes visible. I haven’t taken the caseback off yet so I don’t know the serial number, but I guesstimate the watch is from the 70’s. The lume isn't much but I was surprised that after all these years it glows stronger and longer than my new Vostok Amphibian SE’s. I don’t know about the power reserve, I've been wearing it since I got it so it hasn’t got the chance to drain out. -The winding works. It hasn’t loosed nor gained time noticeably in this short period. The watch is 36mm vide, 45mm lug to lug with 18mm lug width. Most people find it too small for modern taste, but for my wrist it doesn’t look too small at all.

I paid 40€ for it. (Roughly 50$) I've seen same watches listed online for much much more, but they’ve been serviced and in better condition.

So what do you guys think, who got robbed, me or the seller? :-d

For what it’s worth I’m very happy with it. I had been looking at Seiko SNK's that go for the same money and what I got instead is something much more interesting.

On to the pics.
TissotVisodateSeastrarPR5161_zps55aa9df1.jpg

TissotVisodateSeastrarPR5164_zpsa68c4356.jpg

TissotVisodateSeastrarPR5162_zps5108b32c.jpg

TissotVisodateSeastrarPR5163_zps5447fcaf.jpg

TissotVisodateSeastrarPR5165_zpsbc39bd0a.jpg
In real it doesn't look so bad as the direct sunlight and macro shots make it appear..
 

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I'd say you did just fine. Congrats! Personally I think you could clean it up even better with some polishing and acrylic compound, but I'm well aware that some people prefer the original damage intact.
 

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Great price for the watch, congrats.
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I'd say you did just fine. Congrats! Personally I think you could clean it up even better with some polishing and acrylic compound, but I'm well aware that some people prefer the original damage intact.
I have planned to try some polywatch or toothpaste on the crystal. Also considering to get the watch serviced. Only thing is that I haven't found wachmaker in Finland yet that doesn't charge ridiculous money for their services.
 

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Nice rescue job! It looks great on that NATO too. Congrats!
 
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I have planned to try some polywatch or toothpaste on the crystal. Also considering to get the watch serviced. Only thing is that I haven't found wachmaker in Finland yet that doesn't charge ridiculous money for their services.
I think you'll need a bit more than Polywatch or toothpaste, but the crystal looks salvageable. I had one almost as bad, and restored it: http://www.stefanv.com/watches/polishing-an-acrylic-watch-crystal.html

If you can't find a watchmaker in Finland, you could try watchguy.co.uk. I'm not sure if his prices seem reasonable to your or not, but servicing a watch isn't cheap. He's serviced quite a few Tissots: https://www.google.com/search?q=site:watchguy.co.uk+tissot
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I think you'll need a bit more than Polywatch or toothpaste, but the crystal looks salvageable. I had one almost as bad, and restored it: http://www.stefanv.com/watches/polishing-an-acrylic-watch-crystal.html
I kinda knew that toothpaste would be a waste of time on this one. That crystal article of yours looks really reassuring, there might be hope for my crystal after all. luckily there's not a single crack on it, just couple deep scratches and a whole lot of smaller ones.

Those micro sanding pads are not a bad idea at all and they seem to ship internationally..:think:

If you can't find a watchmaker in Finland, you could try watchguy.co.uk. I'm not sure if his prices seem reasonable to your or not, but servicing a watch isn't cheap. He's serviced quite a few Tissots: https://www.google.com/search?q=site:watchguy.co.uk+tissot
As for the servicing prices, I do understand and respect the craft of a watchmaker and know the work is time consuming. But when the service price exceeds the actual monetary value of the item it don't seem reasonable to me anymore. But for now I'm quite happy with this and if I'm lucky with the timekeeping, servicing can be postponed.

And the Watch Guy's prices seem to be pretty much lower than I've seen here. Thanks for the link.
 

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I think it looks great. Lovely dial colour, but I would definitely do something about the crystal so I could appreciate it better!
 

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As for the servicing prices, I do understand and respect the craft of a watchmaker and know the work is time consuming. But when the service price exceeds the actual monetary value of the item it don't seem reasonable to me anymore.
I know what you mean, but unfortunately, a $50 watch takes the same amount of time to service as a $5000 watch. If you like the watch, you just have to consider that as part of the price of buying a vintage watch (assuming it needs to be serviced).
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
UPDATE:

Thanks to svorkoetter I started to research crystal polishing threads. I had a day off today so visited some serious watch-repair shops for supplies. ( H&M and Motonet :roll: ) Things acquired: 800 and 2000 grit waterproof sanding paper, Autosol metal polish and four sided padded nail file set. Total cost 9.4€. (~12$)


TissotVisodateSeastrarPR516UnPolished1_zpsf805dc24.jpg


I started off by removing the bezel and covering the case around the crystal with masking tape. Then I evened out the scratches from crystal with some 800 grit sanding paper. After cleaning the dust off I introduced the nail file with the side 2 "smooth" and continued to even out the marks sandpaper left. -Cleaned off and continued with the side 3 "puff". After this my intention was to use the 2000 grit sandpaper for finishing touch but it was actually coarser than the "puff" side so I had to go back few steps and start again with the nail file and "smooth" side to clean the markings I made. So instead of sandpaper I finished with the file side 4 "shine". Next I used Autosol and microfiber cloth what is meant for cleaning eyeglasses. I Put some straight to the crystal and gave it a good circular rubbing with cloth. After cleaning off all the residual paste with soap solution I just put the bezel back in place and here we are! :-!

Me taking my time with this it was all over in less than hour.

Sorry I don't have any pics of the actual process, just before and after.

Can you notice any difference?

TissotVisodateSeastrarPR516Polished4_zps1b2d483e.jpg

TissotVisodateSeastrarPR516Polished2_zps11e561bf.jpg

TissotVisodateSeastrarPR516Polished1_zps09ae71b9.jpg

I would have never believed such a result! I mean OMG! :)

So this is becoming a really good first vintage watch experience.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
There's still some visible scratch marks on the sides where the crystal curves from hours 3 - 5 and 7 - 10. They actually came visible only after the autosol polish and I was too lazy to start again with the sandpaper.. Overall I'm happy with the result.
 

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Very nice work! It's amazing what one can do with acrylic.

I should have mentioned the nail buffing sticks. The abrasives on those are very similar to four of the MicroMesh pads that I used on my watch crystal. In fact, I often used those nail buffers when polishing fountain pen nibs, before I "splurged" and bought the MicroMesh pads. The only drawback to the nail buffers is you have to be extra careful not to slip, or the two coarse nail files on the sides of the stick will put brand new scratches into your crystal.

Also, I recently bought a tube of Polywatch, which is specifically intended for polishing acrylic watch crystals. I went over my Sekonda crystal (the one in my article) with that, and it improved it even more. I always figured that Polywatch was the same as any plastic polishing compound, but it seems to do a better job. You might be able to get those scratches near the edges out with Polywatch.

Here are two of your photos, resized and pasted side by side, before and after:

tissots.jpg

One other thing I noticed about your watch is that there appears to be a date magnifier or something, that is not aligned with the date window. That suggests that the crystal has been removed and reinserted at some point.
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
WOW! Thanks for the resized pic, it makes comparing them much easier.

The only drawback to the nail buffers is you have to be extra careful not to slip, or the two coarse nail files on the sides of the stick will put brand new scratches into your crystal.
I had to step back couple of steps to correct some new marks I made. :roll:

One other thing I noticed about your watch is that there appears to be a date magnifier or something, that is not aligned with the date window. That suggests that the crystal has been removed and reinserted at some point.
Yeah I noticed that too and there's a casket ring or something showing out of the lower end of the dial right about the 6 - 8 hour marks. So They both been tampered and has not been put back properly. That don't stop me from enjoying my watch though..
 

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Great watch and nice work, JPH!
I also resurrected a scratched up 70s watch - a Timex - it's so rewarding to see the features and styling of the watch shine through as you remove the dirt and scratches
Well done, and enjoy your new watch, particularly as its newly found good looks are down to you :)
 

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Nice work! I've copied the thread over to the Tissot Forum for the guys that don't frequent Affordables.
 
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I have the same watch. How did you get the bezel to move because mine is stuck. I don't want to take it apart as I have no experience with watches. Plz help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I have the same watch. How did you get the bezel to move because mine is stuck. I don't want to take it apart as I have no experience with watches. Plz help.
Hi and welcome to the forums!

I think that I started with a toothpick or something similar to dig out that dirt and grease that had been accumulating under there over the decades to get the bezel moving at least a little bit. But to clean it up properly and get it working like it should, you have to take the bezel off.

It is actually not that hard. Just use a knife or something similar to lift the bezel off, clean properly underneath and just press the bezel back on with your fingers. There's a plenty of tutorials and youtube videos on that subject, google is your friend with that.

Just with this particular watch case there's a couple of pointers you need to consider while working. First, when you're taking the bezel off try not to use the case side as a lever, because IT WILL leave a mark on it. This is actually hard because the bezel is fitted in a "hole" inside the watch case. (you can see some marks on my watch for me being too careless... :roll:) Second, the bezel has a friction ring underneath, so don't be alarmed if it falls out. Just place it back on the groove before putting the bezel back. And don't break it, I don't think you can find a new one.

I believe that here are some much more experienced people than me that can chime in also if needed.
 

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Hi and welcome to the forums!

I think that I started with a toothpick or something similar to dig out that dirt and grease that had been accumulating under there over the decades to get the bezel moving at least a little bit. But to clean it up properly and get it working like it should, you have to take the bezel off.

It is actually not that hard. Just use a knife or something similar to lift the bezel off, clean properly underneath and just press the bezel back on with your fingers. There's a plenty of tutorials and youtube videos on that subject, google is your friend with that.

Just with this particular watch case there's a couple of pointers you need to consider while working. First, when you're taking the bezel off try not to use the case side as a lever, because IT WILL leave a mark on it. This is actually hard because the bezel is fitted in a "hole" inside the watch case. (you can see some marks on my watch for me being too careless... :roll:) Second, the bezel has a friction ring underneath, so don't be alarmed if it falls out. Just place it back on the groove before putting the bezel back. And don't break it, I don't think you can find a new one.

I believe that here are some much more experienced people than me that can chime in also if needed.
i sent my watch in to the jeweller because it was really fast, like probably gaining 3 hrs per day, it was my grandpas old watch and turns out it's worth like $500. There is some broken springs inside and we are paying $300 to fix it all. Then I am going to polish it, they said that since it's so old they can't find a new bezel, but I got it turning but I'm not going to take the bezel off since I'm still not comfortable with doing that epically if I pay 300 to fix it lol. Thanks for the info. I used a small screwdriver and I put in in the groove and it started moving.
 
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