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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My first post in the vintage forum due to my first vintage watch purchase! I had about $20 in PayPal and had been looking for something in that price range and decided to do the old birth year search. That search led to pretty much what I considered an impulse buy of what was listed as a Timex Marlin Sportster 26850 2772. Based on the last 4 digits of the model, it has a movement 27, made in 1972. And based on the pictures, it looked pretty good for being 48 years old.
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The seller only posted two pictures and his description indicated that it ran well but wasn't tested. I took a flyer and BIN anyway. I expected it would need some cleaning and possibly some crystal polishing.

As I waited for its arrival, I tried to do some research for a Timex Marlin Sportster, or other combo of those words. I did web searches and spent a lot of time looking through posts in this forum. Most times, the word "sportster" brought up motorcycle pictures and hardly anything Timex related, other than an exact same watch for sale on Reddit. After some more searching, I was able to find a .pdf of a catalog from 1973, which had a grainy picture of what looked to be this watch, complete with the 26850 model. In that catalog, it was called a Marlin Day-Date. There were Sportster models in that catalog, but none of them looked like this one.

What I liked about the few photos I saw of this particular watch were the two-toned, applied indices; the needle-like second hand; the blue minute track; the "Timex Water Resistant" at the 9 o'clock position. I hoped it had a domed crystal as well, which it did.

The watch showed up today with a thick leather strap attached to it. Unfortunately, the seller didn't do any cleaning so I tried to wipe the strap off as much as I could, but it ended up discoloring the paper towel I used. It's a bit grungy, so I'm not sure if I'm gonna keep the strap or not.
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The watch itself is in pretty decent shape, with no major nicks or dings in the case. The biggest issue is going to be the crack in the crystal at 1-2 o'clock. I know polish won't help it, but unless I can source a nicer crystal and learn how to do it myself, I may just keep it as-is.

Being that it's a hand-winder (also a first for me), I had to wind it to see if it worked or not. Happy to report that the winding action is smooth and for the last 90 minutes, it seems to be working well and telling accurate time. I'm not a second +/- savant, so I don't know exactly how accurate it is or isn't, but as long as it tells time the days I wear it, I'm not gonna worry about it. Same with the day/date. I hear it's a pain to change, so I'm not gonna stress about that as I don't want to stress the watch any more than I need to.

Aside from a soft brush cleaning and a soft cloth wipe down, any thoughts on crystal polishing? I don't have Polywatch but I do have toothpaste. Lug width is 17.4-5mm and I guess that means squashing an 18mm strap on for now.

I just took a minute to pop off the case and what I saw was pretty clean. After I reassembled it, I realized I should've taken off the plastic shroud to see all the inner workings, but maybe next time. Keep in mind, I know nothing about movements or anything, but it all looked to be in working order. I also got a picture of the inside of the caseback. Is it safe to assume it was from April 1972? If so, that would be epic, because I am also from April of 1972!
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All in all, pretty pleased with what I got. Again, it being a hand-wind and me being new to hand-wind, I wound it until it felt tight and then stopped. That should keep it going for at least 24hrs, right?

I'm gonna do some research on the toothpaste method or just get some Polywatch. I've seen some examples of this with new/less scratched crystals, and they look beautiful.

Thanks for reading.
 

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a nice review on a fine purchase! it looks great the way it is.

you can have the crystal replaced but again, i’d be tempted to leave it original as it arrived to you: it’s not going to be your daily wear, and for the time you will wear it the crystal will add colorful character to your almost 50 year old watch wearing experience!

what you don’t mention however, is setting the day/date: haha it’s a huge pain in the ass, so...don’t set it! you might check that the day date works by rolling forward 24hrs however. for peace of mind only.

a fine looking watch celebrating your birth year.

congratulations!
paul
 

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Just fyI this was an American watch- to the lug width is 11/16 inch. You can squeeze an 18mm in there, or get a 17mm. OR look for an 11/16 inch vintage strap for it. There are a few vendors of vintage bracelets and straps on eBay. It's probably gonna need servicing to work well for a long time tho
 

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I use headlight restoration products to clean crystals. You will want to sand the crystal first then buff it out with a compound. I start at 600 grit on severe cases then go to 1000 then 2000 grit. Do all this with the sand paper wrapped around a small block or a stir stick works well on this size. Then I buff it out with Meguier's Plastix headlight cleaner. It works on all types of acrylic.

Unfortunately I do not have any good before after shots on my phone.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I got a tiny tube of Polywatch today and got to work. I did use some toothpaste a few days ago and that shined things up, but the PW really did the trick. I did about 8 passes with a pea sized blob and a cloth. I eventually put the cloth on the table and just held the watch crystal on it and rubbed gleefully. The results were great. Check it out.

Here's before, but after doing toothpaste, which, as you can see, did not much. Note the large scratch above 6 o'clock.
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After one pass.
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After fourth pass.
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After seventh pass.
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Super pleased with the results. The crystal is shiny and sparkling. That scratch at 6 o'clock is GONE. There are some other spots here and there that I'm not gonna worry about too much, but for now, what a beauty.

http://instagr.am/p/CD2eSgwHGcZ/
 

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(y) Good purchase especially when in this good general condition & working Ok. The plexi has come up well after polishing and the chrome plated case looks very good for it's age. You'd probably struggle to find such a solid chrome plating nowadays.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
You did good! That piece looks awesome now. A nice brown leather strap would make the watch pop, I think. Enjoy it!
Funny you mention that. This is the strap it came with from eBay. It was really grungy but I cleaned it up the best I could. The clasp on the top of the watch might be about to go though. The leather looks cracked. But for now, it looks pretty good, and gives me an idea of what type of bund strap to try with it next.
 

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Nice job and nice watch and that’s why I like acrylic crystals!

Even though the PW worked great, another method I found that also works well is to make a thick paste with Barkeepers Friend, (available everywhere and cheap), and water.
 

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If you need more info on this model and servicing the movement, check out heritage1854.com

it’s a fine and popular Marlin Calandar. Own one myself, and aside from being a pain to photograph (being made of 98 percent reflective surfaces), it’s a favorite in the collection. Mine is the 73 shown on the site.https://heritage1854.com/1973/marlin-26859

you can find the movement guide for the 27 there too.
 
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