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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all

This is my first post. I have been a fan of watches for many years but have only been able to spend a little money so as I type my casio protrek is jangling away!

Anyway, my Grandma recently took pity on my watch desire and gave me my Grandads old watch which she says was 'quite deer' when he bought it back in the 70's. I picked it up and after 20 years in a drawer it started ticking away. It is a Zenith Respirator AF/P Automatic with day and date windows. The day/date doesnt work and doesnt move when you pull out the stem and turn the crown. It has a blue face with a silver band from 9 to 3. It is very retro looking!

I was so excited I spent an evening looking at it and cleaning all the gunk out of the bracelet! The next day I took it to a local watch repairer in my home town and was not too impressed with his attitude. He didnt share my enthusiasm and basically said that it was old so dont expect too much, the day date cant be fixed because they are plastic wheels which break down and you cant get replacements, and didnt seem to think anything could be doen to polish/replace the crystal or polish the steel case.

Cutting to the chase I have a few questions which hoepfully the knowledgable people of this forum can answer.

  1. Can anyone tell me more abou the watch? I have read about the respirator series but cant find my watch (or pics of it at least) on the web.
  2. Is it worth anything? Clearly I will keep it forever but just out of curiousity really (iam in the UK)
  3. Is it possible to get a new crystal and seal fitted and if so where do I go?
  4. Any other comments/advice would be very welcome.

The watch is still with the repairer for a service but will post photos as soon as I can.

Look forward to hearing from you all.

Martin
 

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The crystal is acrylic and can be polished by the watchmaker during service (maybe better ask for it before he finishes his work, otherwise he has to take the watch apart again).

You can do without the seal, just don't expect it to be waterresistant any more.

It would not be easy to find a new original seal or crystal.

The movement is a Zenith/Movado 405 : see bidfun-db Archiv: Uhrwerke: Zenith 405 (Movado 405)

It has 36000 bph : high frequency, hence the "AF/P" on the dial meaning "alta frequenza/precisione".
Quickset for the day is by moving the hands between 18 and 0 hours.

Do you have the original bracelet with it ?

Sorry but we don't do valuations here.

Welcome to the forum and hope you will be able to enjoy the watch soon. Looking forward to some pics.
 

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Welcome also from me. I must say that, if a watchmaker took that attitude with my watch, I'd leave and get a second opinion plus better service! If he starts like that, I hope the watch will be working satisfactorily when it comes back and that the service won't cost the earth.....

I won't say how much the watch is worth (it varies depending on several factors) but unless it's trashed, a Zenith Respirator AF/P will certainly be worth enough to get it fixed! The date and day wheels are certainly not plastic - they are thin metal and should not need replacing unless they are bent or scratched (which can only really happen when they are out of the watch!). Over and above that, Zenith have recently stated that they will repair any watch they have ever made. If you do decide to go down that road, you can expect the result to be exceptional - but it will cost accordingly!

Hartmut Richter
 

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come to think of it, it is quite possible or even likely that the rubber seal for the crystal has desintegrated and is the cause that the day and date are not working any more; that will be a tedious job to clean up for the watchmaker but as a result the watch should work again
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the replies, more fruitful than a few hours spent with google!! As far as I can tell it is the original strap. It has very thin links and the clasp has the logo on it. I was surprised at how good then strap on it is. I take your point about the value, I really just wanted to know if it was worth spending the money on and you have answered that for me.

How do I get in touch with Zenith to send for repair? I know it would probably cost but I really would like to have the watch done properly. Think I might go and ask for the watch back and get it doen properly. He was proposing £50-60 for the service and a turn around of 2 weeks.
 

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Thanks for the replies, more fruitful than a few hours spent with google!! As far as I can tell it is the original strap. It has very thin links and the clasp has the logo on it. I was surprised at how good then strap on it is. I take your point about the value, I really just wanted to know if it was worth spending the money on and you have answered that for me.

How do I get in touch with Zenith to send for repair? I know it would probably cost but I really would like to have the watch done properly. Think I might go and ask for the watch back and get it doen properly. He was proposing £50-60 for the service and a turn around of 2 weeks.
Hi. Zenith Service in the USA is in New Jersey phone 866 273-3467. Check the Zenith website for a service center close to you if you are in a different country. I sent a Zenith AF/P in for service about 4 years ago and had excellent results at a reasonable price. They were very backed up so it took 6 months but the wait was worth it. They gave a Zenith crocodile deployant strap as compensation for the wait. AF/P stands for Alta Frequenza Precisione. Your watch likely uses the caliber 405 movement which runs at a very fast 36,000 bph. The movement is marked Zenith but was actually made by Movado when they were in a joint venture. Here's a shot of the AF/P.

Watch Analog watch Watch accessory Fashion accessory Strap

 

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Thanks for the replies, more fruitful than a few hours spent with google!! As far as I can tell it is the original strap. It has very thin links and the clasp has the logo on it. I was surprised at how good then strap on it is. I take your point about the value, I really just wanted to know if it was worth spending the money on and you have answered that for me.

How do I get in touch with Zenith to send for repair? I know it would probably cost but I really would like to have the watch done properly. Think I might go and ask for the watch back and get it doen properly. He was proposing £50-60 for the service and a turn around of 2 weeks.
If you have it serviced by Zenith, expect a longer waiting period and higher cost (probably you should multiply x 10). It seems to me you have found a very reasonable local watchmaker, so I would give him a chance.
The bracelet which you describe is probably a NSA bracelet, which are indeed fine quality vintage bracelets.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hi all. As an update I got the watch back yesterday. The guy said tht the day/ date couldn't be fixed as it was obsolete and one simply cannot get the parts. He said 'you are on borrowed time with this one'. He hadn't done anything although he claimed to have oiled it. No charge of course. Not sure what to do with it now. I took out the movement as it pushes from the front but the stem goes through the case so can't see inside any further. The face Is tarnished and I would really like to see the movement. I tried to post photos of it but can't get it to work! Any tips for that also.
Thanks
 

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Sounds like you would have to buy a 'donor watch' if you want to have yours fixed. Or you can try Zenith.

For posting pics, try the 'insert Image' icon when you reply.

Your pics should not be too big in size (but not too small either).
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Watch Watch accessory Analog watch Blue Fashion accessory
This is the best I can do as I had to resize it.I have tried to give it a polish, including the acrylic with Autosol. I have taken the acrylic out and there is no square seal behind it and I think that the movement of the acrylic against the face is what has caused the blue to chip away. Is it possible to make a seal and if so what material do i use?

Also the crown is what looks like brass, is there any way of finding out what the original crown is like?

The mechanism pushes out from the front and then the acrylic lift off but the mechanism wont come out of the case. Does anyone know how I can get to it?
 

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This is the best I can do as I had to resize it.I have tried to give it a polish, including the acrylic with Autosol. I have taken the acrylic out and there is no square seal behind it and I think that the movement of the acrylic against the face is what has caused the blue to chip away. Is it possible to make a seal and if so what material do i use?

Also the crown is what looks like brass, is there any way of finding out what the original crown is like?

The mechanism pushes out from the front and then the acrylic lift off but the mechanism wont come out of the case. Does anyone know how I can get to it?
The case looks nice, but Autosol is probably not the right product to polish the acrylic. You could try Polywatch (or a similar product) for the crystal.

I doubt that it is was the acrylic which caused the damage to the dial. More likely it was the rubber seal which desintegrated and caused the damage : I've seen the same happen with Heuer Monaco's.

Apparently your watch has been serviced at least once, since the crown is not original any more. At that time probably the remains of the seal were removed and the dial sustained some damage.

You can try to make a new seal out of rubber, but it is not really necessary.

Probably it needs some gentle prying if you want to get the movement out of the case.

The original crown would look like this :

Metal
 
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