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Thread: Need something welded on a stainless steel watch case.

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    Need something welded on a stainless steel watch case.

    From the work I've seen some of you guys do I doubt i'd find better workmanship any where.

    My problem is that My Dad's Omega Seamaster Deville has a leg broken off the casing, the leg one side of the band attaches to.

    I've checked with the factory and a full service repair would run into a great deal of money.

    The watch itself if in very good condition is worth thousands from what I've been told.

    Even if I could find a replacement casing I wouldn't want to because the watch is a presentation piece from his company for many years of service and is engraved on the back which is integral to the casing.

    I've had the movement out of the casing before so the casing can be worked on without danger to the movement or bezel.
    The other legs of the casing would no doubt have to be well protected by some sort of heat sink, they are gold filled like every thing else except the casing itself. The replacement leg need not be gold plated, just shaped the same as the others.

    Any help would be appreciated. I'm willing to pay a reasonable price for the job. Not so much for myself but so I can pass the watch on when I no longer need it and I'm not getting any younger.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

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    Welder of nearly 50yrs here, you do NOT want that welded. Send it back to the factory IF you hope to have ANY value to hand down to another generation. Every other method of repair will just take away from the value of it and welding on it will absolutely ruin it.
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  3. #3
    Boolit Master



    M-Tecs's Avatar
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    Normally this is done with laser welding. A few are good enough to do it with micro tig welding but best to leave to the people that specialize in this type of repair. Before I retired I could have done it for you but don't have access to the equipment anymore.

    Some laser welders specializing in watch repair listed below.

    http://www.watchrepair.cc/watchcases.html

    http://www.classicwatchrepair.com/en...e-restoration/

    https://www.buchkosky.com/services/laser-repairs/

    http://fulkersonjewelers.com/laser-welding/

    http://www.tourneau.com/watch-servic...ce-center.html
    Last edited by M-Tecs; 11-01-2017 at 05:43 PM.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    Thanks for the advice.
    I've contacted several Omega repair sites, maybe something will turn up. If I can find a casing from a relic stripped for parts I could have the engraving duplicated and add my name to it along with whoever I plan to pass it on to.

    I wound and set the watch earlier and so far it appears to be keeping good time. First time its been wound in perhaps thirty years.
    Not being used in so long has at least spared wear on the moving parts.

  5. #5
    I would be doubtful about anything but very specialised welding techniques, and I think you would be wise to entrust it to a well established firm who guarantee their work. Had it been for a subject for which no such services exist, I would rather silver solder it with something like Brownells Silvaloy 355 solder. It is strong, comes in thin ribbon (at a price), and melts at a lower temperature than jeweller's silver solders.

    https://www.brownells.com/gunsmith-t...r-prod584.aspx

    It may even have been made that way.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    Laser welding is the answer you're looking for.

    I have to ask, how did the lug break? Something like that generally occurs through abuse or a porous casting. If it was abuse, there might be further damage to the movement than realized, if it's a porous casting, then even laser welding might be problematic.

    In either case, I would ensure you're sending it to someone who is qualified to do whatever repairs might be needed.
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  7. #7
    Boolit Master

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    It might be wise to talk to a good jeweler and get his recommendations on this project. A true jeweler will have the experience and knowledge to give good advice and what can be done

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Multigunner View Post

    I've checked with the factory and a full service repair would run into a great deal of money.

    I'm willing to pay a reasonable price for the job. Not so much for myself but so I can pass the watch on when I no longer need it and I'm not getting any younger.
    All above "no to welding" advice is spot on. Nothing to add to that. However, if the watch is so valuable to you, why let the cost of a PROPER repair get in the way. If you do not have the money now, my advice is to do nothing now, and get it fixed later when you've had a time to save up for the fix. I think DougGuy pretty much spelled it out as far as the hope for a satisfactory outcome.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master



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    One of friends who passed away this spring flipped high end watches. He would purchase broken and damaged watches. I did some repairs for him on lower end stuff but for the high end he would send it out and the results were outstanding. The repairs I did were TIG welded in a proper preheated heat sink fixture in an argon chamber. Both him and I are tool makers by trade. Normally he would machine very elaborate heat sink fixtures to prevent warpage and that worked OK but unless you can do most the work yourself it's would not be cost effective. Not something your local blacksmith/welding shop is capable of.

    I have seen the before and afters on the laser welding repairs on high end watches he sent out. He purchased a watch for $11,000 with a broken lug and other issues. When he was done with the restoration he sold it for $28,000.00.

    He normally had about $60,000 invested in watches to be restored.

    Laser welding is the PROPER method for this type of repair and the results are outstanding with zero need to hope of a satisfactory outcome. I don't know when laser welders became common but a company I worked for in the 80's had several.
    Last edited by M-Tecs; 11-01-2017 at 05:52 PM.

  10. #10
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  11. #11
    Boolit Master



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  12. #12
    Boolit Master



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  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by country gent View Post
    It might be wise to talk to a good jeweler and get his recommendations on this project. A true jeweler will have the experience and knowledge to give good advice and what can be done
    A true watchmaker, yes. But the jewellery trade thrives on customers who don't know about the various technologies, and wouldn't hear them if they tried to explain.

    I'm sure M-Tecs is right about laser welding, and others are right about the economic good sense of going to a specialist. But watch out for a jeweller sending the work out to an over-optimistic metal-butcher.

    Even if a watch was made this way, it was probably welded before the threads for the back were cut. If the threads dimple, you are really up to the lower lip in something nasty. A technique that is right for most watches may mean trouble with one designed for the smallest possible diameter.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master

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    Using a laser, and PUK III, the one thing not discussed is the strength of the weld. I have found, I have to heat the weld and complete the brazing. For a retip, or quick connect prior to soldering the laser is good, and the PUK III is real good, especially retipping an emerald. Piece of cake. For a permanent job on a shank, the laser tacks the piece prior to soldering. That is the issue. For a restore, a new claw should be TIG welded, or a new case. Either way, the weld will show, or the engraving will not be quite there.
    I like lasers, but for strength I use a solid weld.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master



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    Strength of laser welds (in a large part) are a function of the machine. Comparing a $139.00 low end laser tack welding machine to a high end laser welding machine is not realistic. I will be the first to admit I know very little about low end laser welding machines. A quick search on prices of laser welds for jewelry applications varies between $139.00 and $30,000. I am more familiar with industrial laser welding. Industrial laser welders are used for some very high strength applications such as turbine blades in jet engines.
    Last edited by M-Tecs; 11-02-2017 at 11:34 PM.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master jmorris's Avatar
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    Hard to say without seeing the broken part and knowing what exactly we are talking about but it doesn't sound like rocket science.

    I have TIG welded soda cans together before and thats a lot thicker than heat exchanger tubes I have also welded.

    There are also ways to protect from heat, there are gels and such that work as well but stainless has to be a lot thinner than alu/mag before heat transfer becomes a limiting factor.

    But yeah, having your buddy strike an arc with 6011 rod isn't going to do it.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by NoZombies View Post
    I have to ask, how did the lug break? Something like that generally occurs through abuse or a porous casting. If it was abuse, there might be further damage to the movement than realized, if it's a porous casting, then even laser welding might be problematic.
    The lug just snapped off while I was mounting a new metal wrist band. One side went on easily but the other was snug and got in a bind.
    I believe that lug had taken a hit at some point that bent it just a hair and fractured the join. Even then the weld had to have been defective from the beginning.

    I had the movement out of the case to sluice out old dried lube and regulate the timing, I was successful in that. Something had gummed up the works causing the watch to run for only a few hours at a time, now it works as it should.

    I'd tried to silver solder the lug with hi force 44 but whatever the lug itself was made of had a low melting point.
    IIRC from the looks of it the lugs were probably cast around a stiff steel wire that had been welded to the case. At the break a small rough circular patch was left.

    The movement loads into the case from the front, there's no separate back plate and IIRC it just snaps in without any threading.
    Its actually a very simple way of assembling a watch, but no where near as sturdy as it should be for a watch of such a high reputation.
    I'd give the movement of these a 10 out of 10, very durable and accurate when clean and all appears to be of a gold alloy with plenty of jewels in the movement, but the casing and stem I'd give a 5 at best.

    I've joined an Omega owner forum and put out feelers for a replacement case.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master GoodOlBoy's Avatar
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    JB Weld..... somebody had to say it...

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  19. #19
    Boolit Master

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    I have no idea of quality, but I just e-mailed Terry at watchrepair.com (the first listing) about my grandfather's pocket watch, on a Sunday expecting a return tomorrow. We just got home from choir practice and had a response from him asking for pics. Very quick response, at least.
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  20. #20
    Boolit Buddy
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    If I understand correctly, this is a gold filled case? If that's the case, welding is not the best way to go about it. I would imagine the lugs were soldered on, especially if this is an old watch. Some of the recommendations seem to be on the idea that the case is stainless. Laser welders are wonderful machines, but they don't like white gold or base metal, and positively "hate" Silver . If this case is gold filled, the actual "base metal" underneath is a type of brass usually, so solder is the way to go. It sounds like previous repair attempts may have damaged the lug, in that case a new one will have to be made. I will also recommend sending it to the factory, they will be able to bring it back to usable condition and probably re-plate the whole thing.

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