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Saturday, September 3, 2022

1955 Automatic K-402

 The "worst" watch I've ever come across was found on a beach on the Pacific coast.  All that was left was the dial and I could tell from the markers that it was from a Norman.

I recently came across a contender.  It also took a swim in the Pacific about 30 years ago.  The owner kept the watch but never had it addressed.  That is, until recently when he sent it to me to see if I could salvage it.

The model is a 1955 K-402.  It was made through 1957,

Looking at my project watch, there's a halo of rust around the crystal as well as on the dial.  To be honest, I wasn't really sure what I was going to find inside.

I was able to get the case back off and revealed the rustiest 661 movement I've ever seen.  The rotor was seized and there's really nothing inside that appears serviceable.  This is really a less for all watch owners - if you get water inside, especially salt water, make sure you get the watch dried and serviced as soon as possible.

The first trick will be to get the movement out of the case.

Success!  I was able to get the movement out and I was also able to get the dial off without breaking the dial feet off the dial.

The movement is held inside the case by a couple of case clamps.  I should be able to reuse them.

The inside of the case back makes identifying the model very easy - K402 is stamped right inside the back.

From this point I will have to proceed with a donor movement.  The crown on the rusty stem is from a Wittnauer watch so I'll replace that too.

My donor 661 movement is completely disassembled, cleaned, and ready to be reassembled.  I was able to clean the dial fairly well but it's not perfect.  It will be a reminder to keep this watch away from the water in the future.

The reassembled movement is ticking away with good motion.  Now it's off to the timer to see how it sounds.

Not too shabby.  I will tweak the regulator and speed it up slightly.

A couple of very minor adjustments gets the beat rate running just slightly fast at 11 seconds fast per day.

The automatic framework and rotor are reattached and swinging freely - now it goes back into the case.

Well, I have to say that this watch turned out a lot better than I thought it was going to.  The dial cleaned up nicely and with the hands relumed along with a new crystal, it looks great, considering all that it's been through.

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