NOS watches that don’t work are a pain.
And 99 times out of 100 it’s because of the battery that was installed at the factory and never taken out. Ever.
Battery acid and circuit boards aren’t a very good combination. And if you haven’t seen the damage a battery can do to a PCB you should check out some videos on pinball machine repair where the batteries installed in every solid state pinball from 1978 to sometime in the 1990s leak and the acid progressively makes its way along every track it can, corroding it in the process. Here’s a good example – in fact if you’re into pinballs and arcade games you should subscribe to this guy’s channel, he’s done some pretty amazing restoration and repair work.
And the same thing happens to vintage watches, just on a smaller scale. The worst part is seeing a watch in pristine condition on the outside, be a seething mess of blue crud and corroded traces on the inside.
Such was the case with this watch – one I hadn’t seen before – that I picked up locally for a good price. Very NOS (complete with box and manual) and very nice, I totally expected it to work with a bit of a clean with isopropyl and a new battery. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be.
It ended up needing way more than that and TBH I’m not sure how it’s actually working since it theoretically shouldn’t be.
Long story short, after trying all the conventional methods of getting it going again, I eventually brought it back to life by pretty much reversing the way the circuit works. Where there was insulation, I removed it and put something conductive instead. Not that I’m complaining – it’s a cool watch!
It has a perpetual calendar from 1901 to 2099 and you can scroll through any month during this period to find out the days and dates. The calendars jump around depending on the month, so this would look kind of cool if you could display all the LCD segments at once. The Sunday column blinks so you can tell at a glance what the day is on a particular date.
Another unique function is being able to set the date view as either EU or US (so 31 January 2015 can either show up as 15 1 31 or 15 31 1 depending on your preference). It’s got a stopwatch and alarm, 12/24 hour time and a calculator of course (no light though?) and is pretty impressive since there are no side buttons and everything is controlled via the 16 buttons on the face of the watch.
Setting it is not quite as straightforward as it is with most calculator watches, so I’ll scan the manual one of these days and upload it too.
If you find one of these, buy it – they’re usually not too expensive; but get one that works…fixing it was way too confusing!