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manodeoro

A/6538 Military Submariner with Burford dial

27 posts in this topic

When I begun that build I made myself a promise that I would not create this thread  before having a complete story to tell.
But I'm too impatient so I post a teaser now ... I will write and post eveything else later.

So what is this all about?... about an A/6538


783107RPRMikeWoodA6538.jpg

489167RPRA6538Cla2ok21.jpg

 

Question was ... what should I do to wear this watch?

1st option was to become VERY wealthy and lucky enough to find one to buy ...

2nd option was to have some imagination plus a little patience and build one.

Unfortunately, as far as I know, a correct 6538 case that already can receive a 5513 bezel costs about $800 to $1500 - totally out of my budget.


Fortunately !!! I have A BUNCH of imagination and A BUNCH of patience.

So here is what is already done :

1 - start with a Silix 6538 midcase ... $ 45 but NOT accepting a 5513 bezel assembly

2 - shave the rehaut and graft a new one ... "gen-specs"
an "easy" mod as long as you know how to measure, design, draw ... and have a friend who own a lathe and is OK to provide some help

3 - build a Burford dial strating from scratch ... and while I was in the building  a vintage dial I decided to make it "Tropical"

So here I am now, with still a lot of work to do but the most difficult parts of that build (grafting the rehaut + building the dial) are already done.
Building the custom bezel won't be easy but it's already in progress ... the rest will be a peace of cake


Silix 6538 midcase with the new rehaut already "grafted" + the T19 and the 5513 bezel assembly

346462IMG20171201130109167.jpg

Same midcase with the T19 and bezel assembly on ... the bezel turns perfectly

926879IMG20171201130309116.jpg

A nice insert and the home-made 26mm Burford dial that I'll put in that case

704883IMG20171201130838232.jpg

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Subscribed... 

wonderful results so far, bravo!

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Nice start of work !

I'm especially interested to know more about your step 3

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Woah there..... too quick, 

we need to know how you made the dial please :D 

 

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20 hours ago, GC said:

Subscribed... 

wonderful results so far, bravo!

 

20 hours ago, NCRich said:

Cool!  Nice work.

 

18 hours ago, Glaude said:

Nice start of work !

I'm especially interested to know more about your step 3

 

18 hours ago, pickledbeetroot said:

Woah there..... too quick, 

we need to know how you made the dial please :D 

 

Thank you very much !!!

I'm pretty certain that the "2 metals" bezel will be really nice

 

About the dial making, well ... that was "almost" easy  :D

I already had designed a very crispy Burford dial some months ago, using both Photoshop and Illustrator (dozens of hours searching for good pics + dozens of hours working on the design using a 5000ppi definition).

mini_8742966538170303.jpg

That design was black and withe only and done for a standard Silix case using a 29mm dial so I :

1 - resized everything using Illustrator so the design could fit a 26mm dial (25.8mm exactly as the Burdford dials where supposed to be reprinted on on 6538 Gilt dials)

mini_121960A65382.jpg

2 - spent dozens of hours (again) using Photoshop to design a "blank" tropical 26mm dial

3 - copied  the white parts of the first design and pasted that on the "tropical" design

4  - printed on clear decal paper and protected with 2 coats of matte varnish

5 - prepared a 26mm dial with a "cream" paint ... randomly applied so that some areas where more or less clear or dark ... then sanded finely to get an almost smooth surface (not perfect)

6 - applied the decal on the dial and sprayed 2 coats of matte varnish ...  each coat dried for about 24 hours

7 - sprayed a 3rd coat of matte varnish and used an hairdryer spo that the varnish dried faster on some areas

8 - sprayed a 4th coat of matte varnish and used the hairdryer again

ET VOILA ...

3891441631.jpg

Now the next fun part of that build will be to put a 25.8mm dial in a modded 6538 midcase with a 26mm case opening  :D WITHOUT holding it with a Gen movement

It could be, theoretically, impossible ...

But there are ways, you know, and I have a few more tricks up my sleeves and ...

THAT is another part of the story that I still have to write ... just hope you liked this one

Edited by manodeoro

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DAMN that's awesome!

Looks great even as a macro photo filling a 24in monitor so will look perfect 26mm IRL

This should be an amazing project when finished but please tell me you removing that pearl from your insert

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Impressive work! Will follow with interest, thanks for posting.

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DAMN that's awesome!
Looks great even as a macro photo filling a 24in monitor so will look perfect 26mm IRL
This should be an amazing project when finished but please tell me you removing that pearl from your insert


Wich pearl ?
Of course ... I'll remove it and leave the insert without any pearl or put an Athaya

sent from my Moto G5 Plus using Tapatalk

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Don't be sad about all the work you've done on Photoshop & Illustrator, but to me the most impressive stage is : how you coated everything so that it doesn't look like a printed dial ! Very nice !

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17 hours ago, Glaude said:

Don't be sad about all the work you've done on Photoshop & Illustrator, but to me the most impressive stage is : how you coated everything so that it doesn't look like a printed dial ! Very nice !

Thanks my dear fellow countryman :happy:

I'm never sad about the hours spent working on watches ... it's my yoga as I cant go running anymore (former ultradistance runner stuck on the spot since 2 years and for some more months ... :frusty:).

About the dial I must admit that I'm really proud of what I achieved ... but we, Frenchies, are well known for our hability to put some varnish on daily stuffs and call them "history" ... just consider "the Marianne" :boobies2:

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3 hours ago, manodeoro said:

Thanks my dear fellow countryman :happy:

I'm never sad about the hours spent working on watches ... it's my yoga as I cant go running anymore (former ultradistance runner stuck on the spot since 2 years and for some more months ... :frusty:).

About the dial I must admit that I'm really proud of what I achieved ... but we, Frenchies, are well known for our hability to put some varnish on daily stuffs and call them "history" ... just consider "the Marianne" :boobies2:

Yeah I don't think this is particularly a French habit, every old country does that.

Keep your project and pictures a !

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40 minutes ago, Glaude said:

Yeah I don't think this is particularly a French habit, every old country does that.

Keep your project and pictures a !

C'était une boutade :D

J'ai lu tes posts ... si j'ai bien tout compris, tu était magistrat ?

Just now, manodeoro said:

C'était une boutade :D

J'ai lu tes posts ... si j'ai bien tout compris, tu était magistrat ?

Avec un S bien sur (étaiS)

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5 minutes ago, manodeoro said:

C'était une boutade :D

J'ai lu tes posts ... si j'ai bien tout compris, tu était magistrat ?

Avec un S bien sur (étaiS)

Yup, but I'll keep it in English for others to read our very interesting watch exchange ;) 

I was but not for long, as a fellow countryman you know how some aspect of our judiciary system can work, I was in the penal branch and things we’re getting a little bit too out of hands for my taste.

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28 minutes ago, Glaude said:

Yup, but I'll keep it in English for others to read our very interesting watch exchange ;) 

I was but not for long, as a fellow countryman you know how some aspect of our judiciary system can work, I was in the penal branch and things we’re getting a little bit too out of hands for my taste.

YEP ... trapped between the hands of Justice like the "Concombre Masqué" (in French in the text) between the ... it's boobs ain't it ? :D

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23 minutes ago, manodeoro said:

YEP ... trapped between the hands of Justice like the "Concombre Masqué" (in French in the text) between the ... it's boobs ain't it ? :D

Damn right it is ! 

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2 hours ago, Glaude said:

Damn right it is ! 

I've been a fan of "Le Concombre Masqué" ... many years ago:brightlight:

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Nice one as always Mano! Glad you're spreading your knowledge on here as well. 

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Payment sent 
Hmmm ? sorry ... already reserved if I decide to sell
But if I achieve that build good enough I could consider building twin watches

sent from my Moto G5 Plus using Tapatalk

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Nice one as always Mano! Glad you're spreading your knowledge on here as well. 
Thanks buddy ... though "knowledge" is too much to describe my little experience

sent from my Moto G5 Plus using Tapatalk

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Hi ... here is a little update about that build.

Today I want to  speak about
 
A/6538 CUSTOM BEZEL

First let me quote (partially) Shane Griffin from "Gear Patrol" :
"Around 1957, when the MOD was ready to commit to the Submariner, Rolex was several years and several upgraded references into the Submariner’s history.
The 6538 ... was made into a MOD-spec version, the A/6538.
The MOD required, among other specific features, a larger bezel, allowing gloved divers more gripping power; and a bezel material of German silver, which would typically dent upon impact, versus cracking or breaking."

The required bezel was virtually (and as far as I know) a "thick" 5513 bezel build in 2 parts :
- downer part (the one that clipped on the retaining ring) made from stainless steel
- upper part made from "german silver"

That specific construction could be controversial but when one look at the pic below it really seems the bezel is made from 2 parts, the upper part being corroded differently than the downer part.
The different color of the upper part could be due to the specific composition of the "german silver" ("nickel silver", "maillechort") that can contain a significant percentage of copper (40 to 70%).

1808215301.jpg

In all cases, that is THAT pic (plus the Burford dial of course) that made me "fall in love" with the A/6538 and that pushed me to try to build the "same" watch.

So, after grafting a new rehaut to my Silix 6538 case, I am, at the moment, actually building a 2 parts custom bezel ... and I know ... I'm probably crazy :animal:

I will show pics of the finished bezel and explain the building process but today I want to speak about "bronzing" stainless steel.

The upper part of my custom bezel should look like the one on the pic above, so it should have what I would call a "light yellow color"
So last week I PMed my good friend and "king of steel" @mascob to get some infos about how to "lightly bronze" Stainless Steel.
As usually he was enthousiastic, did some tests with a torch and send me the pics altogether with process advices.

9642716139.jpg

Result was really nice but not "light" enough and color was too "orange/yellow".
The other problem was that ... I dont have a gaz torch.

So if I wanted to get that "really discreet yellow color" I had to heat the bezel :
- at a lower temperature that the one obtained with a gaz torch
- in a very well distribued way to get a homogeneous coloration

On Saturday morning, about 6AM, I was cleaning my italian coffe maker (search Bialetti Moka Express on the web) and I had an epiphany !!!
The downside of my coffe maker, plain stainless steel, was partially showing a light yellow color :cheese::cheese::cheese:
So  to reproduce the process I just had to analyse "how do I heat my coffee maker" ...
The answer was :
- very low heat
- long time

So, just after drinking me coffee, I took an old twisted bezel, put it on the smallest burner of my cooking plate, light the burner and waited to see if something would happen.
And my expectations were more than fullfilled ... after 2 heating periods of 30mn each my bezel showed a really light but really nice yellow/gold color

mini_3578276940.jpg

That was all for Saturday but on Sunday afternoon I have decided to try another 30mn heating period and I put my bezel on the burner again

9750047942.jpg

At this very moment I had a little "problem" as my wife entered the kitchen and looked alternatively at me and the bezel on the burner ...

Her :
"Please tell me, my love, are you cooking a ... watch ?"
Me :
"Well, darling, I'm NOT actually cooking a complete watch ... just a watch bezel"
Her :
"Are we supposed to ... eat that thing ?"
Me :
"Definitely NO my dear ... you know I cook organic food only and I can't attest that that bezel is an organic product"

There is moments in life when you're dealing with your wife/girl-friend and you know that you HAVE to find something to say and/or do if you want to avoid sleeping on the couch.
So I flashed my "Clooney's smile" (Clooney ... not clowny) and said :
"We've been living together for ... 35 years and see, I'm still able to surprise you ... what else ?"
Then she laughed and kissed me, poored two glasses of Saint-Mont (Tannat, Pinenc, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon) and waited with me for the final result.

So here are the pics, almost exactly the colored I 'm trying to reproduce
and BTW ... I did not slept on the couch :D

3646482043.jpg

3682181845.jpg

9156162746.jpg

7629215847.jpg

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Yeah awesome mate !

I would have tried a bronze wire wheel on a heated surface (technique used in bladesmitthing) but this method works like a charm.

Impatient to see the next step !

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8 hours ago, Glaude said:

Yeah awesome mate !

I would have tried a bronze wire wheel on a heated surface (technique used in bladesmitthing) but this method works like a charm.

Impatient to see the next step !

Thank buddy :happy: next step is coming soon ... I hope so

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