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1976 Tudor 9411/0 blue dial restoration

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Hello everyone.

Some of you know, I do a bit of modding, but my passion is restoration of vintage Rolex products (Rolex and Tudor) to original condition, with period correct parts, to the best of my ability (and budget!).

Previous projects include a ~1973 Rolex 1680. With a 3.9M serial, it may have started life as a red letter sub. I had the case restored by Mike Young, and he also restored the (very rare) early 93150 no date code bracelet to new condition. It carries a brand new bezel ring, correct insert NOS early 127 (true top-hat) crystal and NOS 702 crown and crown tube. Inside, a correct silver date wheel and Mk I white dial complete the build for an era correct and nearly mint example I am quite proud of. (Wearing it now in fact)


But back to the topic at hand...

I have amassed some parts for my 9411 blue dial over the past several years (these projects take A LOT of patience). Those include the early blue dial (not a later service replacement), Correct Tudor marked ETA movement (there is more to these than just the rotor logo!)  NOS 702 crown and tube, NOS (early, true top hat) 125 crystal, insert, NOS Tritium pearl and hour and seconds hands. I am forced to use an aftermarket minute hand, but after purchasing several aftermarket sets, I found one which matches the shape of my all-original 1978 9411 black dial. Oh, and a genuine caseback gasket. My last one :(



That's nice for you, you say. Let's get on with it!

Allrighty then!

I recently found and purchased an original 1976 9411 case and caseback. This had the typical crevice corrosion (side note: this is why Rolex changed to 904 stainless) and the seller I purchased it from had taken a skim cut on the top and bottom of the midcase to clean this up. I would have preferred it was un-touched, so I could have Michael Young weld and then skim it, to eliminate all the corrosion pits while retaining exact original dimensions, but it seems the cut was quite shallow (maybe 0.002") so I'm OK with it. What I was NOT ok with, is the fact that they neglected to polish the top of the crownguards afterwards. They still had the machined appearance (like brushed) and that is not correct. So, the case had to have the (incorrect, but genuine) 703 tube removed, and be polished. For this operation, I first sand to 1200 or 2000 and then bring to the wheel. I always install a (junk) crystal to preserve the rehaut. This must be done carefully, to not distort the shape of the crownguards. I'm not trying to "vintage-ize" it, but rather restore the finish correctly. This requires skill and experience to do well. I think I managed to pull it off.


I also acquired an original (used) crystal retainer. That is the ring under the bezel, that the bezel snaps onto. I have probably 20 aftermarket ones, and the tolerances are just too generous (I think the angles may be off on some too). As most modders know, it is not unusual to have an extremely tight, or extremely loose bezel with aftermarket ones, even when purchased as a "set" together. (I thought I had a picture of it, but honestly, it's not terribly exciting anyway)

Installing the tube is easy, when you have the right tools...


Of course, rep or gen, the case threads are ALWAYS chased with the correct tap before installing the tube with the correct Lock-tite product, (and, of course the correct square-section o-ring) for durability and water resistance. Below is the tube installed on the polished case:


I know, the case doesn't look much different in the picture, but you'll just have to trust me, that it's now looking like my second photo, above.





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I am REALLY second-guessing myself before posting this.  I must be missing something.  But that looks like no tube I have ever seen before???



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