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manodeoro

5500 Air-King Precision with patina dial - circa 1975

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manodeoro

Today I am really happy to introduce you to my newcomer, a 5500 Air-King Precision circa 1975.

That watch shows a really nice patina dial and offers a thrilling experience on the wrist ... for vintage watch lovers of course.

And it's been a really long journey to get that petite on my wrist.

I'll tell you the complete story a little later but for the moment … i just hope you'll enjoy the pics.

 

21_-_FINISHED.jpg

 

22_-_FINISHED.jpg

 

23_-_FINISHED.jpg

 

24_-_FINISHED.jpg

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GingerBlubba

Great dial, looks lovely mate. Well done.

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manodeoro
5 minutes ago, GingerBlubba said:

Great dial, looks lovely mate. Well done.

Thanks buddy :happy: 

Some close-up pics … I’m definitely in love with that crown

I swear the complete story will come soon

 

25_-_FINISHED.jpg

 

26_-_FINISHED.jpg

 

27_-_FINISHED.jpg

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Theviking

Lovely platina, congrats, wear in good health

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Moondustesp

Nice find congratulations 

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Juggo

Looks great

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RussP

Nice.

All lume plots present and accounted for.

Await the story in due course.

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FoxWilde

Wear in good health. What a stunner

Fox

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manodeoro

Hi guys and thank you all.

I have finished sorting the pics so ... here is the complete story 

 

It all started when I saw, on a UK site, a watch showing a beautifull patina.

That 5500 Air-King was at £3.000, a fair price IMO though I really had a better use for such an amount at that very moment. 

But I must admit that I fell in love at first sight and I craved to have one.

 

01-_UKSPEC.jpg

 

02_-_UKSPEC.jpg

 

03_-_UKSPEC.jpg

 

I already had 2 Air-Kings, 14000 models in my drawers.

One was a DHGate I got from @English Gent for the amazing amount of £67 shipped.

 

04_-_DHGATE.jpg

 

The other one I bought from Silix, only $100 shipped, just to check if a$30 difference could imply a difference in the making.

And yes there was a real difference as the Silix had a better dial, a better movement and a much better case and bracelet.

 

Then, considering the fact that the DHGate one was a little small (not exactly 36mm) and spent almost all its time in the drawer despite the fact that she was really nice on the wrist, I decided that I could take my chance.

So I decided I could try to transform a soso 14000 into a nice 5500 ... thus the really long journey.

 

First I had to mod the dial.

 

05_-_DIAL_STRIP.jpg

 

I removed the bar indexes and the crown and put them aside then I stripped all the letterings, using acetone and Q-Tips and only kept the "soleillé" (sunburst)

 

06_-_DIAL_STRIP.jpg

 

07_-_DIAL_STRIP.jpg

 

I had already designed a 5500 Air-King Precision patina dial and had printed it on clear decal paper so I just had to put it on

 

08_-_MOD.jpg

 

09_-_MOD.jpg

 

I picked the "right" indexes and a better crown from my spares, put them on the dial - with cyanolit because their positions had to be moved a little more close to the rehaut (about 1/2mm).

I used 8 "thin" indexes and 3 "bold" indexes (at 3/6/9) and I reworked the crown a little with a diamond files so that it could look a litte more "genlike".

Then of course a set of 5500 Precision hands and some dots of DIY vintage lume.

 

10_-_LUME.jpg

 

11_-_LUME.jpg

 

12_-_LUME.jpg

 

Before putting the dial and movement in the case I had to rework it a BIG lot :

- thinned the case and lugs a little to get closer to the 34mm size

- drilled the lugs from scratch so that they could get vintage spring bars

- filled the existing lug holes with solder so that the spring bars could not be "stucked" inside

- erased the engravements on the rehaut and thinned it a little so that it could receive a Tropic crystal

- reworked the bezel to the outer size of the Tropic Crystal

- thinned the lugs and bezel again while smoothing everything

- chamfered the inner side of the crwon so that the final look could be more « gemlike »

- mod standard springbars to vintage 1,8mm springbars

 

I did not took pics of all the phases along the process but here are some

 

13_-_CASE_MOD.jpg

 

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16_-_CASE_MOD.jpg

 

So what could I add ?

That it’s been a long  but really interesting process and that I’m really happy with the final result.

Hope you enjoyed the story.

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GingerBlubba

:Applause:

Wow. Impressive dude!!!

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manodeoro
On 23/09/2018 at 11:50, GingerBlubba said:

:Applause:

Wow. Impressive dude!!!

Thanks buddy :happy:

Next piece of my Air-King collection (14000 + 5500) could look like the one below ... I would really like to add that 4499 if I ever find a way to build it  :frusty:

Capture.jpg

Edited by manodeoro

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NCRich
On 23/09/2018 at 02:26, manodeoro said:

Hi guys and thank you all.

So what could I add ?

That it’s been a long  but really interesting process and that I’m really happy with the final result.

Hope you enjoyed the story.

Beautiful work. Just lovely.  As one would expect from you.

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manodeoro
40 minutes ago, NCRich said:

Beautiful work. Just lovely.  As one would expect from you.

Thank you Rich ... I just try to reach the level of work you show on your builds :happy:

 

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paccbet

Wow, once again, beautiful build Mano! 

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Jasonbaylee

Thumb Up!!!! Applause


"There are more than 1 road to Rome...."

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nuvolablue

Amazing.

Sent from my SM-G930F using Tapatalk

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Buglicker

That is beautiful work, way out of my league. I think it’s amazing that you just made your own dial!

I bought the other Air King that English Gent sold at the same time, with the blue dial and slightly wonky coronet. The innards are now in a cartel case and bracelet that I’ve aged, and drilled the lugholes on. I changed the coronet to a better one, as the pins on the back were out of line. My first real project that turned out decent enough to wear in public..  I was wearing it today.

CXJk0.jpg

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manodeoro

@paccbet @Jasonbaylee @nuvolablue ... thank you guys ansd sorry sorry to answer you so lately

 

@Buglicker  nice catch ... I almost bought that blue one too when English Gent sold it but you've been faster ... congrats

Really nice build too ... that blue dial in the cartel case  ... WOW 

Only thing I would doo is rebrush a little the upper face of the lugs (as I would do on a Gen) and chamfer a little the side of the crown  that sits on the case (Rep crowns have almost always a flat "crown side" ... contrary to Gens)

BTW ... what did you do with the original case ?

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Buglicker

Thank you, only happed because I tried to age the dial in the original Explorer, went too far, and buggered it completely. Had a ‘moment of clarity’ between glasses of Tullibardine, and dropped the guts of the Airking in there instead... Genius...

Messed around with the case and bracelet, and at the moment I’m happy with the overpolished to death look - but it’s still work in progress. Will definitely look at the crown though, thanks.

Still have the original case somewhere in my growing box of leftovers that I’ll probably never use. If you want it, pm  me where you want it sending and I’ll drop it in the post.

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manodeoro

@Buglicker
Chamfering the crown is an easy modd if you have a dremel ... plus a careful and steady hand of course

Envoyé de mon Moto G (5) Plus en utilisant Tapatalk
 

Edited by manodeoro

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manodeoro
11 hours ago, Buglicker said:

Thank you, only happed because I tried to age the dial in the original Explorer, went too far, and buggered it completely. Had a ‘moment of clarity’ between glasses of Tullibardine, and dropped the guts of the Airking in there instead... Genius...

Messed around with the case and bracelet, and at the moment I’m happy with the overpolished to death look - but it’s still work in progress. Will definitely look at the crown though, thanks.

Still have the original case somewhere in my growing box of leftovers that I’ll probably never use. If you want it, pm  me where you want it sending and I’ll drop it in the post.

Just PMed you about that DHGate case.

I'm working on a custom  date-just pie-pan stella dial  and I already have some spare parts in my drawers ;

- flutted bezel and DJ crystal (leftovers from the  Valentine's DaYtejust I build for my wife)

- matching jubilee bracelet 

- movement (I will have to mod the datewheel)

So I really think that, with some patience and a bunch a elbow-grease I could finish with a nice 1601 ... possibly something like the one below :wub:

 

c8xQ2.jpg

Edited by manodeoro

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