I've made this tutorial for a french forum and as pictures and Seiko
lovers are the same world-wide ... I'm going to translate it the best I
can. So please be indulgent as some technical terms may be wrong ;)
The goal is to try to answer most questions that are raised when someone
plans to modify, or just disassemble his watch to change dial, hands or
just remove a dust or correct an unalign chapter ring. I won't go as
deep as disassemble the movement itself as my knowledge ends at the date
rings level ... I'll try to help one to avoid most traps I've been
facing when moding my own watches.
The watch I'm going to customize is the well known SKX007 from Seiko.
This is "THE" ISO Diver, 200m certified, screw down crown and back,etc,
... This is the model that comes in various flavors from Seiko itself
and that has one of the biggest aftermarket parts catalog. I'm a real
amateur, I can't compete with pros like Jake B or Yobokies, and that's
not my goal. So the way I use to mod can be criticized (of course) and
improved (for sure). During this tutorial I'm going to learn a Diver how
to fly ...
Before starting, it's better to have the movement fully discharged, so
hands should not move. Do not wear your watch for about 2 days and you
should be fine with that point. Here are most of the tools I'll use
during this customization. A case opener, hands remover and hands
setter, casespring tool, dust blower, movement holders, crystal press,
sharp knife, pliers, bench vice, ... and toothpicks !
Some "rodico paste" is as well useful to clean grease, oils, finger
prints on dial, hands, etc, ...
All these tools can be bought on ebay for less than $100 for all of
them. It won't be top quality tools but fair enough to mod/clean your
watches as an amateur.
Let's start ! First, remove the bracelet using a case-spring tool or a
knife or a thin screw-driver:
Now using a very thin and sharp blade, enter between the case and the
bezel and apply a torsion on the blade. The bezel should "pop-out" quite
Once the bezel dettached, remove the O-ring gasket inside it and the
click ring which is located between the bezel and the case:
Something very important from now: Pack up your things !
Before going further, unscrew the crown and set it to position "2". Then
move the hands to match noon (12:00 not 0:00). As it is dangerous for
the movement to manualy move date/time during the automatic date shift,
hands are placed at 12:00. Later on when setting back the new hands, it
will be at 12:00 too in order to avoid an automatic date shift at 3PM
... and to avoid to take everything apart again. Once done, set back the
crown in "0" position without screwing it.
Put the case, face down, in the vice, set your case opener to match the
size of the notches on the case back and unscrew it. If it's the first
time, it may be hard to unscrew it and easy to rip when forcing. So put
some tape on the back to avoid to scratch it.
Put the opened case, face down, on your bench:
With a toothpick, vertically and softly press on the stem/crown release
lever in the movement and gently pull off the stem/crown. It should come
Pack the stem/crown and use the toothpick to extract the movement from
the case. Take care of the hands on the opposite side, do not put the
movement face down once removed from the case.
Keep the movement away from dust and from falling, outside of the case
it becomes fragile:
Using the crystal press, push the crystal out of the case. Take care
when choosing the size of the die, if it is too large it will push on
the chapter ring instead of the crystal. Result is 50% chance to break
the chapter ring when pressing ! Note that if you've not planed to
replace the crystal or the chapter ring, this stage is not necessary.
During the guide I'll use the same crystal and ring but I wanted to take
pictures of all steps anyway. !
Here are the case, the crystal, the sealing gasket and the chapter ring
And now what ? Pack up !
With an old toothbrush and some soap, clean up all metallic parts, it
will remove dirt and old grease. Water and soap work for gaskets too,
gently wash them with your fingers:
Get back to the movement now and use a movement older. Cut a thin
plastic or paper sheet to make a dial protector. Slip it between the
dial and the hour hands:
Use the "presto" hands remover to free the hands. All 3 hands are
removed in a single step:
For the last step, use the toothpick to gently lift the dial to separate
it from the movement:
Here you are !
I'm going a bit "deeper" than expected now as I want the date to be
white on black instead of black on white for my mod. I have a spare "5"
movement which is the same 7S26 used in the SKX with different date
rings and a different plastic ring. This ring depends on the case so I
have to switch them in order to use the "5" movement in the SKX:
It's done ...
I now have a SKX movement with date printed white on black !
As I don't know if this movement is set to "noon" as it was the case for
the original one, I'm putting back the stem/crown in position "2" in
order to move the hands. I've put a piece of tape on the rotor to avoid
the movement to restart during the manipulations. Always lock the rotor
on the opposite side of the crown, this way the release lever is still
accessible and most fragile parts of the movement back are protected by
In order to set the new movement to "noon" I use my hand setter to put
back the original hour hand:
Using the crown, I check whenever the date changes and then I add 12
hours to it to match "noon" position. Then I use the rodico paste to
remove all my greasy fingerprints.
Time to set the new dial. There's 2 feet under the dial that have to
match the 2 holes in the plastic ring around the movement. Gently press
the dial to the movement when feet are aligned. There's one thing to
take care of if you order a custom dial, the crown position at 3.00 or
4:00. The SKX crown postion is 4:00 so order a dial that matches. If
not, you'll need to remove the feet and position the dial by another
mean or be OK to have at the end a watch with 12 at 1 o'clock ;)
Ok, the big part now. We start to set the hour hand. It's by far the
easiest one. Axis diameter is quite large and positioning is not an
issue. Set it at 12 o'clock using the hand setter. For all hands, you'll
need to feel when it is correctly set. Not enough pressing and it will
go lose, too much and it will break. My advice, find an old watch or buy
some "parts for repair" on ebay and train until you feel confident
Same player shoots again with the minute hand. This one is a little bit
more fragile, axis is smaller too but positioning is still not a real
issue. Once both are set, use the crown (still in position "2") to
validated that hands have enough space to rotate without touching each
Here comes the most critical part for me. We need to put this very
fragile, thin second hand ! Its axis is 0.2mm, positioning ... hazardous.
Not easy to feel if it is correctly set. My advice, use a small piece of
tape under the end of the hand in order to manipulate it easier attached
to your index by the tape.
Good job ! All 3 hands are in place, let's check once more if they're
not touching each other during rotation:
Last checks, date is aligned with the dial, it switches correctly, we're
fine then !
Ok, the original chapter ring looks cool with the new dial and hands, it
will be reused in the mod:
Use the rodico if you need to clean up the dial or the hands and store
the movement in a safe place. Regarding the chapter ring placement,
there's a notch at 12'o in the case. If your ring is original or plastic
aftermarket, a corresponding stud (correct translation?) should be
present. But with metallic and some plastic rings, no stud is present,
you'll need to use a very small point of glue or tape to fix the ring in
the correct position. If not, it may happened that the ring is turning
in its place ... not good at all !
Put the ring in place it the case, then the sealing gasket (no grease
Position the crystal on top of the assembly under the press:
Slowly press the crystal in the case. Take care of the gasket, if the
crystal moves, the gasket can fold and eventually break:
We now have two set of parts ready to be mounted together:
Remove the stem for the last time, remove as well the tape on the rotor:
Put silicon grease on the crown's gasket:
Put the movement in the case starting where the stem tube is located in
the case. Once in place, insert the stem/crown (whenever you insert or
remove the steam/crown you need to push on the release lever on the
movement, NEVER force it!). Then put back the case gasket with some
You just need to screw down the case-back manually, no need to use the
case opener tool yet.
As I want this mod to looks like an "aviator", let's use a nice silicon
strap with white stitching with a clasp. This way it'll still be
compliant with water activities.
Now I can firmly screw the case back:
Hmm ... missing something ... Oh yeah, the bezel !
Some grease on the bezel o'ring:
Little surprise for the end, a nice machined bezel to replace the "too
much diver" original one ! Here we go ! Hard to believe it's the same
watch at some point ...
Let's call it SKY007 now ;)
selling me is watch
For minute and hour hands
Jake B (10 Watches):
For "5" movement, dial and second hand
Dave Murphy (PMWF):
For his great machined bezel
Thanks for reading :)