Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Matt's Molnija 3602 pocket watch B'day present

I've got a mate's birthday coming up, and he's shown interest in some of my pocket watches previously. After a quick eBay search, mountains of reasonably priced Molnijas can be found. This is a 3602 with a classic face in good condition. Whilst most sellers might describe their Molies in working or running order, they may hedge their comments by saying they only tested it for a moment or that they're not watchmakers, etc... The end result is that you are buying hoping that the watch is in working order. The good news is, if the watch arrives is a slightly dirty/ poor condition, then they are easy to clean and fix, and parts are easily available. I've covered in more detailed posts how to service the Molnija 3602, so with this post I'll just show you some of the things I'm doing to bring this up to a gifting standard.

The first problem with this watch is the case back - it doesn't want to stay attached to the case and keeps popping off.. I tried to get a photo of the deformed edge in the next photo, but I clearly don't have a high enough quality camera:

 As I mentioned before, parts for the Molnija 3602 are everywhere making it a great watch to learn on (you can buy a handful of movements to practice with from eBay, replacing pieces as they're inevitably lost or broken). I've got a nice stock of replacement parts and after a short search found a better condition case back that fits nice and snugly onto the case:

But to find out what condition the movement is in, first it hand to come out of that case:

I've got a new set of hands removers which are vastly superior to my old set. With a makeshift dial protector, the hands are safely decoupled from the dial.


I'm really happy with the condition of this Molnija dial, it's by far the best I've got kicking around my parts draws..

Until I turned it over.. I hate it when fools glue down dials, and this particular fool used some type of resin that I couldn't dissolve, so I took the painstaking prying method to free it from the obverse of the movement. Since this dial still has it's other foot, it (arguably) doesn't really need to be glued down. Whilst it will still move around slightly, the crystal bezel does a great job of holding the dial where it should be in the Molnija.

 Tear down complete:

The first rinse of the parts in Shellite/Naptha/Benzine shows just how much filth was clogging up the watch. The ultrasonic bath to follow should give it the thorough clean it desperately needs.

Cleaned, oil, reassembled. I'll keep and eye on this watch for the next few days & track it's accuracy. In the time it's taken me to download these photos and type up this post, it's accurate to the second - so I can envision a nice accurate future for this gift.