Unique vintage dive watch - is this our best mod yet?

Vintage Bronze Dive Watch on its side

Just look at that dive case! How could anybody fail to create a beautiful watch with that as the starting point. When I found it, I knew that I had to buy it. However, I had no idea at the time what I wanted to do with the case, as it was so distinctly different to every other mod part that I had seen up to this point, especially at this price point.

With the vintage broken bronze effect, I determined that I wanted to emulate the look of a classic aged dive watch. I had to ensure the focus was always going to be on the case and therefore I wanted a dial that would not overwhelm it. Therefore, I decided upon a simple black dial and a classic set of mercedes hands. I have said it before that the inspiration for my watch mods can come from anywhere, and here it 100% started with the case.

Once I had the watch dial and hands identified to complement the case, that left me with a decision to make about the strap. With the bronze effect, I decided that it would either have to be a leather strap or potentially a NATO but with the vintage look in mind, this tan suede strap was the ideal match.

All I needed to do then was build the watch. For some reason this time around, that was so much easier said than done. Read on to find out why...


Case: NH35 Yacht Style Broken Bronze Case (AliExpress) - £47

Movement: NH35 movement (AliExpress) - £28

Dial: NH35 COMEX Green Luminous Dial (AliExpress) - £8

Hands: Green Luminous Watch Hands (AliExpress) - £8

Strap: Handmade Suede Leather Band (AliExpress) - £8

How did the build go?

Ok, so I am not going to tell you that every build goes perfectly, when sometimes it doesn't, and you know what, this was probably one of my worst attempts to date! I have no idea if it was overconfidence or lethargy in the build process or me just wanting to get it finished quickly (maybe excitement about the end result), but wow - first time around I did a pretty terrible job!

There really wasn't any reason why this build should have been any more problematic, but everything that could have gone wrong with the installation of the hands first time around, did. I had hands layered over one another, stopping them from smoothly rotating; I had poor alignment to midnight at the point of date change. It was just a bit of a mess!

What I now appreciate is that the lighting in the room you're working in is extremely important. When you are building your watch, make sure you are in a well lit environment. The installation of the hands is a very intricate process and respect has to be given to the process. Also, take your time and be gentle when attaching your watch hands!

After recognising that I couldn't manipulate the hands successfully after their first, slightly crude, attachment to the movement, I realised my only option would be to remove the hands completely and start again.

Fortunately, second time around, I took my lessons learnt, ensured that I could see what I was doing much better, took my time, and managed to get the hands to line up perfectly.

"Your best to date" - this is one of a number of comments I have received about this watch from followers on Instagram and I am absolutely delighted with the end result. However, take it from me that the build process doesn't always go to plan. It certainly didn't here.

But don't worry; that is all part of the process. The installation of the hands is one of the hardest, if not the hardest parts of watch building and I wouldn't be surprised if most people experience something similar to what I went through at one time or another.

As they say here in the UK - "Keep Calm and Carry On"!


Vintage Seiko Bronze Dive Watch case and crown
Vintage Seiko Bronze Dive Watch close up



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