Advanced Seiko Modding: Should You Try Hydro Mods On Your Watch?
If you're a watch enthusiast, you've probably heard of oil-filled watches, like those from Sinn, Ressence, and U-Boat. These unique timepieces are filled with an electronically inert oil, such as 3M Fluorinert, creating a captivating and functional display.
But why go the extra mile and hydro mod your watch? The answer is simple: it offers numerous advantages. It significantly boosts water resistance, taking your watch from the standard 200m to new depths, often in the high 4 digits. Additionally, oil-filled watches eliminate glare underwater and create an astounding viewing experience, allowing you to see the dial and hands at normally impossible angles.
Source: The Watch Site
In this article, we'll explore hydro mods for Seiko watches, providing a step-by-step guide to help you transform your timepiece. However, it's essential to note that hydro modding is primarily recommended for quartz watches due to their torque capabilities, making them ideal for navigating the oil's viscosity. Plus, it's a cost-effective alternative, especially when compared to the price tags of commercially produced oil-filled watches. So, let's dive in and discover how you can elevate your Seiko watch with a hydro mod.
Hydro-Modded Watch Examples
Since the main function of hydromodding is to make watches much better for underwater use, you’ll see this feature mostly on diver watches, and here are the 3 most popular ones:
Sinn Uhren: Hydro
This is not just a watch, it’s a testament to Sinn’s commitment to precision and durability. The Hydro, with its oil-filled quartz movement, is a marvel of engineering that offers an impressive dive rating of 5000m. Its submarine steel case and tegimented bezel are a nod to its robustness and resilience. This watch is for those who appreciate fine craftsmanship and functionality under extreme conditions.
Ressence Type 3
Source: Professional Watches
The Ressence Type 3 is more than a timepiece, it’s a revolution in watch design. With its oil-filled case, it offers enhanced readability from almost any angle while still keeping the watch powered with a mechanical movement kept in a separate chamber. Its advanced engineering and striking appearance make it a standout choice for those who appreciate innovation and uniqueness.
Source: Wrist Enthusiast
The U-Boat Capsoil is a statement piece as well as a watch. It blends an oil-immersed movement and dial with a convex sapphire crystal of the highest quality. The idea behind Capsoil models is that a special oil is contained within the sapphire crystal, making the crystal appear to vanish and creating an extremely clear view of the dial. This offers the watch a cutting-edge, stylish appearance.
Step-by-Step Guide: Hydro Mod for Your Seiko Quartz Watch
Before we embark on this hydro modding journey for your Seiko quartz watch, remember that this process is designed primarily for quartz movements. They have the necessary torque to function effectively in an oil-filled environment, ensuring long-lasting performance. Now, let's get started:Step 1: Gather Your Materials
Before you begin, ensure you have the following materials on hand:
- A Seiko quartz watch that you want to mod.
- Silicon oil with a suitable viscosity, around 50 CST (cSt). This type of oil is electronically inert and won't damage the watch components.
- Watchmaking tools, including a case back removal tool, screwdriver, and a crystal press for sealing.
Step 2: Clean Your Watch Thoroughly
Start by cleaning your Seiko watch meticulously. Any dust or contaminants on the watch will be trapped inside once you fill it with oil, potentially affecting its clarity and performance. Use Rodico if you can to get rid of stubborn particles.
Step 3: Disassemble the Watch
Remove the watch movement, dial, hands, and crown. Remember to clean each component before reassembly.
Step 4: Prepare the Case
Place the empty watch case in a plastic container that can barely contain it. This is crucial to prevent using too much oil, as excess oil can lead to difficulties in sealing and may impact the watch's performance.
Step 5: Fill the Case with Silicon Oil
Gently pour the silicon oil into the case, ensuring that it covers the entire case without overfilling. The oil should be enough to submerge the movement when you reassemble the watch.
Step 6: Reassemble the Watch
Now, start reassembling your Seiko watch, but be mindful of the following:
Reattach the movement slowly, making sure it enters the oil at an angle. This will help release any trapped air bubbles as you immerse it.
Use a syringe with silicon oil to inject oil underneath the dial, especially near the edge, to force any remaining air bubbles out. This is a critical step for achieving that crystal-clear effect.
Step 7: Seal the Case
Once you've reassembled the watch components, it's time to seal the case. Be cautious during this step, as the oil inside will create pressure as you tighten the case back. It's essential to avoid over-tightening, which could potentially damage the watch. If your watch has a screw-down crown, ensure it's correctly positioned but not pressed in fully to account for the pressure.
Step 8: Test and Clean
After sealing the case, check that the watch is functioning correctly and there are no visible air bubbles. If any bubbles are trapped, you may need to reopen the case, release the bubble, and reseal it. Finally, clean the watch externally to remove any residual oil.
Keep in mind that your watch may potentially be running a tad slower now with the added resistance from the oil, however, it should not be running too slow that you'd need to reset the time every few days.
Step 9: Enjoy Your Hydro Modded Seiko Watch
Once your Seiko watch has been modded successfully, you can enjoy its stunning clarity and enhanced water resistance. It's a unique and cost-effective way to elevate your timepiece.
Remember that this process requires precision and patience, and it's crucial to practice on less valuable watches before attempting it on your prized Seiko timepiece. Hydro modding can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience for watch enthusiasts, offering a fresh perspective on timekeeping.
Seiko mods are not just a way to make your watch look cooler than it already was, or as a way to replace parts that have been beaten up by daily use; it also helps us add even more functionalities to our beloved watches so we can enjoy using them even more.
For diver watch enthusiasts and veteran modders, doing a hydro mod might be another way to test your expertise while earning additional bragging rights for your watch. Improving water resistance of a watch to several thousand meters while also making it more legible at deep angles make for a fun conversation starter and can be a mark that you really know your way around watches.
And if you're just beginning with mods, you can check out our modding guide directory for a collection of articles that will help you get started with the hobby.