Seiko Modding on a Budget: Build Your Watch Without Breaking the Bank
As a growing subculture, watch modders have lots of online forums and a growing number of companies offering an array of affordable watch mod parts. We should know!
The great thing about modding is that you can do almost anything you want. If you want to change just a few aspects of your Seiko watch, it is easy to find the parts to do them. From new dials to bezel inserts, Seiko modding allows you to create great designs that are perfect for you.
Source: @socalwatchreviews on IG
However, like modding cars or computers or basically anything that can be modified, the more you mod, the more you will spend.
If your pockets aren’t that deep, or you’re simply looking to dip a toe into the world of watch modding, keep reading to find out how you can build your own watch without breaking the bank.
Importance of Modding on A Budget
Watches are essential everyday tools, but they can sometimes be a luxury. You need to maintain your finances, and that doesn't mean having an amazing watch collection. The great thing about Seiko mods is that you can buy parts over time, and make it a very affordable hobby.
Source: Deposit Photo
In addition to spreading out the purchase of watch parts over time, you can also opt to buy cheap watch modding parts. Keep in mind that you get what you pay for, and cheap seiko parts may not always have the correct tolerances.
Regardless of the parts you choose, there are some great reasons to mod Seiko watches, and get great watches for your collection in the process:
Sustainability for the environment: if you fancy old watches, Seiko mods are a form of recycling. Instead of having to buy whole new watches, you can refurbish an old one and keep using it. Doing cheap mods encourages more people to reuse parts and watches and keep them out of the landfill.
Sustainability for the modder: If you can mod on a budget, that means you can buy more parts and continue with the hobby longer than when you blast all your budget on a premium build. Of course, if you are a professional modder, the pedigree of the parts will be chosen by the client.
Creativity: How can you maximize your budget to transform a watch? Be creative and resourceful, and get the most out of your watch modding budget. There are so many watch part combinations you can do that there will always be alternative parts if the one you like is too rare and pricey, or out of stock.
Thriving Community: Just like with any other hobby, budget Seiko modders are a community within a community . There is a smaller set of modders that only prefers to use budget parts and still come out with a nice timepiece.
Tips for Saving While Modding
When planning to mod long-term, buy the highest quality tools possible. Why? They last a long time if you treat them well. When you’re first starting out, think about buying a kit of tools, and see if you want to stick with the hobby. If you’re thinking of turning it into a side hustle, then all the more reason to invest in good tools!
Aside from getting high quality tools, consider second-hand mod parts. You can visit your local watch repair shop for cheap spare parts that came from unsalvageable broken watches.
Otherwise, you can consider getting from online marketplaces like eBay, but always check reviews to make sure you are not getting scammed out of your money. There are also subreddits and individual resellers with a good reputation on IG that you can go to for recycled but decent condition parts. One other platform you can source second hand mod parts from, though smaller, is our Discord server as we have a buy and sell channel where users sometimes also post their spare parts.
If you’re shopping from a store like namokiMODS, you can consider getting everything you need from that store so you don’t spend multiple times for shipping fees. If you reach a certain order amount, you may also benefit from promotions and shave some $$$ off your order. We also offer watchmaking kits that already have the tools and parts you need for a full build, as well as case bundles that may already include the crown, caseback, and crystal so you need to buy fewer additional parts.
Source: Fifth Wrist
Another tip that can help you get into modding economically, you can start with a cheap watch like the SNK809 or an SKX013 before you try modding anything more expensive, and also start with small changes until you are ready to try out the more challenging mods.
Mods You Can Do On A Budget
- Bezel swap: You can replace a bezel that lacks pop with a new one by just using a bezel remover blade and a crystal press to put the bezel back on the watch. A simple bezel/insert swap makes a big difference visually and can be all you need for a “new watch” feel.
- Dial swap: Even better than a bezel swap, although a bit more technical as the movement needs to be taken out of the case to switch out the dial. You’re going to need a caseback remover and hand remover tools for this procedure. And take note, while replacing the dial is easy, reinstalling the hands is a different matter altogether!
Source: @socalwatchreviews on IG
- Strap swap: This is the absolute easiest and cheapest option. Even someone with zero experience can intuitively proceed with a strap change. If you have enough straps or bracelets, you can even change the look of your watch every day of the week.
- Crystal swap: Very subtle change to an outside observer but if you check your watch often, the much better clarity of the watch face will surely be appreciated. We’ve heard a lot of feedback about how much clearer and nicer the watch looks with a sapphire instead of Hardlex crystal, and it is one of our recommended watch upgrades.
Should You Just Stick to Cheap Parts?
Source: @finemods on IG
While there is a clear benefit to using more affordable options for modding, is there any reason at all to try the higher shelf parts? If your budget is more flexible, here’s what you can get with the premium mod parts selection:
- Premium parts will have tighter tolerances which can lead to a more precise and reliable watch. Smoother bezel action, better water resistance, less wear and tear - you can get all these benefits with higher quality mod parts. Fitment also becomes a non-issue. When you’re buying parts from a store like namokiMODS, you can be sure that parts will fit each other.
- The finish is better polished making them more visually appealing especially on closer inspection. While it is not on the level of luxury watches, the look and feel of premium parts are generally described as better than generic parts.
- Premium parts also usually come with premium after-sales service. It provides peace of mind as it is usually faster and easier to resolve issues that you may encounter with your parts.
Ultimately, the decision to use premium or cheap parts will depend on the individual's priorities and budget.
Start Modding on a Budget
Seiko mods on a budget are a great way to get into the world of watch modding.
There are so many SKX007 Parts on the market, you can make just about any kind of watch you can think of. Take a look at our catalog, and check out all the Watch spare parts we have for the modding community.
With OEM Seiko spare parts, you can make a modded watch that is still similar to OEM, or you can swap parts out to upgrade a watch. With Seiko mods, almost anything is possible.