Watch Modding: When to DIY and When to Get Professional Help
Modding a watch is a great way to create something truly unique and personalized.
Watch modding is the practice of changing a watch using different parts that didn’t come as a part of the watch originally. Seiko mods allow you to customize your favorite Seiko watch according to your taste and preference, so you can use the type of dial, straps and crystals you love.
Source: @watchfindr on IG
When it comes to a Seiko mod, there are loads of watch mod parts to choose from. While the industry was hot on SKX007 Parts for many years, today, the variations of Seiko-compatible parts are almost endless.
Before getting started modifying a watch, there are a few things to consider. When you are modding a Seiko watch, sometimes you need someone else to help - and other times you can do the work yourself. Let’s look at all the watch modding options you have!
Watch Mods That You Can Easily Do at Home
Aftermarket watch parts are very easy to work with, and there are loads of parts for you to use with Seiko mods. You can give your old Seiko a brand-new look with a few changes, and use it for more years to come.
Seiko SKX-style watches are popular because of their affordable price and amazing value. The SKX007 in particular, has been a crowd favorite ever since its release, and what’s more, each part can be modded - from the hands, to the movement and even the case.
Source: @chronos.mod on IG
In addition to the super popular SKX007 with a black dial and bezel, there’s the smaller version, called the SKX013, at 38mm. The OEM watch may have varying tolerances, but watch mod suppliers have already learned how to make the best fit so you are now able to do SKX013 mods without much hassle.
Here we have some easy SKX mods that are totally DIY depending on your level of experience, and will give your watch a very new look. Changing the strap is the simplest mod you can make, but it has a lot of visual impact. You may want to consider replacing the strap with a new material like rubber, silicone, or leather.
Also, you can switch the bezel inserts to make a watch look totally new with a simple and subtle change. By simply switching out the bezel insert, you can make your mod look more like an Omega Seamaster while a Sub-bezel makes it become more like a Submariner homage.
On the other hand, using ceramic bezel inserts can help to fade-proof your watch, while sapphire bezels are almost scratch-proof.
If you want a DIY mod that requires more skill, here are a few ideas for you.
People often want to mod the SKX’s crystal and upgrade it. Sapphire crystals are the watch industry’s gold standard thanks to their durability and matched-by-few clarity. These ethical Sapphire crystals are lab-grown, and will last for a long time.
Source: @finemods on IG
A lot of SKX owners like to upgrade their cases, and totally change the look of a watch.
You can go for different metal tones, different shapes, and even stronger materials. We offer a SKX007-style case in titanium, which is just as strong as steel, much lighter, and hypoallergenic!
There are various mods for every skill level, but there are also some mods that are better left to the pros. Let’s learn more!
Watch Mods That May Need Professional Help
Engraving is a popular way to personalize a watch and make it unique to the wearer. While some watch enthusiasts may be tempted to take on the task of engraving themselves, it's generally better to leave this job to the professionals.
Source: @gournetusa on IG
Engraving requires precision and skill, as well as specialized equipment, which can be expensive and challenging to use correctly. If not done properly, engraving can damage the watch's case or movement, which can significantly reduce its value or even render it unusable.
Additionally, professional engravers have years of experience and are trained to work with a variety of materials and designs. They can also provide advice on the best placement and style of engraving that complements the watch's design and enhances its value.
Ultimately, while DIY engraving may seem like a cost-effective and fun project, it's important to consider the potential risks and benefits and weigh them against the expertise and experience of a professional engraver.
Water Resistance Testing
Water is one of watches’ worst enemies, so they need to be well maintained to be water resistant. Normally, a watch is vulnerable to water in three main places – the crown, caseback, and crystal. While modding these three pieces should be easy enough that they’ll probably be safe for desk divers, you might want to conduct a proper water resistance test if you plan on actually bringing them to the watery depths.
If you don’t want to mess up your watch, you can contact skilled modders to make sure the water resistance work is done right. As with engraving, this process requires niche equipment and some training, and may be best left to the pros.
Watch Movement Oiling
Lubrication will help the moving parts in a watch function with less friction and extend their lifespan. However, you’ll need to clean your watch before lubricating it. The cleaning process is to eliminate trapped dirt as well as to prevent the new oil from spreading around the movement.
We suggest that you should study the manufacturer’s documents for proper timepiece maintenance or just leave a professional to help you. Also, a NH35/6 movement is inexpensive, so it could make more sense to just swap an old one out for a new one.
If it’s a much more complicated calibre though, or one that has already been discontinued (perhaps you have a vintage watch in your hands), there may be no choice but to service and oil the calibre that you have. With so many tiny and fragile parts comprising a watch movement, it will be an intimidating challenge for a newbie to do. For this, it is best to bring it to a certified watch repair shop to do the necessary repairs.
The Community is Here to Help
There is a huge online community of Seiko enthusiasts who are sharing ideas, and innovative mods. If you want to learn more about Seiko mods, there are loads of people here to help. While naturally, Seiko modding will not be easy enough for everyone, there are still changes that you can bring to a watch with your own hands while leaving the more difficult aspects to professional watch modders.
Ready for your DIY watch mods? Check out our huge catalog of aftermarket modding parts, including parts for the SKX007, SKX013, SRP Turtle, Seiko 5 SRPE, and more! You can also build your own watch from scratch with our watchmaking kits that contain all the parts and tools for a full build.