You Love Watches. Want to Build A Personalized One?
You’re reading this because you love watches. You might be fascinated by their history, and even more intrigued by the engineering and design that goes into making one. Or you can be someone who is just starting to know about watches and what they can offer, aside from telling you the time. Whichever one you are, you believe that watches, especially the mechanical kind, are here to stay despite the conveniences and modernities of a smart watch.
Source: Grand Seiko
Sure, a watch should tell the time, that is its main purpose. But with the right tools and skills, you can turn a watch into something better than what it is - it can be an icebreaker and conversation starter. It can be an indispensable tool for use in an unfamiliar territory. It can be a wonderful gift to a friend and loved one. Or, it can be a representation of yourself.
That is the premise behind watch modification, or “watch modding.” It is swapping out the parts of a watch to one's exact specifications and preferences, whether it’s for functional or for aesthetic purposes. With modding, you can fashion a watch to your own image. You can even go one step further and not just swap out parts one by one. You can build a complete mechanical watch from scratch!
Why Build Your Own Watch
You may be familiar with the term “built not bought” which is a common term in many other modding communities. In the car scene, or with the gaming PC crowd, as a few examples, the idea that building your own instead of just getting one pre-built offers more value, plus it also gives a sense of fulfillment. That great, giddy feeling of having accomplished something. It feels even better when everything works out fine on just the first try!
Will it explode? Source: Tom's Hardware
And yes, there’s already thousands of available watches out there that look good and are ready to wear out of the box, but it lacks the immersion and sentimental value that a hand-made watch would give. A food analogy: a takeout is convenient, but a home-cooked meal is better for the mind and body.
Building your own personalized watch is a relaxing, learning experience, where you can immerse yourself fully in the craft and the culture. Being the first to wind the calibre/movement, fitting the dial and hands on it, and encasing everything while being mindful of dust or dirt. It’s a sure way to get your mind off a busy life and unwind, while creating something uniquely yours. In your own comfortable space, you get to bring to life a mechanical wonder.
Entering the Hobby as a Beginner
Watch modding as a hobby was not so simple to get into back in its early days. But some good news for you, this niche has been growing and evolving for a few years already, and getting into it is easier now more than ever. There are plenty of reliable suppliers offering premium parts, you are spoiled for choice in terms of part designs, and the community is global.
Source: Google Trends
Still, it can seem intimidating for someone who has only begun considering trying it for themselves. After all, you’re dealing with tiny, fragile parts and very niche-specific tools. A wristwatch can be composed of a dozen different parts, and each part will require a particular tool for the assembly. If you have not done proper research, you can get stuck with an incomplete or non-working watch. Without proper guidance, it may all seem like rocket science.
One way to cut through all the confusion is getting a watchmaking kit. It is essentially a package of tools and parts needed to build a complete (or almost complete) watch. With a kit, you don’t have to worry whether “this part is compatible with this part,” and more importantly, no more guessing if the final product will look good.
Great! So there are kits that make it easier for people to get into watch modding. Where can you find one? You need not look further my friend.
namokiMODS’s Watchmaking Kit
Here’s a watchmaking kit that will cut the stress out of the modding experience. We made it so that someone with no prior experience at watch repair, watchmaking or watch modding can instantly jump in and build a complete watch. All the necessary tools and parts for the assembly are in this kit which at the end of an hour, give or take, will reward you with a shiny new wristwatch and, hopefully, the rush for a newfound hobby.
We think we struck a balance for the challenge we want to give you. The sapphire crystal has already been pressed into the case so you won’t need to break crystal gaskets or spend a few extra hours trying to perfectly seat the crystal on your first foray into building a watch. Aside from this though, you get to experience the rest of the process. Prepare to get puzzled, relieved, impressed at yourself, and back again while putting together your first personally built watch.
What sets us apart from most marketplace watchmaking kits is the inclusion of all the parts you’ll need to make a full watch, making it perfect for the complete novice. While there are plenty of kits already available on Amazon, Ebay or Aliexpress, they’ll still leave you searching for a checklist’s worth of parts, and this can be a headache for beginners.
With our kit, you will also get all the components needed for a complete watch which are all cross compatible with parts that are available on our store. We have literally hundreds (with more coming almost every month) of watch modding parts which we make sure have perfect fitment with each other, so when the time comes and you want to update the look of your build, you know where to get parts that will work well with your watch.
Now let’s look at the watch designs you can choose from.
The 7 Watches You Can Build
It’s crystal clear what the inspiration is for this kit. The Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical is an amazing tool watch that harkens back to the reliable military watches of the 60’s. If you’re a fan of mil-spec watches, this will be right up your alley.
In this kit is our Khaki Field dial in black, with 24 hour markers in a highly legible composition just as in the original. It even features cream-colored lume for that vintage look. The dial is matched by the hands, and finishing the package is an olive green NATO strap.
From a watch for the outdoors, we now go to a semi-formal build that would look great for daily wear and would also fit in in an office setting. The watch case in this kit is a 38mm dress watch case with a subtle pilot bezel and a 3 o’clock crown configuration. The dial is inspired by the Rolex Explorer, featuring silver lumed hour markers and short minute markers at the edges.
Also in this bundle is a Mercedes-style handset, while the strap is a brown leather to increase the classiness by a notch. It’s an all-rounder build that would be perfect for your first time with watch building.
Stealth mods are watches that have an overall dark theme. Watches look very clean and classy in black, and this kit will help you make your first mod with a murdered out look.
The case is inspired by a WWII era military watch, with a flat brushed bezel and a short crown. The dial has a minimalist and geometric design which our modfam calls the “Squid Game” dial for its circle, triangle, and rectangle markers. The skeletonized hands (middle part is hollow) add a bit of whimsy to the build, while the black waffle rubber strap adds some pattern to the watch.
This kit makes for another stealthy watch, but keeping to the dark aesthetic more than the previous kit. This one is almost all-black all around if not for the inscriptions on the dial. This is sure to give you some goth vibes.
The same black mil-spec case is used in this kit, but it is now paired with a diver style dial with black lumed markers. Black lume? How does that even glow? Like the Seiko lume that we are used to, it still glows green in the dark and yet this blend will appear black instead of dirty white or cream in the light. The glow is a little weaker than normal, which is a compromise if you’re gunning for the all-black look. The same lume is seen on the hands, and the package is again rounded off with a black waffle rubber strap.
This kit is so-called for the intricately patterned dial inspired by the popular Japanese art, “The Great Wave.” This piece of art has become part of Japanese culture, and one that you can expect to come up in conversation when talking about Seiko watches.
Pairing with this dial are Grand Seiko style hands which are like sharp, pointed, elegant blades. The seconds hand is a bright red that will pop out from the white dial, adding some flavor to the build. A brown leather strap goes in the package to complete the dressy look.
Here’s another kit headlined by the dial, this time featuring one of our most popular patterned dials. Our Black Sakura Dial which is inspired by the Seiko SRPD Zimbe patterns were originally conceived as the scales of the whale shark after which the watch was named. But this pattern has been reinterpreted as the leaves of the Sakura tree which is another Japan icon, much like The Great Wave.
The handset in the kit is the 62MAS style with a classic diver look, which goes incredibly well with the dressy dial. The case is a brushed stainless steel and so is the caseback, balancing out the flashiness of the dial. A black leather strap goes in this kit.
Pilot watches are versatile in their functionality and design compatibility, but this Spork Pilot kit is aiming for an unmistakable look, which is a no-nonsense, utilitarian tool watch.
The Seiko Spork-inspired dial features huge numbers on the 3, 6, 9 and 12 markers, with legible black on white bars for the rest. Approximately 60-70% of each entire hand in the pilot handset is fully lumed. This configuration makes this a very easy-to-read watch at night. The case is just as functionality-focused, with no frills added. The black leather strap complements the look of the face quite nicely.
You understand that a watch is not just a tool to tell you the time, but a message conveyed via tiny springs and gears. All watches are different, from the whimsical to the utilitarian, to the plastic and the diamond-encrusted. Every kind is welcome to your collection. Now, instead of just getting a new watch to add to your horology vault, you can build one with your own hands.
A watch with instant sentimental value? You will get it once you’ve completed your first build. It will be an accomplishment that you will want to share with friends, family, and the like-minded watch community. You might be waiting for the perfect way to enter this hobby, well, now the wait is over. Get your watchmaking kit now and start modding!