Watch keeping sounds very natural to some people because of their love for all things timepieces. People who like to collect watches can come from anywhere, some of them can afford to add tonnes of new watches to their collections. They can get every colour, every size and every price range for that matter because money isn’t an issue for some.
However, some may go into watch modding where you may turn your old watch into a new look. This is where modding comes into play. You don’t have to buy a new watch when you can turn your old one into a new one! In this article, we are going to see how one can mod their watch by changing something as simple as a dial.
Many people often shy away from it because it sounds complicated, however, the opposite is true. Modding cannot be any easier. Don’t believe it? Well see these 7 steps for yourselves and then decide!
How To Change A Watch Dial
The process is very simple and precise, but to ensure that you understand it very clearly, it has been broken down into a few steps. As long as you follow this tutorial, you can change any dial anytime. Let’s start!
First and foremost, you are going to need a few tools to start the process. You’ll need:
- Watch Hand Press Tool
- Hands Removal Tool
- Caseback tool
- Dust Removal Tool
- Toothpick / Pin / Screwdriver
- Finger Gloves (To prevent fingerprints)
Unscrew the caseback with a caseback tool. Once it is removed, use a toothpick or pin and gently apply pressure on the dot of the movement (Seiko) or for some other movement use a screwdriver to unscrew a pin and pull the crown out.
When the crown is out, you may remove the movement from the case.
Using the hand removal tool, carefully remove the current hands of the watch from the dial. Use a plastic on top of it to prevent any scratches on the hands and dial.
Once all three hands have been removed, you now have to move your watch’s current dial using the case removal tool. The dial can be removed by taking a small screwdriver and poking it into the tiny grooves on the sides of the dial. Upon some lifting action, the dial should come off easily. Sounds easy so far, right? Yes indeed.
2. Cut The Dial Feet Off New Dial
The dial that you want to be on your watch has to be cut down a little bit. You will see four “feet” at the back side of it; they will be of two different types.
Two of the feet will be for 3pm crown positions and the other two are for 4pm crown positions. Depending on the case of your watch, cut down the two feet which don’t match the measurement.
This means that if you have a 4pm case, you won’t need the 3pm crown feet and vice versa. So you cut those down. Once cut, file those feet down so it is smooth and flat at those points.
3. Fit Dial On Movement
Now that your new dial is all prepped, adjust it onto the movement. Press it down a little bit using your hands according to the pinhole of the movement so that it stays put and doesn’t cause you trouble going forward.
4. Adjust The Date
Now, wind the movement around until you see the date change by one day; if the watch currently reads '5', keep on winding it until it gives you a '6'. This would be an indication of the time being 12am. This step is important because it ensures the maximum accuracy of the time shown.
5. Install The Hands
Once done, make sure to put the hour hand on and align it at 12pm indices completely straight and use a watch hand press tool to press it in nice and easy. Just to be sure it is well aligned, wind the hand around a little to see it move.
When the hour hand is perfectly adjusted, move on to the minute hand of the watch. Follow the same procedure. Then, at last, comes the “seconds” hand of the watch. Once again, follow the same mechanism and voila! Your watch now has hands! For the “seconds” hand, do make sure that it fits perfectly to the pin of the movement.
6. Dust It Off
Just to make sure the new dial does not hold on to any dust particles, use the dust removal tool and give it a few puffs to get rid of it all.
7. Put The Dial In The Case
This is the last part of the dial modding journey. Just to make sure the new dial does not hold on to any dust particles, use the dust tool and give it a few puffs to get rid of it all. All that is left to do is to put the case back onto the dial. Be careful to align the 12 mark of the dial to that of the case so it’s all aligned perfectly. Make sure to put the crown back inside and again give it a few whirls just to see that the timepiece works perfectly. Lastly, screw back the caseback tightly and you’re done!
Modding dials or any other changes can be easily done using Seiko timepieces. The Seiko SRPD and the Seiko SKX007 are very popular models which are frequently known to be modded. So if you want to get into the practice, do check Seiko out to find cool timepieces. You may also check out our KOMO Lab for ready build watches that are done by our team!
Now that you have read your way through the article, you can personally vouch for the modding community that changing a dial is textbook. The tools that are needed are very easily available everywhere and aren’t expensive at all to buy.
The process itself is very precise and simple. All it needs is a little bit of practice and dedication. You don’t have to be an expert or someone with years of experience of handling watches to change a dial. Think of it like changing your car’s tire; it seems a bit daunting when you do it for the first time, but once you try it out, you feel like you have always done it.
So the next time you want to surprise someone with a watch upgrade, or you simply want to change your timepieces, you now know how to do it. No need to get it done professionally. Good luck!