This is a record of my Seiko 7A28 dial restoration.
I decided I would like to replace the dial of my trusty Seiko that I have owned since 1990. After a little research I quickly realised my watch is the first Quartz Chronograph, the model that really dealt a heavyweight punch to the 'Great Quartz Crisis' in the early 1980s. My particular watch is dated December 1982 but the model was officially released in 1983. The Quartz movement is very reliable and accurate, and unusually, it is serviceable. There are many articles about this Seiko 7A28 movement on the internet because it has a fascinating story and quite a passionate following. Seiko really went to town on the design and manufacture of the watch (shame they didn't do the same on the pressed bracelet!)
As you can see in the photo's my dial has staining caused by water damage in turn caused by glorious hot summers in Cornwall. After finding out replacement dials are super-rare I decided to look into restoration. As an illustrator/designer I thought I would produce a print file for the dial, as accurate as possible.
While researching this I found out the watch was a James Bond watch, worn in A View To A Kill by Roger Moore! Giugaro designed variations were worn by Sigorney Weaver and the Bishop character in one of the most iconic films of the eighties, Alien, and a re-release by Seiko a few years back proved popular if a little uninspiring.
This is my work on the print file:
My dial, it should be a bright icey white with a very slight blue/grey tint.
Preliminary markers sketch
Introduction of sub-dials and details for a test illustration.
Adding in the dial text. Work is needed on the logo.
Modifying the position of the left sub-dial script.
First test print from the first exposure plate.
Checking registration detail (same movement but different dial style, 703L not 702L).
Second test print.
Modifying the Chronograph script.
A mock up of the dial as a vector illustration as a guide.
The project has taken a new turn...
I came back to the restoration after being distracted by another project, a VW GTI MK2.
The dial has become quite a lot more discoloured.
After talking to an ex-Bond Street horologist friend, I decided to bite the bullet and get started on the respray and print of the dial, so first to the cleaning...
I used an ammonia cleaning fluid and very fine paintbrush, and the discolouring just came off, leaving the dial behind. It is by no means immaculate, but it is in good condition...
The dial has cleaned up really well, so I decided to rebuild it back up, it has been wearable like this.
I also tried a few variations as I was working on the dial, to create a 'franken'...
New update for 2020, I have ordered a New Old Stock original Seiko white dial, and a replacement crystal as the glass was quite badly scratched and any sanding and polishing wasn't giving good results, here's the old crystal...
The old crystal fractured into many pieces as I removed it, so installing the new one was a little stressful....
Success! The crystal looks amazing, it has a bevel edge like the original. Just waiting now for the new dial to install....