Watch modification may seem like a big leap from the usual, blatant exterior admiration. Are you on the fence in immersing yourself to this hobby? Or have you decided to do it, but don’t know where to start?
In this article, we have compiled a list of tips as well as some local places to bring your parts and watch to modify.
Tips On Getting Started With Modification
1) Know what you’re getting into
I’ll start off by prefacing that just like watches, this watch modification hobby is also a sizeable rabbit-hole. If you are building a watch special to you, it may not always equally special to others, thus losing much of its value. In my opinion, just like watches, that economical loss can sometimes be worth it if it truly brings you joy.
The positive return of this rabbit-hole is its community, with people around the globe showing their mod off. Look up r/SeikoMods on Reddit or #Seikomods on Instagram, and you will find many like-minded budding enthusiast showcasing their proud works!
What’s great is that there are plenty of resources listed and inspiration you can use! However, once you have decided on a build, how are you going to make it come to life? Let’s look at some options for bringing that idea to life!
2) Know Your Resources
When building a watch yourself, you would first need to ensure you have access to suitable resources . We included a list of parts most watch mods consists of here, but you would also need to put them together with tools. Let’s look at some of them(This list is by no means exhaustive).
1) Springbar Tool/ Flat Screw
Without getting into the world of modification, one may already know its use, which is, to remove spring bars. If you have more than a strap, learning how to use it saves trips to shops who charge you with each removal.
A Flat Screwdriver also does the job, and I prefer using it because it tends to be more versatile. My personal experience is that flat screws works well for Seiko’s fat bars, for which I have trouble with a springbar tool.
2) Bezel Removal Tool
The most common modifications are swapping bezel inserts, with that you need this tool to remove the bezel. It usually takes form in a thin, blunt knife to pry the bezel from a specific position.
Usually, I pray that the bezel isn’t tight for a smooth removal due to my fair share of experience deeply scratching cases with this tool. A tip to prevent scratches would be to use electric-tape over your case, which is good practice for beginners too.
3) Case back Removal Tool
The one I have is a 3-Prong Caseback Tool that is suitable for modding most Seiko watches. For Dive watches, the casebacks are usually tight so it requires more force, so protect the back with a cloth!
4) Watch Holster
This tool secures the watch so removing case backs can be done with a solid foundation. I find that this does not work well with domed crystals or 4 o’clock crown particularly well.
5) Hand Press/ Hand Removal Tool
As the name suggests, these are tools for hand replacement. While it may sound easy, these tools are easily the hardest to master!
6) Crystal Press
Crystals are friction-fitted, so having a tool to press accurately is important. Like many other tools, hand presses can get serious, but in most cases, a portable and cheap one is good enough.
Dealing with small parts is a norm in watch modification, so for easier handling of hands, tweezers come in handy!
As mentioned, this list is just for basic watch modification, you can go with however few or many as you need for your mod! If you have any doubts on any tools within or outside this list, feel free to comment and we will try to help!
Places In Singapore for Watch Modification
A simpler and more straightforward process to getting your parts together would be to send it for professional assembly. Depending on the services you require, the cost can go anywhere from $5 to $50 dollar.
It is definitely worth it if you’re looking for convenience and if the end product matters more to you, you will be mitigating risks and would not need to purchase the earlier-mentioned tools, but lose the joy of assembling. If you’re looking to have it properly done, here are some places we recommend!
1) K2 Watch Company
When it comes to Seiko and Citizen Watch servicing in Singapore, Mr Goh often comes into mind. With decades of experience with servicing and stripping these timepieces, it is no surprise that he also has mastery in Seiko Modification. If you wish to enquire on his prices, I recommend listing down your desired changes and giving him a call!
The reputation of his craft spreads far and I often hear raving reviews from friends, no surprise though, he is truly someone with experience and knowledge. If you truly desire the best in the business, look him up at his store!
Address: 845, Geylang Road, Tanjong Katong Complex #03-K1 Singapore 400845
Tel: 6746 0270
I usually prefer doing the modification myself, but in one case, It needed more attention than usual, so I sent it to Alex. Alex from Namokies is another highly acclaimed modder in the field, and gained a following through his social channels aside from word-of-mouth. I sent in parts to be assembled, including date-wheel change, and was quoted $50SGD.
It was quite reassuring, knowing that the intricate parts will be assembled by a pro. If I were to make any mistake myself, the cost could even be higher than sending this in. In the end, it would be best to decide for your own!
You can find Nafokies at any of their Social channels likes Instagram and Facebook!
Our final local mod service provider will be Fazz, more commonly known as Smodder_sg. Just like the other gents featured earlier in the article, Fazz has a long history and a large customer base.
Experience is something often overlooked, but the level of precision required really makes paying that extra amount for your services worth it considering the chances these fragile parts could easily be ruined.
Also, if you have been following us on our Youtube Channel, you will notice we recently released two new modification tutorial demonstrated by Fazz himself!
Nomad Watch Works Tutorial Guides
If you’re choosing the DIY route, don’t be afraid to learn more, in these tutorial, we showcase a demonstration of how a professional usually do it with best practices and guide you through step-by-step.
Bezel and Bezel Insert Installation Tutorial
Bezel and Bezel Insert Installation Tutorial
Both video were done in collaboration with Komoworks and Smodder. Do check them out on Instagram at @komoworks and @smodder_sg. Let us know if you would like more of these videos to be made!
Final Thoughts On Watch Modification
Just like most other hobbies and activities, Modifying these watches can be a simply thrill or turn into a serious obsession. Ultimately, is the creative process and product something you would enjoy?
Personally, I had been in the watch modification hobby for quite some time, purchasing a bunch of tools and parts for many different modifications from simple changes to full-builds, while it was not economically worth it, it was fun and interesting being a creative for a moment.
To view a list of places to get your parts, visit our previous article: Intro to Seiko Mod: 5 Places To Get Seiko Mod Parts. Would you like to see a part 3? If so, what would you like us to cover?
What are your thoughts on modifications? Do share some experience and tips in the comments down below!