It is currently 13 Jul 2020, 16:54


So I thought to play Russian Roulette...

Present your latest purchases, talk about pro + cons or write an interesting review!
  • Author
  • Message
Offline

vpn

Wizard

Wizard

  • Posts: 376
  • Joined: 27 May 2012, 10:26
  • Location: Italy

So I thought to play Russian Roulette...

Post15 Aug 2016, 18:16

...And this is what I got. I hope to come out alive.

Image

I just catched an old, knackered and untested Sinclair Black Watch. The seller found two old batteries inside, which apparently haven't leaked. So, unless it's affected by the dreaded problems that made this watch a legend, it might work. Hopefully. Maybe. Who knows. Otherwise, it'll be a future SASM'ing subject. The battery cap seems to have the tip a bit bent upwards, I hope I can gently push it back in place.

Image

Searching around the web, I've read that getting a working Black Watch is an authentic miracle, due to the reliability problems that affected its fragile electronic module. And due to my total lack of technical skills (including soldering) a non working speciman would keep me stumped. But I wanted to pull the trigger anyway, hoping to not regret that. Compared to the other specimen I found while searching on the internet, this is the first one that says "Patent Applied For" on the caseback. Could that make it an early model? The seller is also selling the box separately, and the fact it's a preassembled Black Watch, rather than the kit version, makes me feel a bit more optimistic.

Image

Image

Hopefully, since it seems the old batteries haven't leaked, it might fire up with fresh ones. Now I just have to wait for its arrival and pray to the nearest icon of Sir Clive to grant me the wish to become the owner of a working Black Watch.
Getting this watch is like playing Russian Roulette, you never know if you'll come out alive or if it will kill you.

Well, I will keep my fingers crossed and I hope to be lucky... :o
Image Image
Offline
User avatar

richard_uk

Guru

Guru

  • Posts: 1058
  • Joined: 12 Jul 2004, 16:18

Re: So I thought to play Russian Roulette...

Post15 Aug 2016, 20:11

Smart enough to sell the box seperatly, but didn't try batteries in the watch, I don't fancy your chances to be honest, but good luck!
Offline

vpn

Wizard

Wizard

  • Posts: 376
  • Joined: 27 May 2012, 10:26
  • Location: Italy

Re: So I thought to play Russian Roulette...

Post15 Aug 2016, 22:06

richard_uk wrote:Smart enough to sell the box seperatly, but didn't try batteries in the watch, I don't fancy your chances to be honest, but good luck!


Thank you Richard, I will hold my breath until the arrival... What makes me optimistic is the fact that the old batteries haven't leaked. Since they have been kept into the watch, maybe it was working the last time it was stored.

I also hope the plastic of the battery cover is not brittle enough to break when I will have to bend the clip back to flat (it seems it's been pried with a screwdriver to open it, but what's the correct way to open a Black Watch battery cover?).
Image Image
Offline

Adam

Techno Mage

Techno Mage

  • Posts: 596
  • Joined: 30 Oct 2007, 03:44

Re: So I thought to play Russian Roulette...

Post16 Aug 2016, 12:51

Sorry VPN. Im with Richard, why take the batteries out if you're not going to try new ones. Good luck though, miracles happen.

Adam
http://www.digital-watch.com - online database of 2000+ watches, manuals and adverts from the 70s-90s
http://www.vintagelcd.com - Vintage Digital Watches for sale
Offline
User avatar

richard_uk

Guru

Guru

  • Posts: 1058
  • Joined: 12 Jul 2004, 16:18

Re: So I thought to play Russian Roulette...

Post16 Aug 2016, 14:46

I'd say your best hope is that he tried batteries and it didn't work, but it turns out to be an easy fix. My experience with these as none workers is that the flexy cable from the board to the battery terminals breaks, which can sometimes be fixed with a little conductive paint.
Offline

vpn

Wizard

Wizard

  • Posts: 376
  • Joined: 27 May 2012, 10:26
  • Location: Italy

Re: So I thought to play Russian Roulette...

Post16 Aug 2016, 15:28

Luckily I haven't paid much for it, but I hope the seller just didn't know what the replacement batteries are. In our messages, the seller told me that just checked if there were the old batteries inside and took them out, but she didn't test the watch. No signs of leak she said. In case it won't work, as I fear I might break it if I attempt to open the case, I'll keep it for a SASM'ing process once the budget allows me to do so, or I could just sell it for spares.

In the meantime I'll hold my breath... ~:(
Image Image
Offline
User avatar

767Geoff

Techno Mage

Techno Mage

  • Posts: 560
  • Joined: 05 Feb 2007, 17:58
  • Location: VANCOUVER, B.C.

Re: So I thought to play Russian Roulette...

Post16 Aug 2016, 18:51

All the naysayers! But best of luck. Another caveat, batteries outgas without the evidence of leakage. The outgassing can sewer the IC traces and show no physical trace.

-----------------

I purchased a solid silver cased longines LED. Purchased for case only as the witnauer polara modules would fit it. Bad seller photography but I did see a battery hatch was missing. Again a polara battery hatch would fit. Was expecting no module due to inspection of the photos. The back was not removed but looking at the photos through the red crystal and the exposed battery compartment hatch it appeared there was no module.

Watch arrived, surprise module inside. Installed two batteries, replaced the battery hatch and it all worked!

Moral, sometimes a plan comes together!

Geoff
Offline

vpn

Wizard

Wizard

  • Posts: 376
  • Joined: 27 May 2012, 10:26
  • Location: Italy

Re: So I thought to play Russian Roulette...

Post16 Aug 2016, 22:06

767Geoff wrote:cut


That's pure luck! In past I have purchased other two watches that were untested and had the original battery inside. The first one was a Tell with a ESA9181 movement from the mid '70s, had an alkaline (!!!) battery from the early '90s which luckily didn't leak, and fired up with a new battery, while the most recent one, in the beginning of the year, was a Junghans 600 Dato Chron that still had a Union Carbide 303 mercury battery that didn't leak. After I put a new 357, the balance wheel started swinging happily without even needing to shake the watch. Currently I have the battery preserved along with a original Bulova 214 mercury cell from the early '60s.

In Italy we have a say: "there's no two without a three". Let's hope to be lucky for the third time, and if I will be I promise to stop buying untested watches with old batteries inside... ~:(
Image Image
Offline
User avatar

767Geoff

Techno Mage

Techno Mage

  • Posts: 560
  • Joined: 05 Feb 2007, 17:58
  • Location: VANCOUVER, B.C.

Re: So I thought to play Russian Roulette...

Post17 Aug 2016, 00:45

We say "third time lucky" or "things come in threes".

Cheers
Offline
User avatar

charger105

Guru

Guru

  • Posts: 865
  • Joined: 02 Mar 2007, 02:11
  • Location: Australia

Re: So I thought to play Russian Roulette...

Post17 Aug 2016, 15:18

Yes, good luck vpn.
I wouldn't worry abut the plastic flap on the battery hatch. They are 'designed' to pull up and use as a handle to remove the hatch.
Yours looks fine to me.
Rgds.
Offline

vpn

Wizard

Wizard

  • Posts: 376
  • Joined: 27 May 2012, 10:26
  • Location: Italy

Re: So I thought to play Russian Roulette...

Post17 Aug 2016, 16:27

Thank you chaps, I have been looking at the other Black Watches on the internet and I see the flap in the same angle. If it works, I'll just have to replace the strap with a new one. I'd like to find a 20mm bracelet with a large first link so it fits the case better, but I might settle with a leather strap, or a rally one (a rally strap with rectangular holes would be super!).

I also managed to find the manual of the watch, and it seems pretty easy to set. But I have a question, and please, pardon them, as I am very ignorant in Black Watches. Mine, according to the pictures, seems to have a five digits display, while most of the Black Watches I have found on the internet have a four digit display. What's the difference between them? Was it due to additional features? In the pictures of my specimen, the trimmer doesn't seem to be located besides the display but it seems to be placed below, hidden from view. What would be the use of a fifth digit? Perhaps it's just an artifact of the (very blurry) picture, but I'm curious about it.
Image Image
Offline

vpn

Wizard

Wizard

  • Posts: 376
  • Joined: 27 May 2012, 10:26
  • Location: Italy

Re: So I thought to play Russian Roulette...

Post30 Aug 2016, 15:01

So I got the watch today, as expected, it doesn't work after trying new batteries. You can't always win, as they say! :oops:

I will put it for sale for spares, maybe it can come in handy to someone.
Image Image
Offline

vpn

Wizard

Wizard

  • Posts: 376
  • Joined: 27 May 2012, 10:26
  • Location: Italy

Re: So I thought to play Russian Roulette...

Post17 Feb 2020, 14:07

So well... Remember when I said that I should no longer buy untested watches? Well...

Image Image Image

It seems sometimes I can be quite the masochist, so I've involved myself in yet another Russian roulette, four years later. This one, however, is in much better condition (pristine, I'd say!). The seller has not tested it and hasn't even checked the battery compartment, so my heartbeat is going to be accelerated until the day of its arrival.

On the flipside, besides the excellent visual condition and the presence of the original box (which seems to be quite well preserved, as well), this one is the so called "Limited Edition" with the metallic S emblem and the supposedly more reliable module with the DOW feature. Fingers crossed. In case it won't work, I won't flip this one, but get a five digit display and send it to Hanno for a rebuild.

Until then, I'm going to hold my breath...
Image Image
Offline

vpn

Wizard

Wizard

  • Posts: 376
  • Joined: 27 May 2012, 10:26
  • Location: Italy

Re: So I thought to play Russian Roulette...

Post26 Feb 2020, 19:47

Well, the Russian roulette is over. I got the watch today. Aesthetically, it is in amazing condition, just a little grubby due to finger contacts, some elbow grease with isopropyl alcohol should fix everything. On the other hand, there were the original Union Carbide mercury batteries inside, which suffered of a very limited leak, that I have cleaned with a fiberglass pen.

Much to my surprise, after putting two batteries I scavenged from another watch, it works! But... Only the setting button works. The front ones do not respond to any command, which makes me guess that the foam that holds the aluminum pads responsible to make contact with the module, has degraded and so, there's no longer contact. I already have messaged Hanno about this, as I do not want to open it myself (being the case made in plastic and knowing that my hand is everything but steady), and so, I will send it to him in order to make new pads and restore the functionality of the buttons.

In the end, I finally won this Russian roulette, even though it took four years before I did, but it's not over yet: the Black Watch will need to go to the watch spa in Germany, before it'll be fully healthy. But at least, it woke up after a long sleep.

EDIT: The module has croaked today. As most likely there's no hope to repair it, I have bought a brand new HP five digits LED display, so once it arrives, I will send both the watch and the display to Hanno in order to rebuild the module.
Image Image
Offline

vpn

Wizard

Wizard

  • Posts: 376
  • Joined: 27 May 2012, 10:26
  • Location: Italy

Re: So I thought to play Russian Roulette...

Post21 Apr 2020, 19:33

Well, thought to give you some updates about the Black Watch. I have sent it to Hanno the 25th of March. It is currently in the process of being SASMed. We had a chat via e-mail the last time around the 4th of April and the watch is already back to life and he was going to test it.

I mostly hope that he is fine, as the Coronavirus outbreak here in Italy is getting even worse. But once I will get back the watch from him, I will update and share pictures of the revived British beauty. This is the second time I send a watch to Hanno, and the excitement of seeing the Black Watch at my wrist with a brand new module is very, very high. I trust his top notch service, as my SASMed P3 is still running strong.

Stay safe my friends, and to Hanno, you rock! And thank you for your work and your patience, hoping to hear from you soon and see the Briton baby back in the world of the living. :-D
Image Image
Offline

vpn

Wizard

Wizard

  • Posts: 376
  • Joined: 27 May 2012, 10:26
  • Location: Italy

Re: So I thought to play Russian Roulette...

Post01 May 2020, 12:32

And finally, the Black Watch is finally back to Italy, after getting the SASM treatment. For the first time, yesterday, I have worn a little piece of British electronics history. I am very, very, very excited, because not only it is in very good condition for its age, but because it sums up the wish of the major electronics companies of the era, that wanted to create the most innovative digital timepiece ever. While the Black Watch kind of missed the train with such things, due to its legendary unreliability and poor construction, it is undeniable that sir Clive's genius has left to us probably one of the most beautiful LED watches ever made, in my humble opinion. And I am going to wear it with pride, as a statement of British elegance.

Image

Image

Image

I simply love its design: timeless, iconic. You couldn't find any other LED timepiece with the same styling back then, and the idea of using a touch panel instead of classic command buttons, was way ahead of its time. Who knows, maybe when the pandemic will be over and I'll be able to go out once again, people might confuse the Black Watch for a modern smartwatch. That is going to crack me up, in the moment I'm going to tell them it's from 1976. And who knows, maybe one day I will also be able to find a "classic" Black Watch too, to pair it with this one. Only time will tell... :-D

But now I wonder... Does anybody know more about this variant of the watch? I haven't found many information about the so-called "limited edition" and I really would like to know more. Unfortunately the old forum is long since dead, and I heard there was a long and interesting thread about it. The only thing I know is that it's rare, or at least as uncommon as the grey variant.
Image Image

Return to Reviews and latest Acquisitions

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest