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Meet the One-Man Shop Restoring Vintage Seiko Cases, One Zaratsu Polish at a Time

Meet the One-Man Shop Restoring Vintage Seiko Cases, One Zaratsu Polish at a Time

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Dunkowski’s watch story is average and will be natural to many: at 18 he got his first mechanical watch, a cheap Seiko 5, and the hare opening was formally open. It wasn’t well before he graduated to more genuine collector’s pieces in the Seiko reach, and he steadily built up an interest in the special Seiko style of case wrapping up. It was during the redesign of his own watch, a Seiko 6139 chronograph, that everything clicked.

He had resolved to source another old-stock case for his undertaking, and when he at long last acquired one, he was overwhelmed by the degree of wrapping up. The level features, totally in any event, brushing, and mirror clean overwhelmed him. “That was the second I began pondering, ‘How is that possible?’ To keep every one of those edges so sharp yet in addition cleaned at the equivalent time.”

As a Grand Seiko proprietor, I need to concede, I’ve pondered something very similar. The completing on these watches, and numerous exemplary Seikos, makes no sense if you’re not personally acquainted with the high quality interaction that goes into making the one of a kind look. The sharp inclines, fresh lines, and amazing mirror impact are inebriating. As Ilya brought up in his new active survey of the SBGM221, the way that Grand Seiko craftsmans can make too get definitions between components free from the case that don’t include blended completing methods is really impressive.

The zaratsu cleaning that Grand Seiko is known for, and that Dunkowski was so captivated by and now dominates at, is however misjudged as it very well might be excellent. While it has become a mark of sorts for Grand Seiko as a brand, zaratsu isn’t a centuries-old Japanese strategy (like, say, the tsuiki or “hammer tone” embellishing measure utilized on some new very good quality G-Shocks, or besides numerous kinds of porcelain creation that are offered in the Seiko Presage line ). The word “zaratsu” is gotten from etchings on the German machines used to make the cleaning impact. “Gebr-Sallaz” becomes, phonetically, “zaratsu” on the Japanese tongue. The distinctive part of these machines is that dissimilar to on a conventional cleaning wheel, where the front of the wheel is utilized to make a cleaned surface, the zaratsu machine utilizes the side. This permits the craftsperson to make those incomprehensibly level surfaces that meet at unforeseen points. It’s an expertise that requires a very long time to learn, and one that has just about zero edge for mistake.

Dunkowski sees matches between the final product of a zaratsu finish and the standards behind cutting and cleaning jewels. Both are intended to mirror however much light as could reasonably be expected through a hard to accomplish levelness. “They resemble little mirrors playing with the light on your wrist,” Dunkowski advises me. The complex cases related with Grand Seiko and numerous vintage Seiko references have a method of featuring the nature of the completion and the manner in which the surface points play with one another.

There’s an inborn complexity in zaratsu cleaning and this sort of case rebuilding that is clear to a layman just from taking a gander toward the outcome. At the point when I got some information about a portion of the exceptional difficulties that he needs to manage in this sort of work, he recognized three zones that he needs to give especially close consideration to. To begin with, the three dimensional characteristics of the actual case. “They are faceted like a valuable stone,” he advised me. “If I make one feature too huge or at an alternate point, at that point it influences the calculation of the entire case.”

Secondly, every aspect should be completely level with sharp and fresh edges. “You can accomplish a sharp edge with a brushed completion pretty effectively, however with regards to a [zaratsu] finish it is an extraordinary test not to obscure the edge.” This is apparent to any individual who has taken care of a cutting edge Grand Seiko: the consistency of the exceptionally cleaned finish across the whole surface of the aspect is striking, and if any one feature was off, it just wouldn’t look right.

The most testing specialized viewpoint, Dunkowski advises me, is the proliferation of the first case shape in a complete upgrade or rebuilding. “Most cases are gravely worn or damaged,” he says, to the point that the case should be duplicated utilizing miniature welding, trailed by a crushing to the processing plant shape, and then it’s time for the high cleaning of zaratsu. This combination of different amazingly specialized cycles is nearly head-spinningly complex when you consider that one little slip-up can demolish a whole vintage case.

Over the most recent year, Dunkowski has been consistently expanding his profile via web-based media through his sensational Instragram photography exhibiting his reclamation endeavors of exemplary Seiko and Grand Seiko cases. Some of them show up so harmed that it appears to be unthinkable that the first lines could be saved through a careful reclamation. However, Dunkowski is attracted to the test. “There are such countless various plans of vintage Grand Seiko and King Seiko,” he advises me, “and all are complex and demanding.” But there are not many watches that Dunkowski won’t contact. “Most watch cases can be restored,” he says. “Normal wear, scratches, dings can be reestablished to the plant standards.”

Dunkowski additionally utilizes the previously mentioned miniature welding measure routinely in his rebuilding work. A fairly questionable interaction in the watch rebuilding world, this sort of welding acquaints new material with a case, and it is then hence ground down at a minuscule level to coordinate the first wrapping up. Dings and scratches that would regularly be difficult to fix without eliminating abundance material from the case are returned to play with the presentation of this innovation. The downside, as per a few, is that the warmth levels utilized can make cases twist under tension. And afterward there’s the entire “originality” contention that vintage watch authorities fixate on. For Dunkowski, it’s a basic matter of consumer loyalty. “Most rewarding,” he says, “is my customer’s response to the work I performed on their watches.”

The thought that reclamation obliterates the estimation of the watch being referred to doesn’t sound accurate to Dunkowski, despite the fact that he yields that numerous authorities have genuine concerns. “But,” he says, “after seeing the final product they have no questions that the worth has recently expanded drastically.”

One of the reasons Dunkowski can say something so strong is his severe adherence to the first processing plant cleaning lines. Dunkowski keeps a broad photographic chronicle of reference cases to work from, and through numerous long periods of involvement with taking care of these watches consistently, he has come to know their lines personally. Yet, Dunkowski likewise adopts the strategy of an antiquarian. “I have a ton of outputs of vintage lists and commercials that are very helpful,” he advised me. Also, the web, obviously, is essential, with closeout documents, gatherer profiles, and the wide range of various watch media we as a whole devour on a particularly ordinary basis.

When Dunkowski inspects a case, he does as such under amplification to look for any hint of the first manufacturing plant cleaning lines. Deciding the legitimate way to reclamation can become complicated. The popular Seiko 6139 chronograph (the Pogue, a confirmed space watch) may have come from the production line with one of two unmistakable completing examples which are comparative however not indistinguishable. It’s just under a magnifying lens that Dunkowski can decide the suitable pattern.

The Pogues are among Dunkowski’s most loved watches to deal with. “They as a rule were treated as instrument watches, so after numerous long stretches of hard wearing they don’t look very pleasant,” he says. These cases have an incredible, multifaceted plan, that were frequently not all around focused on, and Dunkowski appears to appreciate the transportive demonstration of taking them back to industrial facility spec. It’s gives the proprietor, likely not the first proprietor, a view to what the watch truly resembled when it was first bought, with shining and blazing cleaned sides that bely the watch’s age.

The impression I get from my correspondence with Kamil is that he has a genuine affection for watches, yet for the art. He went through years constructing his own machines and making his own tooling that would empower him to imitate the zaratsu look. He’s sorted out a way, completely freely, a large number of miles from the Grand Seiko studios in Japan, to repeat perhaps the most difficult impacts in the event that making. At the point when I asked him what, all things considered, it intends to him as an European to have dominated something that is so firmly connected with Japanese watchmaking, Dunkowski disputed. “I simply give recognition to [Japan’s] incredible achievement,” he said. He considers his to be as a little part in saving these practices for the future, regardless of geography.