Building my first watch

For some time now I’ve been looking into how to build a watch, both on Google and YouTube. I was specifically looking for a tutorial that would walk me through the entire process, from parts selection to the actual build. After several hours of research, I didn’t find anything satisfying.

Then I stumbled upon watch modding, which as the name suggests, is about taking an existing watch, and changing a few things here and there to make it your own. It turned out that Seiko watches are the most popular watches to mod because there are just tons of parts for them out there.

I didn’t want to mod a watch but rather build one…

So I decided to source all the parts to effectively create a watch from scratch. Obviously, I didn’t build the movement, but everything else was sourced from various websites so I could assemble it all.

What type of watch do I want to build?

I’m not the creative type and I definitely needed inspiration when it came to figuring out what kind of watch I wanted to build.

It was fairly easy to settle on a design because I’ve recently been obsessed with the Tudor Heritage Black Bay 79220N, so I used this as my inspiration.

While I set out to recreate a replica of sort of that watch, it became clear pretty quickly that it wouldn’t be as easy as I imagined, simply because I couldn’t source the proper dial. So I slightly went off track while still retaining the inspiration from the Black Bay.

Parts selection

I decided to go with parts for Seiko SKX007, which seems to be the most modded watch out there, which again means there are many options available as far as parts go.

Here is a run down of the parts I ordered:

Although I have eyes on a few watch straps, I haven’t pulled the trigger on anything yet.

Estimated cost of this first build

I haven’t received all of the parts quite yet, but I have a really good idea of the total cost for the parts. From the get go, I kept everything in a spreadsheet to help me keep track of the parts, the cost, shipping, etc…

Total cost is approximately $439. I know! It’s a lot of money when I could have bought a cheap Seiko brand new for $200 and start from there.

But to me, it wasn’t necessarily about the money, but rather about the process of starting from scratch (well, sans the movement), and building my very own watch.

On top of the cost of parts, you have to add watch making tools that I had to purchase, which adds another $200 or so to the cost of the project. The silver lining is that if I really stick to watch building, the cost of tools will be amortized over time.