I love watches. I have been a watch enthusiast for many years now. And when you spend as many hours on discussion boards, youtube, instagram and facebook, reading and learning about watches, you will eventually run into the mod scene.
On the Seiko Mod Forum on facebook there is a whole community centered around how to change the appearance on popular Seiko models like the SKX and SRP. But you will also see some Sumos, Stargates, Seiko 5 models, and SNK.
And, you will also notice that there is a lot of vendors, feeding the hungry community with after market parts. The amount of dials, hands, bezels, inserts, chapter rings, and other parts intended for seiko modding, is huge.
This means that the possibility of personalizing your Seiko is almost endless.
My first mod where a Seiko 6105 homage bought from Ebay.
Aaaand, you can say it went trough some phases…
After fiddling around with this little project of mine, I convinced myself that I needed another mod. This time I bought a SKX case from Crystal Times. I had some parts laying around, and build it to look like this.
But then, when you fall into the seiko mods rabbit hole, it is hard to settle with one design, once you got some ideas. And that is what I like about this hobby, if you are curious and are willing to experiment, you will end up with some good learning, and hopefully a cool watch!
The one thing I really wanted was adding my logo to the dial. To do this, i figured I could buy some self adhesive photo paper, cut out the logo, and place it on the dial.
When I tried this, the outcome was not as great as I visualized. It got to obvious that I simply just placed a sticker on the dial.
So I figured out that I could design my own dial. The whole thing! And the plan was to print this out on my inkjet printer, exactly the size as the dial.
Why the hell not! Lets try!
So I opened up Gimp, set the image size to 29x29mm, and started with this black, perfect circle. Then I measured where 12 and 6 would be, and then 3 and 9. Not too hard, as this is exactly on the middle of the image, on both sides. And from then, I just played along with the colors and the design I intended to use, and the result became like this.
I ran some test runs on the printer, and figured out that my logo did not look good when printed out. I wanted some bolder letters.
When all the measurement was good, and after destroying too many photo papers, I found something I could work with.
The photo paper is matte, and slightly textured. It was the only type I found in my local hardware store, Clas Ohlson. But to my surprise, this exact type would be perfect for a watch dial.
Then I simply took an existing dial I had laying around, and placed it on the backside of the paper, so the design would stick onto it. In my case, I did not bother sanding and grinding the dial. I simply wanted to try the easiest solution as an experiment.
To my surprise, the measurements were good, and after cutting of the edges, it really started to look like a watch dial.
I was excited to fit the movement with the new dial, and when I did, I got to learn a lesson. It is easier to turn the dial for a perfect fit, then it is to stick the design on the dial for a perfect fit. This means that the dial were a bit offset. If you cut of the dial feets, and use GS hypo cement, or dial dots instead, you can try over and over, until the dial is straight. And THEN, you can fit the hands.
When the movement got mounted, this was the result. My first thought was that it looked really cool. I was amused by the fact that such a simple process could lead to this result. But then I started to look closer, and I could see that the red circle was not as perfect as I wanted it to be. So i adjusted the design in Gimp, added more red so that a slight misalignment would not show as much.
The final version got me much more satisfied. The dial itself still have feets, and it is some degrees offset, so I will have to fix this. But until then, it is all good!
Watch modding is all about experimenting and learning. This is absolutely not the final answer to making your own dial, I just wanted to show you how easy it actually can be, and that the result actually can be really good.
And I am sure there are ways to improve this. Maybe one should add a coating of clear lacquer? Should we try to lume the dial next time? Would another type of paper look better?
Maybe! Try it! The worst thing to happen is that you learn.
So, for you to do this at home, you should have a printer. I used a Brother TR8550. But I guess any other printer intended for photo printing will do.
Next up, you should have some self adhesive photo paper. As I said before, i used a matte paper with some texture. They should have this in any office supplies shop.
Then you need to use photo editing software. The size of the image I used was 29x29mm. You can use Gimp, its free.
For the dial, I simply used one that I had laying around. I did not bother with sanding the dial, I simply glued the design over the existing design. Fun fact, it was an old 7002 dial, with date window and all..
But, If you really are serious about creating your own dials, I found a supplier of blank ones, at Alibaba.
So, that was my custom designed dial adventure!
I hope you liked it, and would love to see your results.