Rare 7A38-7075 ZFM (Brazilian) variant listed on eBay today

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Rare 7A38-7075 ZFM (Brazilian) variant listed on eBay today

Post by Seiko7A38 »

This rare (outside Brazil) 7A38-7075 ZFM variant, fitted with a non-original bracelet was listed in the early hours of this morning by a Brazilian eBay seller, as a 10-day auction with an opening bid price of $399.99 ($400 US). Amusingly the seller has erroneously included 'MADE IN JAPAN' in his title and description, which of course this watch ironically isn't.

The 7A38-7075 is the locally produced Brazilian ZFM variant, assembled in Seiko's offshore plant in Manaus (as stamped on the case-back). Note also the lack of 'JAPAN' printed at the bottom of the dial (normally found just to the right of the 7 o'clock baton, before '7A38') and the dial part number 709S (rather than 709L of the export 7A38-7070 SAA031J).

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/VINTAGE-WATC ... 4879501617

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The Brazilian eBay seller 80s_90s is known to me. They previously went by denguinho and changed their eBay user ID back in August 2020. From the familiar format of their multi-coloured descriptions and frequent (mis)use of the word 'impeccable' they are clearly the same person as the notorious Brazilian watch botchers watches.br who since appears to have 'retired' over a year ago.

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Re: Rare 7A38-7075 ZFM (Brazilian) variant listed on eBay today

Post by Seiko7A38 »

During the last decade, their previous alter ego eBay ID watches.br had listed a good many ZFM 7A38-7075's, but most were far from original (or impeccable) and one or two were best described as complete frankens. This suitably titled thread from the old forum's eBay section refers: Moved: Seiko 7A38-7075 Brazil specific model? Caveat Emptor !!!

There's another example of their handiwork at the start of this archived thread, again form the old forum eBay section:
Mercado Libre / Mercado Livre - Time to get REAL

Of added interest that thread also included a few photos of a nice, possibly unmolested example of a ZFM 7A38-7075, which was listed by another seller on the Brazilian classifieds site, Mercadolivre, back in December 2012.

7A38-7075-ZFM-MercadoLivre.br-Dec2012-OldForumPost-1.jpg
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Per above, it appeared to be original and unmolested, but unusually it was fitted with a Seiko p/n B1075S bracelet (normally found on the 7A28-7040 / -7049) rather than the slightly thicker p/n B1241S used on the 7A38-7070.

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Re: Rare 7A38-7075 ZFM (Brazilian) variant listed on eBay today

Post by Seiko7A38 »

The original 10-day auction for that ZFM 7A38-7075, fitted with a non-original replacement bracelet, ended without any bids placed. The Brazilian eBay seller re-listed it as a Buy-it-Now for the same over-optimistic price of $399.99. I must admit I thought about it a couple of times, but dismissed it, on the basis of price and incorrect bracelet. Checking my eBay watching page, I see that the Brazilian seller ended it in the early hours of this morning, as no longer available.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/184897840927

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Re: Rare 7A38-7075 ZFM (Brazilian) variant listed on eBay today

Post by Seiko7A38 »

I've wanted to add a Brazilian market ZFM 7A38-7075 to my collection for a long time. Apart from their asking price, the other reason I passed on the one listed by eBay seller 80s_90s (a.k.a. denguinho / watches.br) was because, like most of their previous botched mis-represented offerings, it was fitted with an incorrect non-original replacement bracelet.

Thing is, what is the correct original bracelet for a ZFM 7A38-7075 ? When Seiko Oceania allowed public access to their database, none of the ZFM variants were documented. Going back many years, I'd initially naively and incorrectly, as it transpires, assumed that the ZFM variants would have used exactly the same bracelets as their European / US market equivalents. So in the case of the 7A38-7075, that would have meant Seiko p/n B1241S, as per the 7A38-7070 SAA031J.

What may also have thrown me a curve ball was that mint example listed on Mercadolivre, back in December 2012, that was fitted with a p/n B1075S bracelet (normally found on the 7A28-7040 / -7049). But who's to say that one was correct and original ? Perhaps it was fitted by that Mercadolivre seller - because I've never seen another one like it since ! :|

10 years plus of studying photos of ZFM 7A38's has taught me one thing - they weren't fitted with the same bracelets as the normal export versions. If you look at the 7A38-7275, 7A38-7285 and 7A38-7295, their bracelets are a very similar design, but they're actually locally produced cheaper-looking copies. They come with a 6-hole adjustable clasp, whose Z-fold is stamped IND. BRAS. Their end fixing tubes are stamped A101 and A106 (rather than B1615.E or B1627.E).

Only recently, I've come to realize that many of the photos I've right-clicked and saved from eBay and Mercardolivre listings, over the years, are incorrectly captioned 'Wrong Bracelet', based on my earlier ignorance (but rightly so in almost all cases, where I'd saved them from a watches.br eBay listing). ;)

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Re: Rare 7A38-7075 ZFM (Brazilian) variant listed on eBay today

Post by Seiko7A38 »

In my defence, it was an easy mistake to make, because the correct locally produced bracelet for the ZFM 7A38-7075 actually looks nothing like a Seiko p/n B1241S (nor the B1075S). In fact it's a horrible looking 3-link flat section affair.

Here's 3 photos that I'd saved from a Mercardolivre listing in 2019 (still all erroneously captioned as 'Wrong Bracelet'):

rsz_7a38-7075-divers-zfm-stainless-blackface-wrongbracelet-mercadolivrebr-dec2019-2.jpg
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Note the Seiko engraved 6-hole clasp and part number A102 stamped on the bracelet fixing tubes. ;)

Here's 3 from an eBay listing by watches.br in November 2015 (similarly erroneously captioned as 'Wrong Bracelet'):

rsz_7a38-7075-zfm-stainless-blackface-wrongbracelet-ebay-nov2015-5.jpg
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And two more saved from a slightly earlier watches.br eBay listing from September 2015, which looking at again today, in view of its condition, makes me want to kick myself. In this particular instance, I owe them a belated apology. :oops:

rsz_7a38-7075-divers-stainless-blackface-zfm-wrongbracelet-ebay-sept2015-5.jpg
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The common denominator being that cheap-looking flat section 3-link bracelet, with A102 stamped on the fixing tubes.

If you google images on 7A38-7075, as I did earlier today, one of the first results returned is this photo on Pinterest.

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It has what appears to be the same flat section 3-link bracelet. I'm not making excuses for not having spotted it before, but so many other examples I'd seen, notably those listed by Brazilian eBay seller watches.br, who regularly falsely claim every aspect any watch they list as being 'original' and 'impeccable', had muddied the waters somewhat ! :x

Indeed, digging into the deepest recess of my photo archives, I found this franken watch, that they listed in May 2011:

7A38-7075-(Divers)-Stainless+Black-ZFM-Franken(Fittedwith722Sdialand7A38-7085caseback)-eBay-May2011-1.jpg
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It purported to be a ZFM 7A38-7075, but was fitted with the 722S dial / movement from either a 7A38-7275 or -7295, the case-back from a 7A38-7085, a cut-down aftermarket bezel insert and to crown it all - a p/n B1075S bracelet ! :lol:

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Re: Rare 7A38-7075 ZFM (Brazilian) variant listed on eBay today

Post by Seiko7A38 »

So you may be wondering why the flurry of updates. Earlier today, I finally bought myself a ZFM 7A38-7075 fitted with the 'wrong' p/n A102 bracelet. :D It was listed FS on Instagram yesterday afternoon by Brazilian poster eng_watches.

Image
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I studied the photos and it appears to be in good condition. It was reasonably priced (not stupidly expensive), but more than I was prepared to pay. So I DM'd the seller with a lower offer, which they accepted overnight (while I was asleep). Earlier this afternoon, I had a lengthy and enjoyable DM conversation with Bruno, one of the partners of eng_watches. He confirmed that the bracelet end fixing tubes were stamped A102 (not actually visible in any of his photos) and that the clasp Z-fold was stamped IND. BRAS. (which he sent me this small photo of).

7A38-7075-ZFM-Stainless-BlackFace-A102-Bracelet-Instagram-FS-eng_watches-(Bruno)-Z-fold.jpg
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I'm not sure whether the A102 bracelet will actually fit my wrist. As you can see from his photos, typically, with these cheap locally produced bracelets, there are no adjustment links present. If it doesn't, I could fit a clasp extender. :|

Then again, I suppose I could always fit this NOS Seiko p/n B1241S bracelet that I've been keeping in reserve for 5 years.

rsz_7a38-7070-divers-stainless-b1241s-nos-bracelet-ebay-june2016-1.jpg
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But that would be sacrilege, wouldn't it. :P

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Re: Rare 7A38-7075 ZFM (Brazilian) variant listed on eBay today

Post by NakkDry »

Beautiful and nice condition!

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Re: Rare 7A38-7075 ZFM (Brazilian) variant listed on eBay today

Post by Seiko7A38 »

Well that's how it may have looked in the Brazilian seller's photos, but I'm a little disappointed to find they served to flatter its condition somewhat, as these 'professional' style of black lightbox photos often do. :( Fedex delivered the package from Brazil this morning. Initially, I was quite pleased, until I started taking a closer look at what I'd bought.

Here's a few 'as received' photos I took this morning, which will go part way to explaining the faults I've found so far.

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Re: Rare 7A38-7075 ZFM (Brazilian) variant listed on eBay today

Post by Seiko7A38 »

This might be construed a 'nitpicking' by some, but in all the seller's photos, the bezel insert appeared to be unmarked. There are two small chips in the black lacquer on the inner rim of the insert, just below the 42 dot, and more between the 16 and 17 dots. Nothing major, but it's just annoying. The seller had already disclosed that the rotating bezel was seized solid. That didn't worry me unduly at the time, until I examined the joint and saw that someone had already tried to pry off the bezel, leaving a visible gap on one side.

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I had been planning to try my usual trick of running warm water with a drop of Fairy Liquid down the gap between the bezel insert and the crystal, to flush out whatever dirt might be jamming it, but now I really have no option but to pull it off completely and re-seat it properly. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the bezel ring hasn't been distorted. As I'm now going to have to pull the bezel, I'll take the opportunity to replace the crystal, which annoyingly has a couple of small scratches on it, that also weren't visible in the seller's photos.

When I unpacked the watch, it was running, but showing 03:10 am and SAT 7, which I thought a little strange. I wound the hands forward through 24 hours (and more), to check the day / date changeover was working properly. I tried the inbuilt self-test, by holding the 4 o'clock pusher in for two seconds. All chronograph hands completed a full revolution and returned to their starting positions. I then decided to unscrew the case-back and check the battery. Glad I did ! :x

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Judging by the staining on the anti-magnetic backplate, the movement appears to have suffered a relatively serious battery leak at some point, which somebody had made a half-hearted effort to clean up. Note also the screwdriver scratch marks on the inside of the case-back, further evidence of the leak, poorly concealed. Typically, it had been fitted with a cheap under-sized Murata SR927 battery, which I replaced with a Seizaiken #394, after cleaning out some residual detritus from the battery well with Rodico. So far haven't delved any deeper into the movement to ascertain what other damage may have been done. I screwed the case-back on and went to reset the chronograph hands to Zero (which you usually need to do after replacing the battery). The 10 o'clock 'split time' pusher didn't to anything, which is why the 30 minute counter isn't zero'd in my photos. Yet oddly, when the chronograph is operated, that sub-dial hand moves an increment every minute, as it should. I began to wonder about the extent of the leaked fluids when I noticed a tiny stain on the 1/10s sub-dial just to the right of the date window - and that the 3 o'clock lume pip appeared to have been dissolved ! :x

Another minor niggle is that the bracelet had been fitted with the wrong spring bars: 20mm x 1.5mm Ø instead of the correct 1.8mm Ø and the 16mm spring bar in the clasp was the double shoulder type, rather than short bead. As I'd removed the bracelet to facilitate the battery change, I replaced them with the correct diameter / type afterwards. That's where the good news comes in ....
Seiko7A38 wrote: Sat Jul 31, 2021 4:55 pmI'm not sure whether the A102 bracelet will actually fit my wrist. As you can see from his photos, typically, with these cheap locally produced bracelets, there are no adjustment links present. If it doesn't, I could fit a clasp extender. :|
Despite the lack of adjustment links, the IND. BRAS. p/n A102 bracelet fitted my 7½" wrist with ease - and with two clasp adjustment holes to spare ! :)

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Re: Rare 7A38-7075 ZFM (Brazilian) variant listed on eBay today

Post by Seiko7A38 »

Here's a slightly different wrist shot to the one I just posted in the WRUW thread, which possibly shows that tiny stain on the 1/10s sub-dial, to the right of the date window and degraded lume pip @ 3 o'clock in a different light.

rsz_p1730067-crop.jpg
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Re: Rare 7A38-7075 ZFM (Brazilian) variant listed on eBay today

Post by Seiko7A38 »

Ironically, this morning, while I was impatiently waiting for the Fedex delivery driver's knock at the door, I ran another quick search on the Brazilian classifieds site, Mercadolivre. What should have been listed, since I last looked on there, but another ZFM 7A38-7075 on the correct A102 bracelet in decent condition !

https://produto.mercadolivre.com.br/MLB ... 8-7075-_JM

7A38-7075-ZFM-(Divers)-Stainless-BlackFace-A102-Bracelet-Mercadolivre-August2021-Listing.jpg
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Scrolling through the photos, and with the issues I've found, I'm beginning to think this is probably a better example. :roll:

rsz_7a38-7075-zfm-divers-stainless-blackface-a102-bracelet-mercadolivre-august2021-1.jpg
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The well-lit photos certainly give a more honest indication of this example's overall condition.

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Re: Rare 7A38-7075 ZFM (Brazilian) variant listed on eBay today

Post by Seiko7A38 »

I could have started a separate topic in the Workshop section, but as I've already written the preamble, documenting my initial findings, I'm going to carry on here. I left my newly acquired ZFM 7A38-7075 running overnight, to see if it lost any time. When I checked it this morning, it was spot on to the second. However there are other issues to be addressed.

I dropped the 7O9S dial / movement out to have another closer look.

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Here's a close-up of that 'stain' and lume pip I mentioned yesterday. It certainly looks like battery acid damage. :cry:

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To my surprise, the cam of the 10 o'clock switch lever was squeaky clean. But no amount of prodding (with the crown in either position) had any effect on the 30 minute counting sub-dial hand. So it must be an internal electronics problem.

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Re: Rare 7A38-7075 ZFM (Brazilian) variant listed on eBay today

Post by Seiko7A38 »

I then turned my attention to the seized bezel. It may seem like 'taking a sledgehammer to crack a nut', but I decided this might be a good opportunity to try out my recently purchased Horotec bezel removal tool, for the very first time.

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Needless to say, given the hardness and sharpness of its blades, I made damned sure it was perfectly aligned with the case / bezel joint, before I gingerly started winding it in (gradually rotating the case with stuck bezel as I proceeded).

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To my relief, the case and its bezel track came away unscathed. There was no sign of the anticipated accumulated dirt.

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The cause of the jammed bezel was not dirt, as I'd incorrectly suspected, but a badly mangled O-ring retaining gasket, which somehow appeared to have been folded back double on itself.

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The Seiko part number for this O-ring gasket is 0Z3404B02. I could have sworn I had them in stock, but when I checked, to my annoyance, I found I had only p/n 0Z3314B02 (for the 7A38-6060 / -6070) and 0Z3524B02 (for the 7A38-6020) ! :oops: Incidentally, if you need to order any of these gaskets, Cousins UK hold them in stock, but with their part numbers erroneously beginning in 'O' (rather than Zero), for example OZ3404B02. They're currently £8.15 each, plus VAT !! :o

I was on the point of ordering a couple, when I remembered another box of spare parts that I hadn't looked in. Bingo !

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The reason I didn't find that packet straight away, is that it was in my Orient J39 'Divers' spares box. Not as you might think misplaced, because I'd specifically bought them for that purpose. Their bezels are retained in a similar manner, with what appears to be exactly the same O-ring gasket. Out out of curiosity, I checked my Cousins invoice file. They were £1.65 (for a pack of 3), back in August 2010. Hows that for rampant inflation ? :o

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Re: Rare 7A38-7075 ZFM (Brazilian) variant listed on eBay today

Post by Seiko7A38 »

Before I replaced the bezel (and crystal), this morning I decided to do a quick 'in casa' partial strip-down and inspection of the movement, to see if I could determine any particular cause for the non-functional 10 o'clock 'split time' pusher / Zero-reset operation, bearing in mind, I already suspected it might be electronic / electrical, rather than mechanical.

The underside of the antimagnetic backplate was cleaner than I expected, but showed dark staining around the battery recess (not easily discernible in this flash-lit photo) - and the extent to which the battery fluids had spread across it:

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After half an hour soaking in solvent, which failed to remove them, this naturally lit photo shows the dark stains better:

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Again, rather surprisingly, the PCB's (-ve) battery contact and the adjacent resistor, which usually take the brunt of any battery leak, looked remarkably unscathed, but the CMOS IC on the opposite side seems to have suffered a double dousing, indicating (as the underside of the backplate did), that the spilled battery fluids had run right across it. :( Whereas there's no obvious track damage, the PCB's insulation has been considerably degraded, particularly towards the bottom, in the area of the 30 minute coil, which may conceal a short circuit.

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The first shot I took of the electro-mechanical part of the movement was something of a flash-lit fluke. There's no sign of corrosion on the 10 o'clock switch lever (at bottom right). Incidentally, the corresponding contact post in the '710' green plastic insulator spacer was clean.

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My second, less harshly lit shot shows the dried fluid deposits in the battery well:

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The third photo shows some rusty coloured stains, particularly around the perimeter of the main plate at the top right, indicating that the leaked battery fluids had run right around it and beyond. As shown by my earlier close-up photo, a couple of drops even managed to escape via the date window. Frankly I dread to think what the underside of the dial plate looks like.

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To rectify the 30 minute counting / split time / Zero reset problem, I suspect it will require a new PCB. Rightfully, the movement needs to be completely stripped, cleaned and re-built. For now, I've put it to one side - in disgust. Needless to say, the way the watch was presented - and the price I paid for it, I'm extremely disappointed.

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