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Guide to Build a Franken AP Watch

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Friends,
 
Since I get quite a lot of PM's with questions about frankens I decided to write this thread. An AP franken is something special so it deserves it.
 
Basically this thread is about "How to build an AP franken?!" what you need and what to do.
 
1st step
 
Since it's quite an expensive build, think about it, if you want it. If you are happy enough with the current reps, then don't do it. If you want something special closer to gen and you have the cash to spend, you are passionate about AP and/or you love the pieces then do it.
 
Investment wise, I'm pretty sure you can get back what you invested. Parts are rare, the parts price alone you can sell and get your investment back. The case will go lost since only a franken AP uses this case. 
 
The 1st step I propose is thinking about the project. Also bear in mind, this is a special project and it needs time!!! My ultimate franken project took about 1,5 year to get completed. Don't get stressy, find everything you want to get your own personal build. Patience is needed!
 
2nd step
 
If you decided to move on and take on the project then take a look at the regular AP dials, a limited edition dial is very very hard, nearly impossible to get. Once you have a dial you like then look for one. Ask around, contact some grey dealers that sell AP, for example in diamond districts etc. Contact some workshops that customize watches, like diamond setting etc.
 
The price you should pay for a dial and tachy should be between $700 - $1200 (MAX!). I have now bought 7 dials in total, and these are the prices I have paid.
 
3rd step
 
Once you bought a dial and tachy you need to look for an LWO movement. These are harder to get these days. Contact some watchsmiths, wholesalers etc. What you need is a Dubois Depraz module 2000 on an ETA2892 movement. If they don't come with canon pinion or hour wheel, don't worry, those are available to order. As for the cyclopse, you can use the rep cyclopse or if a cyclopse came with a movement you can use that as well. A few years back Uwe (finedd) made some cyclopses with a blue-purple AR coating, those are good as well. My advise, try to get one with that coloured coating. Gens came with purplish AR hue.
 
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The price of an LWO movement used to be $350 for a NOS movement. Right now I bought 3 movements, fully serviced with cannon pinion and hour wheel + cyclops at $550, sold them to some great members at the same price. Those came from 3 donor watches.
 
As for donor watches, old Tag Heuers, Baume & Mercier, Chopard, Longines, Etienne Schwarz, Girard Perregaux used these movements. Ask around and you should be able to find this. Look on eBay as well, there was a set of 10 pieces Etienne Schwarz LWO's sold somewhere below $4.200. Divide it by 10 and you get a price below $420 per piece, canon pinion, hour wheel and cyclopse included. 
 
4rd step
 
I would propose to search for a datewheel I made, 1:1 to gen spec, unfortunately those are sold out but maybe some members have a spare one. Price for a new one was $61 shipped.
 
5th step
 
Depending on the build you want, search for gen hands, bezel, crystal, pushers and crown, this will be the hardest part imo for the search. This is not needed for a build, if you don't need this, skip this step. Basically the biggest difference between gen and rep hands is the shape. The center of the gen hands (hour and minute)is smaller vs the rep hands. The subdial hands look similar, though the rep hands won't fit immediately on to the LWO movement. This needs a slight modification. 
 
The gen pushers and crown use a different rubber substance, a more durable kind of rubber. Offcourse the crown is much better than the rep but, I feel if you want a gen crown you also need gen pushers due to the same aging process of the rubber. The gen crown does work on a rep crown tube, at least when I tried, hehe. The problem with the gen pushers is that when installed they sit a bit too deep vs the rep. If they sit too deep it's not 1:1 as per gen, with the reps it's much closer imo.
 
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Price for hands: $345 - $555
Price for pushers and crown: $280 - $450
 
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A gen bezel is different than the rep, it needs a gen crystal gasket as well and gen screws too as the rep screws are slightly too large. A gen bezel is quite expensive. I bought 2 bezels, 1 second hand between $140 - $345.
 
6th step
 
buy a donor watch, the rep $518
 
7th step
 
This step is not necessary at all! But I try to offer a guideline with steps to get closer to gen. This step includes the case milling to the correct thickness as per gen. The cost is $550.
 
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8th step
 
Once all of the above is done you will need to search for a competent watchmaker to perform these mods. Discuss the work on before hand, discuss the price and try to arrange a price on beforehand.
I am open about the price I paid my watchmaker for the work, pricing was €300 for the modding work (drilling crown tube hole, shaving caseback, making movement ring, adjusting movement to COSC norms, re-engrave caseback, complete assembly) and shipping with UPS next day delivery was included.
 
This to give an idea. 
 
9th step
 
Enjoy wearing your piece.
 
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TOTAL PRICE OF A PROJECT LIES BETWEEN USD 3.795 - 4.850. From my experience.

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