First attempt in the world of watch modding

Nowadays in the consumer society we want everything to be personalised and suits us. Our watch can’t be an exception. It can be as simple as a strap change, but there are more unique ways to do it.

I am sure everybody considered to change straps. There are many options and after the swap most of the time it feels like a new one. You can do it yourself or go to a watchmaker to change the strap or even the bezels, dials, hands and any parts you want.

What if I told you there are different types of modding. For instance engraving. Let me show you István Szijjártó’s incredible works. You can see an engraved Maurice Lacroix Aikon and a Rolex Milgauss below. If you ask me, it makes the watches exciting and unique and what can be more personalised than an artistic handmade pattern on you watch? 

engraved by István Szijjártó, captured by @RetekG

Back to the theme I want to tell you about my first real modding experience. Yes, I sad real. I tried little moddings like making fake patina with the use of coffee, I faded bezels to give it a vintage feeling and I usually change the straps as frequently as underwears. Once I removed a cyclops from a watch and I also glu cigar leaf to a dial. Most of these experiences look cool. However, none of my tryings come up to that engraved beauties, but every little modification can be considered as a message to the world through your wristwear.

engraved by István Szijjártó, captured by @RetekG

My real mod was only a dial change. Don’t laugh, it’s way more easy to get the tools and watch some tutorials on YouTube, but for me the hard part was to be brave and confident enough to do it.

I purchased a Pagani Design PD-1652, which seems to be a good base for modding with its NH35 movement, aka the Seiko 4R35. It’s so easy to find compatible parts. I discovered a huge variety of aftermarket dials, bezels, bezel inserts or hands and even cases and bracelets.


I have chosen a Namokimod MM Sunburst Grey dial which reminds me to the Rolex Yachtmaster. The bezel is given, but I have to find a blue second hand in the future. So I have a case back remover, a movement holder, rodico, a dial protector, a dust blower, screws, tweezers, a hand remover and a hand installer and a loupe. That’s the arsenal of tools you need for a simple moding.

There are many tutorials on how to exactly do the following steps and I recommend to check them out, because it’s more useful, so I won’t write down the details. First of all I had to remove the display caseback than pull out the crown. When the crown is out, I gently lift up the movement from the case. All of the steps need your full attention for the first time, practise makes it perfect.

Be careful and do not touch it with your fingers. Use rubber gloves or finger cots. Then I applied the dial protector before removing the hands. It’s easy to separate the dial from the movement. The new dial has more legs to be compatible more movements, so I had to remove some and let the correct ones to fit and I repeated every steps reverse and “build” my watch. It sounds quick but belive me it’s not. Do your research and make your dream watch became a real one.

I hope you can take courage from reading this and give you the motivation you need to start altering your wristwatch. I see modding is a controversial topic. Is it ok to modify parts what is originally designed for us? Let’s discuss it on the forum.

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