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Namoki Watch Parts Review

Let’s build a custom watch

Watch modding has quickly become a popular segment in the watch enthusiast community. Simple mods like handset or bezel insert changes have morphed over the years into modders building an entire watch from scratch. Modders are no longer content to take an SKX007 and change a few parts to make it fit their style. Watch modding companies, like Namoki, have started creating their cases, dials, and more. A few years ago, two people could have a similar-looking modded watch. Today, the possibilities are so vast that it may be impossible for modders to create the same watch as someone else unwillingly. 

Namoki reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in coming up with my custom build using their parts. While I am not someone who mods every watch they own, I’ve enjoyed the process of putting the piece together as I’ve done in our DIY Watch Club reviews. Namoki let me pick any parts I wanted for this build, and once they arrived at my doorstep, I assembled it and took some glamour shots. Let’s jump in and see how the parts stack up and how the final watch looks when completed.

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The Parts List

One of my favorite watches is the Seiko SPB149. It has been my favorite release from Seiko in the past several years, and I thought it would be fun to create the watch modders version of that watch. The parts I selected for this build are below (with links if you want to create your version). Namoki has offered a 5% discount if you use coupon code “WATCHCLICKER5” or click here.

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While this parts list won’t create the wildest-looking mod you’ve ever seen, it fits in perfectly with my style and the look I was going for (Seiko SPB149). After all, that is the point of modding a watch to fit the wearer’s taste. 

Parts Quality

Watch modding parts are ubiquitous in today’s market, and they range from the cheapest of the cheap you can find on eBay to custom-made parts that can cost as much as a completed watch. Namoki fits in the middle, offering parts that look great and don’t cost a fortune. A completed build like the one we’re building here will cost you about as much as an entry-level Seiko diver ($400-450), and considering how much fun it is to build a watch like this, it is well worth the price of entry.

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When the parts arrived, they were packaged neatly in blue Namoki-branded tins.

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I unpackaged everything and quickly reviewed it to ensure nothing had QC issues. Everything looked good to my eyes, and I was thrilled with the quality of the parts. The lume on the dial, hands, and bezel was even and applied generously. The case and bracelet were protected and arrived with no scratches, and the movement began ticking right away after I removed it from the holder. After my inspection, it was time to put the watch together. Any imperfections you see on the parts were from me being clumsy or dust I forgot to remove while building the watch. 

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Building the Watch

Because of the multiple kits I’ve assembled from DIY Watch Club and a few modding tools I had purchased over the years, I had a plethora of tools that were needed to put the watch together. If you don’t have any modding tools, a short list of tools will be required to assemble a watch when you purchase the parts from a company like Namoki. 

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If you plan on assembling one watch and not going much further, tools from Amazon or another online retailer will suit you just fine. However, you are likely to find that watch modding is an addition, and you’ll want to upgrade some of the more frequently used tools to make modding easier. Below is a list of the tools that will be needed at a minimum to assemble a watch (links are to Namoki and Amazon). Most watch tool kits will have these tools (except the crystal press), but I recommend buying the Bergeon version if your budget allows it.

A few videos on YouTube (including some of my own) provide more detail about building a watch, but I will outline the steps here. Putting a watch together using parts from Namoki is straightforward for most beginners. Everything Namoki sells is compatible and plug-and-play if you buy parts for the same platform. For example, everything for this build is based on the SKX013 platform, so you’ll want to make sure you buy parts for that platform. Generally, you can’t mix parts from two platforms (e.g., SKX007 and SKX013).

1 – Attach the dial to the movement. The dial will usually come with 4 feet. These are to orient the date window opening at 3 or 4 o’clock. Check the holes on your movement and line it up with how the dial should be oriented on the movement. Note the position of the two feet that align correctly and snap off the other two. The feet will friction fit into the movement.

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2 – Attach the hands. Pull the crown as if you were going to set the time. Spin the crown until you see the date about to click over. Stop spinning the crown as soon as it clicks over the next date. Align the hour hand at 12 o’clock and use the hand setting tool to attach it. Be sure it is parallel with the dial. Repeat this process with the minute hand. Ensure that when the minute hand is pointing at 12 o’clock, the hour hand is perfectly centered on the marker it is pointing to. The seconds hand can be attached no matter where the hour and minute hands are on the dial. Be gentle when attaching the seconds hand, and take your time. It barely needs any pressure to attach. Spin the hands around the dial to ensure they do not hit each other.

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3 – Install the crystal. Installing a crystal with a press is pretty straightforward. You select the dies that fit the diameter of the crystal (slightly smaller than the crystal) and the watch (pick one that allows the watch to sit on the die without contacting the opening for the crystal. Hand-fit the crystal and give it a slight press to start seating it. Make sure it is not sticking up on one end. Use the press to seat the crystal in. Sometimes you will hear a pop when it is seated correctly.

4 – Case the watch. Remove the crown from the movement. Install the chapter ring and align the opening for the crown on the movement with the opening on the case. Carefully put the movement/dial into the case. If it gets lopsided, remove it and try again. It will seat with a little bit of pressure. Flip the watch over to ensure it is aligned correctly. 

5 – Cut the stem and install the crown. The crown stem will be way too long out of the box. There are various ways to measure how long the stem needs to be, but I’m a “measure once, cut 40 times” type of person. I remove small increments from the stem until the crown screws in, and it pops out when you unscrew it.

6 – Screw on the caseback, but do not tighten it all the way until you are 100% finished.

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7 – Install the bezel and insert. If your bezel is not attached, seat the click spring into the case and snap the bezel on. You can use your hands or the crystal press if it is giving you trouble. You should hear a click when it seats. Rotate the bezel to make sure it is not in between positions. Remove the adhesive from the insert, line up the bezel with the dial/chapter ring, and press down firmly.

8 – Secure the caseback tightly and install your bracelet/strap. Done

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Some of these steps require practice, especially hand setting. Take your time, and don’t be afraid to start over or repeat a step until you are happy. 

The Completed Watch

I don’t think there is anything like finishing the last step of building a watch and setting the time. This is when you understand why watch modding has exploded like it has. Picking out the parts you want on a watch and putting it together is immensely satisfying. I’ve never been one to want a “one-off” watch, but if you are, this process will undoubtedly be the thorn that scratches that itch.

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This process also creates one of the best conversation pieces you will ever have on your wrist. Even if no one asks, showing people the watch you built and describing the process is fun. I’ve talked it through with a few friends I have that are not watch people, and they all found it fascinating. Some even went on Namoki or another mod site to see what they would build. No one has done it yet, but it’s fun to see. 

On the Wrist & Final Thoughts

My SPB149 homage comes in at 38mm wide, 46.3mm lug-to-lug, and 13.5mm thick (11mm wrist-to-crystal). I was pleasantly surprised at how comfortable the case was. Namoki put some thought into creating a 62MAS-style case that is a little bit smaller than the SPB14X series cases but still carries the same comfort as those watches. The only thing I’d like to see Namoki adjust is the endlinks on the bracelet. Male endlinks add unnecessary length to the watch, and female endlinks would look much better and reduce the perceived length. 

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The watch I created feels just as good as some more affordable watches I’ve purchased, and in some ways, it is even better. I appreciate Namoki giving options to mix things up with your build or keep them consistent. For example, I chose C3 for the dial’s lume to match the bezel’s lume. However, they also offer BGW9 if you want a different color lume than the bezel (or simply a different color if you chose an unlumed bezel).

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There are plenty of watch modding companies out there. A few years ago, it felt like the Wild West when ordering parts from Photobucket listings. I’m happy brands like Namoki are embracing the watch modding community and working on expanding their offerings. It’s fun to mod an existing watch, but it’s even more fun to come up with your watch. The best part about the latter is that when your taste changes or you just want to mix it up, it is easy to buy some new parts and make the watch look new again. Namoki may have sponsored this build, but they’ve created a future customer in me.

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Check out more Watch Modding articles at the Watch Clicker here

Check out the Namoki website here

More Images of the Namoki Watch Build

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  1. are you able to see the minute markers clearly when looking directly at the dial? from your pictures it looks like the trackers are hidden under the ‘rim’ of the sapphire crystal.

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