The 7th Doctor’s Pocket Watch – Replica Build: Version 2.
The 7th Doctor’s pocket watch? What, again? But I’ve already done this one, haven’t I? Well yes I have, so don’t worry, this isn’t a case of deja vu that you’re suffering from, I’m just giving it another go. No, no – come back. This isn’t going to be another of my over long and waffling posts, trust me, it’ll be quite brief, I promise. Or as brief as I can be.
Here’s one I made earlier.
Crap, isn’t it?
As I said in the original build post, I only did this as a half arsed attempt because although I already had all the parts and knew that there would be several things wrong with it, it only came to be as I was at a loose end one day. Well, having completed it, almost immediately I began to hate it and very nearly didn’t post it up here on the blog, but in the end thought, ‘Ah – what the hell.’ I could live with it being very slightly undersized, but it was the detailing on the lid that bugged me no end and so I just had to rectify this. It’s the curse of being a perfectionist.
So then, what’s wrong with the original build?
A few things actually. For a start, the gold plating had pretty much faded away to an almost silver finish in some places, but I could live with that and just sum it up to the prop being aged, worn and weathered. I actually don’t mind the build of the watch face with the digital read-out, that was perfectly okay, nothing really wrong there at all really, but it was the lid face that irked me beyond all belief - it’s just too plain because it’s missing huge swathes of detailing, especially in the background of the hunting scene. I was hoping at the time that once I’d put some paint on there, I’d be able to hide the fact, but if anything, it made woeful lack of detail all the more obvious.
The more I looked at it in comparison to the original prop, the more I realised just how basic the lid’s hunting scene sculpt was on my version, it just lacked any clarity or definition and to be frank, you’d have thought that a child had done it. So, not only was it bereft various details, what details were included, were far too basic in their realisation. This spurred me on to find a replacement… and so I did.
Click the above, as always, to embiggen the image. Here you’ll see some alternative models for the pocket watch casing that I’ve come across in my searches. One of them is an almost identical match to the original, seen here on the far right hand side of the picture montage. I’ll talk about each model below.
Incidentally, the original prop watch was gold in colour, but you can buy these watches either in that or silver. The images here are just for illustrational purposes.
PHILIP MERCIER: This model seems to be the most common version available out there and is what I used on my first stab at the prop. It’s okay if you’re not too bothered about having things just perfect. The main problem with it is the hunting scene, it’s far too basic a sculpt, for example, the hunter’s face is quite blobby and his rifle is crudely depicted. There’s also simply no background detailing at all behind the hunter and his dogs. It looks very sparse there because of this and despite my earlier efforts, painting it up only accentuates the problem - please see my original build at the top of this page.
Other issues with it are; it’s quite a slim watch, so when you come to place the digital Casio inside of it, the fit is quite tight, requiring you to press on the rear plate very hard to snap it shut. The “winder” is completely the wrong shape and the over all width of the piece is approximately 45mm (1.75″) – which is fractionally undersized to the TV original.
I’d give this an accuracy score of: 5/10.
CITRON: Having been pointed in the direction of this blog, a chap over at Gallifrey Base, a poster by the name of Mark Quested, found another pocket watch on eBay, the “Citron” brand. I was quite impressed by his find and was almost tempted to purchase the same make, but none seemed to be around at the time of my digging for alternatives.
This model is better. For a start it has the correct shaped winder and the hunting scene seems to be quite busy with almost the right density of tree foliage, far better than that on the Mercier watch. Unfortunately it too has nothing in the background, but having said that, you could probably get away with this brand better than you could the other.
Just like the previous model, this one is quite slim and undersized.
Accuracy score: 7/10.
STELLAR: I’m not actually sure how widely available this model is. I found mine quite by chance in an estate’s clearance sale, it was listed as a vintage model… it was also listed as silver, but when it turned up on my doorstep, much to my surprise, is was actually gold – which saved me a small fortune in gold plating costs.
If you can find one, get this model, it’s almost perfect.
Not only does it have the correct shaped winder, but it’s also quite a chunky build, allowing the Casio to sit comfortably inside of it with a fair amount of play. The aperture size of the face plate is marginally wider too which gives a truer reflection of the proportions of the tv prop. If anything, it does make me wonder now whether the original was actually this more common modern era size, (1.75″ or 45mm) rather than the 1800s larger scale (2″ or 51mm) – having said this, the Stellar watch is slightly wider at 48mm in diameter which is a huge bonus because it reads better and is a half way house between the two sizes in question.
Where this model really comes into its own and tops the rest of those currently available is in the hunting scene – it’s identical. The hunter himself is correctly detailed (replete with beard and moustache), his rifle is more refined and correctly proportioned, the dogs look like dogs, rather than vaguely dog shaped and the foliage density is absolutely spot on, but the best bit is that there is actually a background to the scene! Look at the original, then look at this model. Behind the hunter is a bridge over a river, you can just seen it under the tip of the rifle (to the right side of the hunter) in the provided screen grab, it’s here too. Fantastic!
Accuracy score: 9/10.
UPGRADING MY REPLICA BUILD:
There’s not terribly much that I can tell you about the update as it was just a matter of swapping over the original digital watch and its face plate into the new pocket watch casing, then painting it up as I did previously (I’ll come back to this point in a moment) and then finally attaching the snake chain to finish it off.
First off, I needed to paint the inside of the new lid in a matt black finish, just as I did with my first attempt. To mask off the areas that I didn’t want to end up spraying with black out of a rattle can, I used sulphur free clay (plasticine to you and me) and good old tin foil, nicked from the kitchen when nobody was looking.
Once that was all done and dusted, it was on to the next and final phase. The lid decoration.
The paint application last time round for this section was partially made up because on-screen, Sylvester McCoy covers the lid with his finger as you see him snap the watch closed. Obviously I couldn’t tell what was under his digit and so I had to make it up as I went along. This time however was a little different as I was provided with the perfect piece of reference material from the original maker, Mike Tucker, please step forward and take a bow…
I have to admit that while I was over the moon at finally getting to see what was physically on the lid after 24 years of wondering, the reality was actually a little disappointing. It only had a four tone colour palette, much of the paint had worn off to reveal the gold underneath and I loathed the colour of the hunter’s trousers and shoes! Oh well, that’s what it was like and so that’s what I’d recreate – with a few very minor personal tweaks.
Just for the sake of it, to the right in the image above, you can see how crude the back of the face plate is. I’ve just glued the Casio wrist watch innards to the reverse of the plate with a dab of silicone in each corner. Simple.
Now for a couple of shot montages showing the completed piece. Apologies in advance for the washed out nature of them, the lighting is terrible here today and the camera was running out of power which played havoc with the colour balance and the focus…
I elected not to wear away the enamel on the lid as per the original, though in time I may do this if the fancy takes me. Right now, it doesn’t.
There, much better and this time I don’t hate it – which is a good sign, but I still need to get used to the lid’s colour scheme, although as represented here it’s not quite as it appears in hand. The hues look slightly deeper in real life and there are subtle variations to the green of the vegetation, which the camera also hasn’t picked up here.
Extra special thanks must go to Mike Tucker as he contacted me just after I posted my first attempt and very kindly he filled me in on a few extra facts regarding his original build. After a bit of conversing back and forth, the true colouration of the details for the hunting scene on the lid came to light, as I’ve already mentioned - so a massive bout of appreciation goes to him from me personally just for that. Finally that little mystery has been cleared up and I can sleep better at night now!
You remember at the start that I said that this would be a brief blog posting? Well, I lied.
EDIT: 28th September 2012
I’ve just recharged the camera to allow me to get a few nicer shots that aren’t washed out and here they are below. Thanks to “Gene Hunt” for giving it the once over with a bit of colour correction.
There. Not too shabby.
EDIT: 29th September 2012
Oh, crap. It looks like I’m about to embark on version 3 of this ruddy project now. Will I ever be happy? Probably not.