modifying a Guanqin watch

2022.10.18 (updated : 2023.09.10)

After seeing a review on Youtube, I ordered a Guanqin watch from a website in China. I really like the case design and the way it fits - it's perhaps the best fit for my wrist that I have. The model number is GJ16034; it was only ¥8,700 when I bought it (it's now much more). The manufacturer claims that the case is "tungsten steel". I'm not sure how to verify that, but I do enjoy the look of the highly-reflective bezel in particular.

So far, so good. But as the months went on I decided that the white hands, though attractive, were hard to read on the silver dial. I cast about on various websites and found a pair of blue hands to replace the white ones. I also decided that I'd prefer the lugs to be brushed, so I did that too. I have all the tools and I've done this before, but you'll note that despite my efforts I managed to scratch the dial while replacing the hands. I love the result nonetheless. The big silver dial tends to shine like a beacon on my wrist, and the slender blue hands are the perfect offset. If this watch was still as affordable as it once was, I'd order a second one and some brown hands for a change of pace.

a watch on a singularly unpleasant piece of marble

I put the thing on a bracelet I'd previously purchased from strapcode. It's a "Miltat" and it's terrible despite costing as much as the Guanqin itself. I had to sand the underside to prevent it from hurting my wrist -- something I didn't get to before it had raised a varicose vein in my wrist. You can see the end-link has rolled back strangely in the pic above -- it doesn't have anything to stop it from doing so. Thanks Miltat!

I don't have much else to say about this model: it's got a reliable NH36 movement from Seiko, and sapphire crystal. It's rated to "3 bar" water resistance, which I believe because the crown does not screw down. The crown itself is too small for the case, I have a heck of a time winding the thing.

I'm pleased with the watch and have developed a taste for modding. So I put the original hands from the Guanqin on another of my watches!

but that's another story

P.S. Enjoy the comments below, this page wound up a dumping-ground for them because the site is old and I re-use page ID's over the years.

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review: Olympus 35DC

Hi Michael,

fine review, tks! But concerning your workaround in low light conditions, maybe I can give u some advice. i don't know the oly DC but have owned several rc's. provided the dc has the same basic technique, e.g. a galvanometer setting the proper time and/or aperture, u can "switch off" the low light block quite easy. at the rc, u have to remove the bottom body plate (two or three screws) to see the galvanometer. the needle of this is moved according to the light falling into the cds cell, and if u press the shutter, a kind of multi-teethed halfmoon plate clicks into the needle at its position, a kind of mechanical readout of the needles position. if the needle moves too far (or too narrow, don't remember, but it's easy to figure out) due to low light, there is a second lever which blocks the shutter. the only thing you have to do is tu glue in (very carefully in order not to glue other things together!) a small sheet of thin brass or alloy or even plastics to prevent the needle's movement to ever reach this critical point. take care that you don't block it too far out, since then you wouldn't ever reach the lowest time/biggest aperture setting but instead something a step before. I know, this all sounds a bit complicated, but it's easyer done than written down.

after this modification, my rc always takes a picture. of course you risk heavy underexposing if you try to use this trick in VERY dark places since you never get more light in than - in case of the rc - 1/15 sec and f 2.8 let in. but on the other hand, you at least have the chance to get something on film instead of nothing. i'm doing only b/w with my little rf's, ilford xp2 or kodak t-max 400, which gives me enough flexibility.

rgds and have fun, Robert

Robert Birnbaum
2009.03.29 11:46:10

Wow! Great tip, Robert. While the thought of performing surgery on my darling little camera gives me pause, perhaps other readers will follow your advice.


Hi! The 2 versions of the 35DC are indeed different as you described, but the shutter free button of the 1st version was transferred to the Battery Check button on the 2nd version as it is stated in the manual. So, the B.C. button on the 2nd version has a dual function. Hope this helps those looking for info on this very nice camera. Congratulations on the review. Regards, Ricardo

Ricardo Miranda
2017.05.22 15:56:15

Thanks for that, Ricardo!


Hey there! I´m scrollin the internet and it lead me to your website. I just bought this camera and I am lookin for someone who can help me with it. I don´t know what is going on, but I can´t set ISO settings higher than 100. The ring is working, the numbers of ISO value are rotating correctly, but just in the range 25-100, above 100 I can use all my force but, can´t rotate the ring. I dissassambled the lens, clean everything, use some vaseline. When I built it back and left settings on ISO 400, let´s say, everything is working smooth and perfect, but when I go back bellow ISO 100 and then wanna use ISO 200, the ring is blocked and it is driving me CRAZY. Do u know what can be a problem? Thank you very much :) Jakub, Slovakia

2018.08.24 15:32:18

Hi, Jakub;

If you're able to disassemble and repair a lens, you know more than I do. I'm afraid my unit just plain wore out, despite two efforts at the repair shop. They're wonderful little cameras, and I'd certainly buy another if they came back on the market but these cameras don't seem to have been built with a 40-plus year lifespan in mind.

Best of luck, at least yours works in good light. 8^)


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