The Watch Site banner

1 - 20 of 24 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
532 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I own a vintage crystal press with an odd assortment of metal, plastic and some brittle poly carbonate. Ive smashed a few dies and ruined at least 2 crystals.
I've successfully replaced 1 crystal on a 7548 and I have struggled on a few 6309's and needed my trusty watch repairer to help.
I would like to be able to do this more regularly.
I've attached a pic of the press. Am I better to start from scratch with a new one or just go new dies?
Also brands and links would be helpful.
I don't want to pay through the roof.
I did see a small af screw down press on eBay but I think it was for watch backs. It's starting bid was $90 but it's probably gone by now.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,125 Posts
I just brought a cheap one off ebay with a load of dies included and since have not broke a single crystal. I had one like yours before with a load of dies but none that probably came with it new and I think I broke about 75% of all the crystals I tried ot change with it. I just made sure the one I brought the seller had a good rating and it came with a bucket load of dies.

T
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,125 Posts
Thanks. How many dies? I've seen a standard 12!being the norm???

This is the one I got from this seller in the UK:
181020860560

But you can never have enough dies ;) The one I brought has done fine for everything so far. It has 12 dies.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
640 Posts
That press looks to be well made - if there's little play in the plunger and the dies meet up square and central to each other then I'd be tempted to see if you can find a nylon die set that fits. Bear in mind that the centre holes need to be a good fit to the press if you do.

The difficulty with cheap presses isn't applying enough force, it's having the force applied crooked or off-centre. It takes very little pressure to fit a crystal if it's pressed straight but, if you press crooked, then the more you push the more it binds - the same applies to fitting most watch backs.

If you do replace then my personal favourite is the Robur screw press. They're about £175 new but you can add double that for a die set. But they allow more controlled pressure than a lever, they do the job every single time, and they won't wear out in your lifetime. They come up on EBay occasionally for reasonable money

The AF ones will probably work just as well, except that they all seem to have a simple screw thread which means the top die will want to rotate unless you hold it - the Robur uses a sliding spindle with an internal thread so that the die doesn't turn.

In new lever presses I'm actually quite a fan of the "better made" cheapies - the ones Cousins sell for around £25. Some people don't like them but I've been using one as a quick press for about 15 years now and never failed to fit a crystal or back with it, Avoid the really cheap ebay ones - they work ok-ish for most backs, but are hopeless for crystals!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
38 Posts
The difficulty with cheap presses isn't applying enough force, it's having the force applied crooked or off-centre.
Agree, I got a cheap one like the eBay item above and it's so badly out of alignment it's useless!

The die that come with are good quality though and I use them with a G-clamp instead. So much easier to slowly and steadily press a crystal in (checking it's straight as you go) and no chance of following through and destroying anything.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,125 Posts
Agree, I got a cheap one like the eBay item above and it's so badly out of alignment it's useless!

The die that come with are good quality though and I use them with a G-clamp instead. So much easier to slowly and steadily press a crystal in (checking it's straight as you go) and no chance of following through and destroying anything.
You do get what you pay for but for someone who only wants to change one or two crystals a year £300 is a bit extreme. The one I pointed out I got off ebay is actually not bad quality. It presses ok and does not have any real slack so it moves just fine. I had to tighten one bolt up but other than that it's been spot on. So far I have replaced about 15 crystals with it so I cannot moan. I had a old screw down type swiss press before which was totally useless and broke every crystal I put into it. Just saying it's not a terrible press I pointed out especially for the money.

I was a mechanic for years and only brought Snap-On tools. They were ok quality and bloody expensive. I spent well over £20,000 back in the 1980's/90's on their tools. When I left mechanics I sold the lot. Then I regretted that a few years later and started looking about for tools. I now buy a UK brand called Halfords which like Snap-On come with a lifetime warranty. The price of a complete Halfords socket set is about the same as a single 10mm Snap-On socket..... Just saying....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
532 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Good perspectives. I like the idea of screw on press for uniformity but I would likely also am only likely to do a few a year. I just got charged $28 aud for my watch man to reaseal and pressure test a 6309. I just gave him the crystal and gaskets.
It was the straw that tipped my original movement to stop keeping time- never been serviced.
I will definitely choose carefully.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,125 Posts
You can buy just the dies. Why not buy them first and try them with your press as it looks a real good quality one. Sorry I think someone already said to do this but i'm in my workshop and it's hard to get time to read all this. It's worth a try. I've seen the dies sold on their own in packs of 12 or more.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
532 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
You can buy just the dies. Why not buy them first and try them with your press as it looks a real good quality one. Sorry I think someone already said to do this but i'm in my workshop and it's hard to get time to read all this. It's worth a try. I've seen the dies sold on their own in packs of 12 or more.

I probably will do that. I just tried using the metal dies for a caseback issue and found it worked well.
I just have to make sure the dies will fit.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,125 Posts
I probably will do that. I just tried using the metal dies for a caseback issue and found it worked well.
I just have to make sure the dies will fit.
As long as they do not wobble then they don't actually have to fit the thread as it is likely they are metric. Just use some blue-tac in the hold to stop the die from falling off and make sure you have enough area on the press to stop the die wobbling. If your press is swiss made then that should also be metric anyway but possibly not the same size metric. I found the metal ones marked the bezel surrounds on the Pogue 6139-6000 series of watches where as the nylon ones don't :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,899 Posts
The one I have, no problems ..........

I got one of the Bay Blue press and white die's, about 10-12 of them
and that is what I have been using all this time. The pressure is the main thing when pressing and if out of alignment ......" It's going the Crystal". Its got to be done in patience and checking all the time, and
can't be rushed. That's what makes mistakes in a lot of things done.
Mine serves it purpose till now and no problems, and nothing has broken.
It cost me around ... " 20.00 something dollars but free post to Hawaii " but its great.
 

Attachments

·
Craftsman
Joined
·
3,725 Posts
That appears to be a BB crystal press and from the price it's listed at I'd say of good quality. I'd consider finding some new dies for it.
Here is a link:
http://www.ofrei.com/page236.html
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
345 Posts
I think the problem with the cheap Indian ones is that there is bound to be variation in the manufacture so I'm sure some of us have good ones and some not so good. Mine is hopeless and is way off horizontal. I have had some success with less tight fitting crystals but really tight ones had to be sent to Joe Horner!

By sheer chance I treated myself this week to a new Horotec screw down press as I'd sold something and felt like I wasn't spending my salary. It is superb and already I have succeeded with a really tight one that has thwarted me on and off for months and previously resulted in a damaged crystal to boot.

I'm sure there are great less expensive ones out there but for me the new one has put a real smile on my face. I am easily pleased though...
 
1 - 20 of 24 Posts
Top