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Bergeon Platax No. 2677 How to Guide.pdf Bergeon Platax No. 2677.pdf Background In the old days, before shock protection, I’m sure replacing balance staffs was one of the most common tasks for a watch repairer. They probably replaced several staffs every day. There are many ways to remove a balance staff. One very convenient and quick method is to use a Platax tool. However, this method is considered a destructive method by some repairers, meaning you can only replace the balance staff so many times before the hole in the centre of the balance wheel will become too wide. You can read a more about it here. I guess I would think twice or trice before using use a Platax tool on a Philippe Dufour balance. Anyway, for my standard ETA, Sellita, Unitas, Vostok, etc. balances I have no reservations about using a Platax tool. One dilemma with the Platax tool is that it has been discontinued by Bergeon (No. 2677). The offerings on eBay are few and far between, and as with everything else Bergeon, they are silly expensive. I would feel a bit embarrassed to let you know what I paid for my used copy which probably has seen hundreds if not thousands balance staffs in its life. Anyway, as with most everything else Bergeon, the quality of the tool is second to none, so I’m pretty sure I’d get my money back (if not more) should I decide to sell it in the future. That’s a major benefit with quality tools which makes it a lot easier to pull the trigger. So, how often do I expect to use this tool? Well, as all my watches so far have been equipped with shock protection and as I expect most future watches that I’ll be working on will be as well, the answer is, not very often. As a matter of fact, I expect it to be so rare that I might forget how to use my Platax tool when I need it the next time. For this reason, I decided to document my findings and that is what you’ll find in the attached PDF document. Do note that the document isn’t a tutorial, it is my personal notes, gathered from watching two YouTube videos (see below) and my own thinking and experimenting. For this reason, it is possible I got something backwards. If so, please let me know!
So I picked up this bad boy on eBay from someone in Spain. It's pretty messed up cosmetically, and missing a heeled bush and a removing punch. Considering all that, I definitely overpaid, but oh well. I don't know how rare these are to find on eBay, so I just decided to grab it. I scraped off all the old flaking paint and found a very similar color paint at Michaels. Not a very professional job and you can see some brush strokes, but all in all it's much better. I know the colors look off in the pictures, but that's a camera white balance issue. In real life the colors are very similar... a completely unattractive greenish gray oatmeal. Why Bergeon used this color I'll never know. Carefully removed the rust from the metal plate with steel wool and very very fine sandpaper. Did the same with the punches and bushes which had a nice coat of oxidation on them, then put them through the ultrasonic like they were watch parts. The original chrome plating had worn away on the top knurled nut, but not to fear! I busted out my little Caswell "Plug N Plate" kit and used "copy chrome" (real chrome plating is dangerous and pretty toxic apparently, but I can't see much of a difference between old chrome plate and Caswell's 'copy chrome' - looks about the same). The biggest unknown was if I could find replacement punches / bushes and yep! I just ordered them from perrinwatchparts.com... they were super expensive. I definitely overpaid for these, but again, oh well. I just wanted the tool to be complete. So ta da! I now have a Platax tool. I'm going to break out one of my many Bulova movements with a broken staff and experiment with using this tool on the poor thing. I don't know the I really needed this tool, per se. I have a nutcracker - type roller remover which works pretty well (I might have broken a few staffs by squeezing a little too much, but those staffs were broken anyway), and I have the little K & D balance remover tools for my staking set. I don't see how the Platax tool would be so so much better than the K & D tool, and I'd imagine any objections or concerns about the K & D tool widening the hole in the balance by using force instead of cutting out the old staff would also apply to the Platax tool, no? It also uses force to drive out the old staff while keeping the balance arms pinned. So maybe I didn't strictly need this, but when it popped up on eBay I couldn't resist, because I want to be able to follow along with what Mark does as closely as possible... and I'm still so new at doing this. So, now I have a Platax tool, a complete 'inverto' K & D staking set (got for under $100, go eBay!), and just picked up a Seitz Jeweling tool (ouch, that was too expensive). I am now wondering what other real watchmaker specific tools you need to have to be able to deal with most, if certainly not all, the issues you find on vintage watch movements ??? I mean, I'm not going to buy an old mechanical watch washer and put it in my one bedroom apartment in manhattan, not going to happen (at least, not if I don't want my husband to divorce me ). So I make do with a tiny, cheap Chinese made ultrasonic machine. And obviously, I'm not going to buy a lathe either, for similar reasons (space constraints, expense, plus wouldn't know how to even begin to use it)... but I'm wondering if I've covered almost everything else? In terms of being able to make watch parts, yeah, that's the holy grail. Living in manhattan comes with many advantages and disadvantages. The disadvantages are obviously space constraints and expense of living. But the advantages are there are lots and lots of resources. In fact, there are a few "Maker Spaces" in the city, which are co-ops you can join and you can use their tools, like CNC mills, CNC lathes, 3D printers, 3D scanners etc etc... you can join these co ops for not much money, and they teach you how to use the tools.... I know that the consensus so far is that 3D printing watch parts won't work, because the machines are not accurate enough on such a small scale. But the CNC lathes? The CNC mills? Could they do micro-machining, in theory? It's something to think about. I think I'll create another thread about that sometime. Maybe I can pick up some good tips. Anyway, hooray for overpriced watch tools! They are so much fun!