Jump to content

Vintage Homemade Crystal Press.............refurbished.

Recommended Posts

I purchased a cheap Chinese crystal press when I took up watch repairing/refurbishing a few years ago, this was one of the lever operated type with nylon dies. This has served me very well, but there are some jobs that a screw type of press is far better for because of the more sensitive control.

Being a canny Scot, I kept an eye on eBay for a second hand Robur or Horotec and stumbled across this antique home made press for £14 delivered.


The engineer in me immediately saw the potential, all it needed was stripped down, modified to take new dies and repainted.

The other thing that was required was a set of new aluminium dies, so after a search on AliExpress I purchased these for £26 delivered from China.


Right, down to business.

(1) Modify the lower die holder to accept the 6mm threaded alloy dies.


(2) Make an adaptor to fit the bottom of the ram with a 6mm thread to take the dies.

(3) Machine the lower end of the pillar to give clearance for the largest die.


(4) Accurise the dies to ensure that the faces are parallel. Many were slightly out of truth.



(5) Remove paint and rust from press, paint and polish.


(6) Reassemble.


Total cost of complete set £40.................well pleased!



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

PS didn't know you had a lathe. Wish I had room for one

Wouldn't be without it CB, I also have a lightweight milling machine. I put together a machine shop when I was building target pistols many years ago, now it so handy for both my motorcycle and horology interests.



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Looks great Geo, nice work. It reminds me that I bought a press very similar to yours meaning to convert it to take various dies I already have. You've inspired me to have another look at it, although I'll have to try and figure out a way to do it without the use of any similar equipment :). Not that easy when you're not particularly mechanically minded! Thanks for sharing.


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Very nice set-up. Couldn't help noticing the tiles on the wall is it the kitchen or the bathroom? :)

Thanks for the kind comment BL. It was a kitchen some time in the past.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Topics

  • Posts

    • so it looks like i don't need the 423 core part, but only the part that has the teeth, which i hope is part 421 since thats what i'm trying to get quotes for. here is the link for the patek video    
    • Looks like a interesting video, do you have the link to it saved? Have you looked if the part nr 4 isn't actually 2 pieces? The lower which is in contact with the winding pinion might have a upper removable part called a crown wheel core. I think it used to be called no 423 in other Patek movements. The core usually fitts on the upside the lower crown wheel. It has a bronze bushing fitted to it when the bridge goes into place. If you look closely at the lower picture you can see it most likely is a two piece part. Push in the middle of the wheel with some appropiate tool to see if it doesn't split appart.  
    • Yes, those Esembl-O-Graf booklets/DVD, etc. would be very handy indeed. I remember seeing them being sold at NAWCC marts. But since I was only interested in pocket watches at the time, I never snagged any. I do remember a friend buying a bunch of them. Good thought. I had forgotten about them.  
    • I think you’re referring to a comment I made in your post about Seiko mainsprings. I did not say he was the master, I said something along the lines of I think he has a bit of experience with the Seiko 7S series of movts.   I’ll add my experience with the 700x series which is the basis for the 7S series and beyond:   - The GR springs are close but not exactly equivalent to the springs I’ve extracted from 7002 barrels - they were slightly thinner and not quite as wide. I found, and your experience may be different, that the original used MS worked better than a new GR equivalent.   - I’ve had terrible difficulty cleaning and re-greasing the barrel and mainsprings for these movts. I’ve used 8217 and found using the same quantity I might use in a 6309 allowed the spring to slip too soon and too dramatically. If I cut the quantity in half it worked better but still not great. I have not tried using a lot more nor have I used Kluber.   - I eventually stopped screwing around with splitting these barrels open since Seiko never intended for them to be and started using factory new replacements which come complete and ready to install.   - BUT, and it’s a big but, while I can get expected reserve out of the factory new replacements when wound at the ratchet screw I and some members on one of the Japanese watch forums have experienced issues with building reserve when worn. Not certain if it the reduction wheel being worn down or the hooks on the pawl levers not quite being sharp enough to wind the watch efficiently. Or maybe sitting at my desk during the day isn’t enough activity for these movts.     Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  • Create New...