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I'm new to watch repair so I figured I'd put my first technical post here.

I purchased a working Tissot pocket watch  with a 38.2 caliber movement off eBay for my first attempt at servicing. The watch is beautiful and seemed to hold decent time. I disassembled it and it looked reasonably clean but here is some dried oil so it definitely needs a service. 

I stripped it down all the way to the base plate but with one jewel remaining.  The jewel is held in by a small "plate" for lack of better word and retained by a very small screw. When I tried to remove the screw, I couldn't get the screw driver to engage the slot well and I ended up bending the tip of my .6 mm screwdriver. Upon close inspection it looks like someone had previously broke off the tip of a screwdriver in the screw slot and it's stuck in there preventing me from getting a good bite with my screw.

This picure isn't great but it's the best I can get with my cell phone. All of those pry marks and "most" of the scratches were already there.

mir_20221128_135923.thumb.jpg.61df4a50106751ed595166e58a65ca06.jpg

Any ideas how I can get that screw out or am I just, ahem...screwed? If it were on one of my cars or something I would break out the torch or grab an easy out, but I don't think that's an option here.

Thanks,

Ross

Edited by Rossman
Grammar!
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Seeing as how there's a remnants of a screwdriver blade in their you'll have to get that out of the way. But it is a clue that this crew doesn't want to come out and taking it out might not be in your best interest. Otherwise try a slightly bigger screwdriver and push out of the side and see if you get the come out. The problem with the screws like this or any of the screws that hold in the jewels they tend to get stripped with time is a really tiny and small. It's conceivable even that this one's not coming out because somebody might've Loctite edited in place or something. So in a case of the end up with a stripped screw that's a problem also so at least you have it in place and it works just as bad whale inside perhaps.

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Thank you @JohnR725 for your response.  I've tried digging out the screw driver tip.  It seems to be wedged in there tight.  Let me know if there is some other tool besides another screw driver that I might use to dig it out. 

Your point is well taken regarding the possibility of adhesives.  If I cannot dig out the screw driver tip, I may just clean the part and jewel as-is as best I can and move on.

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Okay here's the problem with things like this do you really have to take it out? Some of it depends upon how you clean your watches for instance at work we have a really expensive cleaning machine that would clean this without disassembly but if you thought a bottle of lubrication was expensive were not even going go into how expensive the machine at work as to so I wouldn't normally worry about taking it off. Then there's the other problem even if you can get the screw out you may find that it's stripped that's why somebody broke the screwdriver tip in the first place they jammed in a screw and called it quits and now no one will ever take it out so if you can make it work without taking it apart you just save yourself a lot of problem.

 

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I appreciate your point of view. You're told a proper service includes removing the end stones, cleaning and buffing with a leather to a mirror finish, dropping them in the epilame bottle then adding the proper percentage of oil to the stone before carefully replacing to as not to disturb. Based on a few of the movements I've been working on it's good to know the experts plop some whale oil down the hole and leave a bit of screwdriver behind as a bonus 🙂..

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OK, you need to determine the end game.  Are you training on this watch? Is this an heirloom?  Does this belong to your best friend for life?  These are important questions for an amateur watchmaker--which I am.

If this is a learner watch.  Go for all the possible methods and see what work for the next REAL repair.

If this is an heirloom.  Let the screw remain in place and move  on.

If this is for your friend (and you are doing this as a favor with no compensation), leave the screw alone.

If someone is paying you $1000 to service this watch, well, yeah...first buy a donor, and then get cleaver to see what works--but the end of the day...leave it alone!

Don't let perfection be the enemy of the good.

 

Edited by LittleWatchShop
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On 12/6/2022 at 9:22 AM, JohnR725 said:

at work we have a really expensive cleaning machine that would clean this without disassembly

I had no idea such a machine existed! I use a 70-year-old ELMA (1. ELMA RED 1:9, 2. De-ionised water, 3. IPA) and although it's doing a decent job I consider it a rough cleaning and the actual cleaning must always be done by hand (before and after the machine cleaning). That is, the ELMA won't make the jewels, pinions, and pivots spotless, and pegging is an absolute requirement.

As a matter of fact, when servicing I spend at least as much time cleaning (if not more) as I do assembling and oiling unless repairs are involved.

So, what's the name of this "really expensive cleaning machine" that's doing magical things? 😮

 

On 12/7/2022 at 3:19 AM, LittleWatchShop said:

Don't let perfection be the enemy of the good.

That sentence went straight into my quote collection! 👍

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4 minutes ago, VWatchie said:

I had no idea such a machine existed!

Yes the machine does a fantastic job of cleaning.

When you're on the page reading about that there is a video definitely watch the video. Currently I'm laughing at the video because were not using their cleaning products were using L&R  products. One cleaning bath  two separate rinses and isopropyl alcohol because the rinse won't dry without alcohol. Apparently that was recommended by the manufacture. Then I'm having a laugh?

Okay so what am I finding so funny initially they show you how to fill up the containers notice how  at a rather high distance up they pour it and it effortlessly goes into a container and not one drop spills on the floor or my shoes. Every time I've tried to get fluid into the machine I end up with fluid getting some place undesirable typically on the floor or my shoes. Never have that problem at home when I'm pouring stuff but usually I'm pouring it into a jar and it's really close it something about the way those containers are shaped and and trying to get the gallon container near it to etc.

What makes the machine interesting which it does show that the fluid was up into the chamber by way of a vacuum. So when it's running and cleaning with two different ultrasonic frequencies it's under a vacuum so there are no bubbles that get trapped anywhere like with End stones on pocket watches for instance. So typically all hell most never have to take jewels apart and everything comes out clean and shiny it's never a problem. Or basically I get really spoiled because this thing doesn't really really nice job of cleaning but at its price better do something.

Now the video is not as nice as it could be had really be nice if it would actually show the machine running. Best because it makes us sound like Darth Vader breathing as such the fluid up in the machine in a swirling around making ultrasonic and then the fluid is pumped back out it makes a really interesting super loud but it's a rather interesting sound of thing makes.

So yes it's definitely on your list of the cleaning machine you should have but I saw the price for it and that was several years ago I think it was around give or take a little bit $16,000. Then there is maintenance like we had the change the activated carbon filter one time in the past and a bunch of little filters and somewhere in there in the manual is a reference to every hundred thousand miles I don't read the actual hours the entire machine has to go somewhere and have a whole bunch of stuff changed on it. I don't know what were going to do when that happens. But if you want a fantastically good cleaning this is the machine to guess it's just that you have to be doing serious production the make this thing worthwhile.

https://www.elma-ultrasonic.com/en/products/watch-cleaning/elmasolvex-va#tabs|p1123:downloads

 

 

 

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45 minutes ago, JohnR725 said:

So yes it's definitely on your list of the cleaning machine you should have but I saw the price for it and that was several years ago I think it was around give or take a little bit $16,000

Had a good look at the video and I was impressed. As you say, not a drop being spilt and the machine also nullifies gravity. Magic! 😆

Well, as an enthusiast I overhaul perhaps 10 watches per year, so totally worth the money for me. Cousins have it for $15523 (approx. $20000 with tax, shipping and import fees) so I will place an order for it now. I'll order two (or maybe three) so I don't have to wait when I need to clean two or three of those 10 movements per year simultaneously. With those results, it's a true bargain! 🧐

Or... Maybe I'll just hold on to my $150 seventy-year-old ELMA... 🤔

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Yes it's definitely an interesting machine but hard to justify unless well unless you are service center. Or you trying to get a Rolex parts account or some other parts account like a Swatch group account. Then you have to buy all kinds of exotic stuff like this cleaning machine the two timing machines One specifically for quartz watches although it will do mechanical watches. But another words very expensive witschi timing machines. Various waterproof testing equipment and a bunch of other miscellaneous stuff all to show your worthy of Swiss parts. Now he didn't get the Rolex parts account and yes at the time when I knew he was doing this I knew it wasn't that I get it because nobody gets Rolex parts accounts almost nobody can in order to sell you have to spend way more money than this. I think basically Rolex no longer has any more at least in this country independent service providers if they exist it's only because they already existed otherwise they want you to be out watchmaker in a jewelry store so you'd end up having to have a boutique watches really expensive to make.

Did you notice on the cousins website how many cleaning machines for watches they have? A lot of them of all been discontinued although here's one it's a bargain price

https://www.cousinsuk.com/product/elma-solvex-se

Then yes the price of these machines are only justified to someone that's in a production shop. I don't even see how a single watchmaker working by themselves could ever pay for it unless they had a huge volume of watches. But somebody must build afford them because there's still making them.

 

 

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22 minutes ago, JohnR725 said:

Did you notice on the cousins website how many cleaning machines for watches they have? A lot of them of all been discontinued although here's one it's a bargain price

https://www.cousinsuk.com/product/elma-solvex-se

Yes, I think that could possibly be an excellent machine even for an enthusiast like myself. Sure, quite a bit of money, and there are many other tools and consumables we need to service watches that add up, but if we take it seriously and are no strangers to spending $2500 on a luxury watch, on some car accessory, some furniture, or something else that we don't really need, then I think we should invest in this cleaning machine instead. If I didn't have my old ELMA, I would probably pull the trigger on it.

Cleaning to a clinical state is absolutely crucial (and was gravely underestimated by myself when I was a beginner) if we want our movements to run as well as they can. Unfortunately, cleaning is, in my opinion, a pretty boring task, so any help we can get is definitely worth the money as long as it is within reach.

I feel inspired to pull the trigger on that Elma Solvex SE and sell my old ELMA 🤔

Yes, the parts restrictions put in place by the Swiss manufacturers are nothing but pure evil. Let the consumers decide who to trust their precious watches too. Sure, some watch owners are going to be cheated and disappointed, but most will get a service that is at least as good or better at a lower price. 

From my own experience, I don't trust branded workshops (much) when it comes to my car. Instead, I buy spare parts myself and let my Kurdish mechanic do the work. He has done that for me perfectly for the last 10 years. I see no reason why this couldn't also work for watches.

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On 12/8/2022 at 2:38 AM, VWatchie said:

I feel inspired to pull the trigger on that Elma Solvex SE and sell my old ELMA 🤔

 

That's what I did after my Pearl machine stopped working. I've run about 5 watches through it so far and get results as expected. One interesting note is that their customer service says the machine comes with a 2 year warranty but that is not indicated on the website and when asked via email they are unable to provide a copy of the warranty, which I believe runs counter to US federal law 🤷‍♂️  Luckily for me the service center they use for repairs is local to me so if I ever do need to have it serviced I won't have to ship it in its HUGE box.

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3 hours ago, GuyMontag said:

They also didn't charge tax for some reason.

Interesting about the tax? I wonder if it's a state thing because I thought now when they change the laws everybody gets to collect tax. I occasionally forget that on eBay purchase Then he get annoyed at the final check out as the price goes up because I forgot.

 

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On 12/10/2022 at 10:12 PM, GuyMontag said:

I was pleasantly surprised. I also just had a crystal delivered from them and again no tax.

Lucky you! I always have to add approx. 30 % (tax, import fees, shipping) off the listed prices when I shop from CousinsUK.

BTW, how happy are you with your Elma Solvex SE compared to your Pearl?

Edited by VWatchie
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I had mentioned elsewhere that Borel is actually a wholesaler,  their customers are typically retailers, but they should have asked you for docs for your business. The retailer would be responsible for sales tax.

I'm guessing a snafu, they have you as a business probably an assumption based on your purchase of pro equipment. 

 

Cheers!

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6 hours ago, VWatchie said:

Lucky you! I always have to add approx. 30 % (tax, import fees, shipping) off the listed prices when I shop from CousinsUK.

BTW, how happy are you with your Elma Solvex SE compared to your Pearl?

I haven't noticed any difference in cleaning results between the two. I was always happy with the Pearl when it worked but when it didn't the seller refused to provide any help even though there was a "warranty".  Having a business that actually stands behind their product was the reason I decided to get the SE.

What I do like about the Solvex SE compared to the Pearl is that liquid doesn't splash all over like it did on my Pearl. The rheostat works from 0 through 100%, and it is much easier when moving the basket between jars.

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13 minutes ago, dadistic said:

I had mentioned elsewhere that Borel is actually a wholesaler,  their customers are typically retailers, but they should have asked you for docs for your business. The retailer would be responsible for sales tax.

 

On 12/10/2022 at 8:41 AM, GuyMontag said:

They also didn't charge tax for some reason.

So with a minor problem in this discussion? Who gets charged sales tax?

It probably varies state-by-state. For instance where I work people who want a wholesale pricing And no tax have to produce paperwork. Maybe initially they can make a purchase but very rapidly they need paperwork because somebody has to pay the sales tax. So they have to have a resale permit and then they can get a wholesale price without sales tax.

Then I know from the material houses at least one of them she does not charge tax typically on watch parts because she considers at wholesale. But all consumable products like cleaning fluids in any of that she collects sales tax because the business is the final user. Then not reselling the cleaning machine so in the case of the cleaning machine here were no sales tax was paid it makes you wonder maybe they just don't collect sales tax at all?

 

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