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Watch Press Tool is Binding


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I bought a watch case closer / crystal press off of AliExpress.  It binds when trying to cycle it.  I unscrewed the lower collar for the top and found a 3mm set screw in a 5mm non-threaded hole.  It is not a surprise that there was binding going on with that set screw swimming around in the hole.  The set screw was gouging up the shaft and damaging the collar threads (was rather hard to unscrew).  Has anyone had the same issue with these cheap Chinese presses?  I know that you often get what you pay for going on the cheap, but with some products you can get something that will work well without having to pay a premium price.

This is my first time ordering through AliExpress.  I contacted the seller and got the "I will check with our technical department. And I will let you know when I get the answer" and "but if I don't respond to you for a long time, Would you please contact me again?".  With that, I'm not optimistic dealing with the seller.  I regret not getting the press from Amazon.  Easier to return things or get a replacement.

If I don't hear back in a reasonable amount of time, I'll likely try to fix it myself.  Get a larger set screw and thread the hole for it.  Then clean up the shaft and grease it all up. 

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Edited by gpraceman
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  • gpraceman changed the title to Watch Press Tool is Binding

I'm sorry that you are having trouble. Buying cheap tools is an utter waste of money. When using tools you are relying on it to do its perfect job and not damage what you are working on.  I have seen reports on this tool that say it isn't even centered. 

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6 hours ago, oldhippy said:

I'm sorry that you are having trouble. Buying cheap tools is an utter waste of money. When using tools you are relying on it to do its perfect job and not damage what you are working on.  I have seen reports on this tool that say it isn't even centered. 

Well, that is highly debatable.  There certainly are cases where the old saying "buy cheap, buy twice" is true.  However, there are plenty of other cases where you can get a serviceable tool for far less, especially for a hobbyist's less frequent usage.  Of course, with many of the tools in this hobby, I do have to wonder how much of a markup there is just to have a brand name of Bergeon, Horotec, Dumont, etc. on the tool.  What's great about forums, like this, is it can help determine which of the budget tools will work fine and which to not bother with.

Edited by gpraceman
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Around 30 years as a clock and watch maker I think I know what I'm talking about. I had many different types of case openers and glass fitting tools, never did I have any trouble with any such as parts not fitting or not working properly.  

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6 minutes ago, oldhippy said:

Around 30 years as a clock and watch maker I think I know what I'm talking about. I had many different types of case openers and glass fitting tools, never did I have any trouble with any such as parts not fitting or not working properly.  

I was lucky enough for an old friend/ mentor of mine to advise " always buy the best you can afford, that way you won't be disappointed ". I've always lived by that. 

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8 minutes ago, oldhippy said:

Around 30 years as a clock and watch maker I think I know what I'm talking about. I had many different types of case openers and glass fitting tools, never did I have any trouble with any such as parts not fitting or not working properly.  

I appreciate the knowledge and experience.  My experience 30+ years of experience with tools, in general, is that you don't have to pay a premium price for a tool that will not be for professional use.  Sometimes it makes sense to bite the bullet and get the more expensive tool and other times it does not.

Just now, RichardHarris123 said:

I was lucky enough for an old friend/ mentor of mine to advise " always buy the best you can afford, that way you won't be disappointed ". I've always lived by that. 

Okay guys, we're getting off track here.  I am well aware of the old adages but don't think they apply in all cases.

I am looking for specific feedback on this particular tool by people that have bought it.  Or feedback on dealing with AliExpress if there is a problem.

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I've bought quite a few tools on Aliexpress, and only a couple of times I have had problems. When that happened, I directly asked in the app for a full refund, sending photos of the problem, without talking to the seller, and so far I've always get my money back without having to send the item back to China.

When I buy something I always make sure that it's going to be shipped via AliExpress, not China Post or anything else, because if the item doesn't arrive or arrive damaged AliExpress would not help to solve the problem.

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48 minutes ago, oldhippy said:

I did say I have seen reports about that tool and how bad it is. 

I did try checking before I bought, but didn't see any negative feedback.

25 minutes ago, aac58 said:

I've bought quite a few tools on Aliexpress, and only a couple of times I have had problems. When that happened, I directly asked in the app for a full refund, sending photos of the problem, without talking to the seller, and so far I've always get my money back without having to send the item back to China.

When I buy something I always make sure that it's going to be shipped via AliExpress, not China Post or anything else, because if the item doesn't arrive or arrive damaged AliExpress would not help to solve the problem.

It indicates "AliExpress Standard Shipping" for the order.  So, when asked "Return and refund" or "Refund only", you selected "Refund only"?  I'm not confident that I will get a timely resolution from the seller so if I can deal with AliExpress that would seem to be better.

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Just now, Nibbler said:

I just threw a pile of the first tools I bought for this hobby in the trash.

I am slowly replacing my chinesium winders with bergeon as I can afford it.

mileage may vary 

Matt

 

I'm still just getting going.  I did pay the brand name premium on some tools (Bergeon screwdrivers, Dumont tweezers, and some others) but tried to find more budget tools for others.  It's a fine line to walk to get good tools to start off with, without pissing off the boss (my wife of course). lol 

Main spring winders is something that I will wait on.  Seems better to get the Bergeon ones individually, as they are needed, instead of some set where some may never get used.  For now, I was planning to replace mainsprings with new.

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6 minutes ago, Klassiker said:

It looks like a basically sound tool but assembled with the wrong grub screw. Should be an easy enough fix if it doesn't have to go back.

If the hole was actually threaded, then I could simply try a new set screw of appropriate size.  I do have a tap set and could thread the hole.  I'd expect at least a partial refund if I had to fix a brand new tool.  If I go that route, I'd probably tear it down to parade rest and then threadlock the screws and grease it up the shaft pieces.

Edited by gpraceman
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I would go through the Aliexpress refund route, if you get a free tool out of it then thread the hole and put a proper sized grub screw in. I have one of these presses and I suppose I’m lucky as it works fine. I have had to fettle Swiss made tools as well as Chinese so doesn’t bother me too much, just a bit of a pain.

 

Tom

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1 hour ago, tomh207 said:

I would go through the Aliexpress refund route, if you get a free tool out of it then thread the hole and put a proper sized grub screw in. I have one of these presses and I suppose I’m lucky as it works fine. I have had to fettle Swiss made tools as well as Chinese so doesn’t bother me too much, just a bit of a pain.

 

Tom

You mention that you have one of these presses.  I'm curious, if you can get the collar off without too much trouble, what does yours look like there?  I imagine on my press, that they ran out of the proper set screw for that hole and grabbed a smaller one.

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3 minutes ago, gpraceman said:

You mention that you have one of these presses.  I'm curious, if you can get the collar off without too much trouble, what does yours look like there?  I imagine on my press, that they ran out of the proper set screw for that hole and grabbed a smaller one.

I took the cap off just now and had a look. The grub screw looks like the correct size but of not a great level of quality. I think I will look at upgrading that at some point. 
 

Tom

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22 minutes ago, tomh207 said:

I took the cap off just now and had a look. The grub screw looks like the correct size but of not a great level of quality. I think I will look at upgrading that at some point. 
 

Tom

Thanks for checking that.  The only purpose that I can see for that set screw is to keep the shaft from rotating but allow the shaft to freely move up and down.  Shouldn't have much stress being applied to it.

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5 minutes ago, gpraceman said:

Thanks for checking that.  The only purpose that I can see for that set screw is to keep the shaft from rotating but allow the shaft to freely move up and down.  Shouldn't have much stress being applied to it.

I agree with you there, it does look like it is pretty shoddy in material and machining.

 

Tom

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11 hours ago, gpraceman said:

I'd expect at least a partial refund if I had to fix a brand new tool.

I expect you will get a full refund, either from the seller or Aliexpress, if you are insistent. If you don't have to send it back then you get a serviceable tool in exchange for some email correspondence and a bit of fettling. Let's hope it works out that way.

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I sent in photos of the issue to AliExpress and requested a refund.  I already have a resolution.  They provided a full refund and I don't need to send the tool back.  I would have been happy with a partial refund since I was able to fix the press.

I put in a proper sized grub screw.  It took a minor bit of sanding the bottom of the screw, to make sure the collar would clear the screw head.  Secured it with a dab of loctite.  Cleaned up the gouges in the shaft keyway.   Loctited the rest of the screws and greased up the inside and outside of the shaft.  The press cycles smoothly now.  There's no issues with alignment of the top to the bottom.

I won't be making a habit of ordering via AliExpress, but I can see doing so on a select basis.

1 minute ago, Klassiker said:

I expect you will get a full refund, either from the seller or Aliexpress, if you are insistent. If you don't have to send it back then you get a serviceable tool in exchange for some email correspondence and a bit of fettling. Let's hope it works out that way.

Looks like we were posting at the same time.

Edited by gpraceman
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2 hours ago, markr said:

I have never said this tool is too good I should have bought the cheaper one.

No, but I bet you said this one tool is outside my budget but this other tool is within budget and it will do the job.  As a hobbyist, I don't need an entire pro level set of tools, and frankly, I don't have the budget for that if I was so inclined.  I have my share of top quality name brand tools, but on others, I did look at less expensive options to stay within my budget.  I do also have to maintain some domestic peace and not go too far overboard.

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For what it's worth, mine came incorrectly assembled and I had to fix it (though I'm still not sure I did it right either). But on mine, that is not a grub screw. It's just a short aluminum rod and its purpose is only to protrude into that groove and keep the shaft from rotating while while still allowing it to slide vertically. If I unscrew the collar, the little rod can drop out. The hole isn't threaded.

 

I would love to see a schematic of this thing or clear video of it in correct operation from good angles.

Edited by mbwatch
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2 hours ago, mbwatch said:

For what it's worth, mine came incorrectly assembled and I had to fix it (though I'm still not sure I did it right either). But on mine, that is not a grub screw. It's just a short aluminum rod and its purpose is only to protrude into that groove and keep the shaft from rotating while while still allowing it to slide vertically. If I unscrew the collar, the little rod can drop out. The hole isn't threaded.

 

I would love to see a schematic of this thing or clear video of it in correct operation from good angles.

I was thinking that it was probably a pin that should be in that hole, not a grub screw, since the hole isn't threaded.  The advantage of a grub screw is that you can adjust it to make sure the shaft can move up and down freely be in the keyway enough to not allow it to rotate.  The grub screw I put in had just enough bite in the hole to stay in place.  A dab of loctite helped.  The grub screw did need to be filed down a tad so the collar could be threaded back on.

As for operation, there are two sets of threads.  The outer threads you can see with the press all of the way up.  Those allow the press to go quickly down until you contact the watch.  Then the inner threads, which are much finer, kick in and allow for a slow and controlled compression.  I did have to file the little limiter, in the back of the press, to make sure there was no rubbing of the outer sleeve on it.

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2 hours ago, gpraceman said:

Then the inner threads, which are much finer, kick in and allow for a slow and controlled compression

I was not able to get any movement out of the fine threads for a long time, owing to high friction between the black knob and the large silver collar with the heavy threads. But after I deduced how it was supposed to work, I just put a lot of force into the knob and it started to move. It's still much stiffer than I think it should be, after I worked a little 3 in 1 oil into where the knob meets the sleeve. I should probably disassemble the whole thing again. The first time I had it apart, I could not figure out how to detach the knob from the big sleeve so I suspect there's still something not assembled quite right.

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