Jump to content

Platax on eBay


Recommended Posts

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. 


s-l1600.thumb.jpg.e16da9d81d1e23abc1d75b1a3ec577f8.jpg   s-l1600.3.thumb.jpg.b28fcc68bc9ad7cc9b8ec1842b60c774.jpg   s-l1600.2.thumb.jpg.c6e02ad87cfe8b126108c8579035e1f1.jpg  s-l1600.1.thumb.jpg.6b36a42a84b5491077afa74cb2d5a430.jpg



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!

  • Like 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Radiumgirl,

I think you have done a pretty good job of this resoration. No doubt you enjoyed it and if you are like me you would have picked up some skills from the job as well. Like you I have some 'overpriced watch tools' just ask my wife, but my preference is to try and use old tools as much as possible in restoring old watches.

You have raised a number of questions in your post and I will now try and give you my two bobs worth.

What other watch tools do I need? I suspect you are further along the path of watch repair that your post suggests, but here goes.

My vote would be, given the lack of space you say you have, are a good set of tweezers and screwdrivers. These are readily available from Daves Watch parts, Uncle Larry's (second hand) and eBay. You said you had a staking tool, that is great. Other small things I can think of are a loupe of some kind, a small anvil or steel block, small pin vice, broaches, small file, brush, rodico, oilers and oil supply and glass dust covers, demagnetiser maybe a mainspring winder...Not sure if you have all this, but all this will fit in a drawer somewhere.

I would say that you should have easy access to many of the old second hand American watches that will be fun to work on. Watches like Elgin, Benrus, Bulova etc these will be fun to restore and are quite easy to use to build up your skills further.

Good luck with it all!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites


If you don't have a balance truing caliper, you might consider that. Good to check that the wheel is true after replacing the balance staff. 

The tool that I overpaid for was a Jacot tool, I really don't know how much use I'll get out of it, but I just had to have it. Got a nice one, too.

As far as maker space CNC tools are concerned, it really depends on what they have. I think the bench top Roland CNC mills are used by some folks for watchmaking. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well thanks everyone for the replies! Yes, it sure is fun to rehab an old tool and get it functional and presentable again, almost as fun as doing the same with a vintage watch.

Hello Hamish, thanks for the advice! I'm probably a bit more advanced than I think, I've done the TimeZone watch school courses 1 and 2, and I slowly bought everything needed for those courses and then some. I do have almost everything you've mentioned and a lot more... loupes, French screwdriver set on a round base with Bergeon replacement blades, small 60x microscope, several sets of tweezers, 2, 3, 3c, 2 x 5s, including some dumostar I bought new (ouch again on the price of those). rodico, oilers and oil, digital calipers and micrometer, covered parts holders, a couple of demagnetizers, hand pullers, set of vintage watch mainspring winders, Zenith cleaning fluids, even a lower - end timing machine, all of that. So far I've only really worked on Bulovas because I can get the replacement parts so easily and can get the movements for almost nothing on eBay, but I should branch out and try some Elgins etc. 

Don't have: anvil or steel block with holes in it... I guess this is something I should get for working on the balance? I have a balance tack, but nowhere to safely rest the balance on the bench... hmmm. Pin vise I have, but no broaches... It's embarrassing to admit I don't know how to buy broaches or what they are used for (widening hands to make them fit?). What sizes are right? Are there sets of broaches made for wrist watches??? Confused here... Got everything else though! Again, thanks for the input!

Thanks frenchie and hippy, it sure was fun to rehab it, and yeah, overpaying for stuff once in a while is part of the game :D

Ok dadistic, it's funny you mention a truing caliper. I just picked one up last week on eBay for $10 in great condition (so it's fun to underpay too). Funny thing is, I've now done 5 staff replacements, and only 3 of them actually worked and are ticking away. I don't know what I did wrong on the other ones, I suspect the hairsprings are off or the staff isn't quite the right size or something... anyway I checked a few of the wheels in my little Kampe truing calipers and they all looked perfectly true to me! I suspect they are NOT true, and that it's my untrained eye that is the problem here... but I put the little index as close as I possibly could to the balance wheel and none of them looked uneven to me. :huh: I have NOT bought a poising tool yet, not sure if I really need that or if I should do what Mark does and try out dynamic poising (that's way more advanced than I am now though. And I guess I'd need to buy balance screw cutters and timing washers???? Still so much to buy I guess I hadn't realized... sigh.)

Man you have a Jacot tool??? wow. I guess the main use for those is polishing / burnishing pivots??? I wonder how often this is necessary to do??? Maybe some of the movements that I have that won't run or won't keep time need the pivots polished... I've read how people do it with jeweler's rouge and pegwood, but the whole process sounded kinda terrifying to me, those pivots are so small.

Ok, Roland CNC mills, that's a good place to start with online research, and maybe to look out for in one of these tool coops in the city (I think there are 5 or 6 of them in the greater new york area). Cool! Thanks!!!

Thanks again everyone for all the help. This is really turning into quite the obsession :biggrin:.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Another tool that you might just find in a co-op is the Sherline lathe, these can be used for making watch parts, and are very popular with modelers. They come stock as a manual machine and can be set up with motors and a controller as a CNC machine. Not the same animal as a watchmakers lathe, but capable of much the same kind of work.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

ah, ok, so be on the lookout for Roland mills and Sherline lathes... ok. I'd be super lucky if any of the co ops in the city actually had those exact brands, but I think I'll call around and check... it sure would be nice to be able to create a CAD file with the part's specifications, run down to a co op and watch a computer-controlled machine spit out the part, but I'm sure it's way way way more involved than that.

Link to comment
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.   Restore formatting

  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.

  • Create New...