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Crystal press advise needed


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Ya'll are probably goona lose your minds over this, but I bought mine from Harbor Freight. I promptly proceeded to use it incorrectly, snapped both dies and drove the shaft through the crystal destroying both the crystal and the movement. I nearly cried as it was a for a gift watch for my son. Only later did I learn that they're not designed to press the entire case back at once. Now that I know the trick to using that type, they're quite easy. Although the "snap" sound still gives me the willies! :startle:

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Sorry to hear about your disaster, maybe you could help me avoid the same result. As a nubee I'll purchase a crystal press in the near future. Can you please describe the technique for using it f

Depends what type you intend to get. I use the screw down type like the pic. Seems to give you more control but the princible is the same. The smaller die presses down on the inside of the crystal and

I was keen to see what you would come up with regarding modern tools. The one you have recommended looks a bit flimsy and cheap. This is the sort of thing I had its tough and robust.

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Sorry to hear about your disaster, maybe you could help me avoid the same result.

As a nubee I'll purchase a crystal press in the near future. Can you please describe the technique for using it for me?

Edited by Rosco1
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Depends what type you intend to get. I use the screw down type like the pic. Seems to give you more control but the princible is the same. The smaller die presses down on the inside of the crystal and contracts the outer rim. The watch front is then pressed down onto the crystal. Hold down while undoing the the large wheel. Hopefully the crystal will then be in place. Takes a bit of practise. A small circle of linen will prevent the top die marking the crystal.

 

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  • 5 months later...
On 11/27/2019 at 6:24 PM, FLwatchguy73 said:

Ya'll are probably goona lose your minds over this, but I bought mine from Harbor Freight. I promptly proceeded to use it incorrectly, snapped both dies and drove the shaft through the crystal destroying both the crystal and the movement. I nearly cried as it was a for a gift watch for my son. Only later did I learn that they're not designed to press the entire case back at once. Now that I know the trick to using that type, they're quite easy. Although the "snap" sound still gives me the willies! :startle:

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Wuh.... Mind lost. I'd never buy anything from Horror Fright that could kill me when it fails, but I have a half dozen sets of jack stands I've accumulated over the years that came with cars and engines and whatever. One is one of the killer sets they just recalled. Turns out, Horror Fright has a small selection of watchmaking tools at a combined cost that I think comes in under what they'll give me for the jack stands. This looks identical to the press Esslinger is selling for $36, and given the way manufacturing and white labeling works, I'm pretty sure they're identical. I know what I'll be doing next time I'm down in the flats!

Edited by spectre6000
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  • 3 weeks later...

So I traded my jack stands in on the entirety of Horror Freight's watchmaking tooling. I didn't get the spring bar set, or the "watch repair kit", which IIRC was just crappy tweezers, screwdrivers, and quartz battery replacement stuff. I took home the crystal press, the case opener, and the 3x/5x eye loupe.

The crystal press, as FLwatchguy73 brought to our attention, appears to be identical to the discount model sold at the horological supply houses, but at about half the price (less if you have one of the ubiquitous 20% coupons, which I just realized I forgot, and a set of recalled jack stands that came with some long forgotten project car or engine or something). I used it to replace the crystal on a Seiko. Meh. It worked reasonably well. I had a helluva time getting it to press straight, and the crystal is a fraction of a mm high on one side if you really look. Still, it seems good enough to keep water out (I left it submerged in a bowl for a half hour or so one night, as that's considerably more water exposure than I'll ever subject it to otherwise). For $15 or whatever, it's good enough.

The opener tool is probably also identical to a cheaper model at the horo houses. It's a bit more janky. Tolerances are high enough that the anvils will bow out, and there are other less than great aspects. I wouldn't put it on something I care about scratches on, but for farting around like I'm doing now, it's fine. I have an old brass two point wrench that I'm sure was even cheaper, and I probably prefer it to this one.

The eye loupe... That might be the belle of the ball! I have a 4x/7x Bausch & Lomb, and the clip spring is stronger, and it's shaped such that scratching my eyeglass frames isn't likely to be an issue by comparison. The HF version has rubber shrink tubing on a cheap clip with a weak spring. If it's even lightly disturbed, it'll all but fall off. If you can avoid bumping it though, the optics are actually pretty decent. I've gotten some use out of them for the working distance afforded by the 3x lens in comparison to the 4x. Just another inch or two for me to be clumsy in. Worth the $5. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hey all,
Im also looking to get a new crystal press. I came across these two on cousins. Are they any good and worth it? I do not have a very high budget to get the bergeon or horotec just yet.

Any experiences with these? I was initially thinking to get bergeon high copy from Alix but read mixed comments here on chinese reps so now im confused

I was thinking if i can get aliX bergeon copy and add a swiss vice and dies?

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5 minutes ago, 2fancy said:

Im also looking to get a new crystal press. I came across these two on cousins. Are they any good and worth it? I 

Both these two can be had on AliX or Ebay for a fraction of the Cousins price.  As mentioned earlier in this topic (please take the time to read it) I do not recommend the first one as the press is not lined with the pillars it will distort with a a minimum of force.

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Both these two can be had on AliX or Ebay for a fraction of the Cousins price.  As mentioned earlier in this topic (please take the time to read it) I do not recommend the first one as the press is not lined with the pillars it will distort with a a minimum of force.

Yes i did read it and my apologies for not keeping that in mind. I was thinking from cousins it would be much better quality.

Have you had experience using the second one? Is it worth it and works fine? If dies are an issue i could buy swiss dies no?
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12 minutes ago, 2fancy said:

I was thinking from cousins it would be much better quality.

No, they are the same identical Chinese items with a quite unreasonable markup.

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Have you had experience using the second one? Is it worth it and works fine? If dies are an issue i could buy swiss dies no?

Some say a screw type is better because gives fine control. Some like the feeling of a lever type. Dies are all the same within their type of threaded or bored hole. As with any tool the real difference is made by how it's used.

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Both these two can be had on AliX or Ebay for a fraction of the Cousins price.  As mentioned earlier in this topic (please take the time to read it) I do not recommend the first one as the press is not lined with the pillars it will distort with a a minimum of force.

Came across this on Ali as well. Case closer and crystal press both. Any thoughts on this? About 300$ CAD shipped
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28 minutes ago, 2fancy said:


About 300$ CAD shipped

That is anwfult lot of money for something that only cost $50 (if that much) to manufacture. Remember in Canada you always have to pay VAT and extortionate customs handling fees if seller insist on shipping courier. I have explained in this topic or elsewhere my sturdy economical tool, it serves me well but I think my best asset is that my "best tool" feticism is mild and cntrollable.

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10 hours ago, 2fancy said:

So to get a case opener and crystal press seperate is what u suggest? Cz the press alone is 150$ CAD shipping in.

Why not starting with economy tool and then grow as the real necessity dictates. For example, less than $20 for a lever type.
hand operated https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4000001532524.html
some bench types, that you can screw on your own board https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4001088371677.html
A large set of additional dies is very affordable also.

The saved money can be spent on other tools, for example, do you have a (color) timegrapher?

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And i havent been charged customs or futy on anything yet from AliX

It depends on the amount of the purchase, below a certain allowance everything goes. But Canada is certainly one country charging VAT on imports.

Edited by jdm
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From what I have heard those cheap types do not line up correctly and you are more likely to break the glass and damage the watch. Buy the best you can afford, a good one if looked after will last a life time. 

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23 minutes ago, 2fancy said:

I have one of these cheap press ones. I noticed a lot of instability and breakage of crystal so im looking to get an improved one that wont break my bank a lot

Not all the ones that I've linked above are the cheap type, there is a range of prices before getting to the 5500 copy. On the other hand if you have experienced trouble with lever type maybe a screw one would be better.

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Has anyone tried one of the Girard Perregaux "Presto" hand-held crystal press, or a similar one?  The design looks like it would be resistant to flexing or getting out-of-square, but as I've never even heard anyone discuss this type, and no one seems to make a modern version, I wonder if it's one of those things that just didn't work that well and was consigned to the ash-heap of horological tool history.

 

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4 hours ago, Jamaha said:

The design looks like it would be resistant to flexing or getting out-of-square

Which is very good. 

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, but as I've never even heard anyone discuss this type, and no one seems to make a modern version, I wonder if it's one of those things that just didn't work that well and was consigned to the ash-heap of horological tool history.

I think that the cost of cast / forged construction, and not being a name brand or copy of, makes that would not sell good. 

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  • 7 months later...

Hello,

I'm new to the watch world. I'm working on a few projects trying to replace crystals or just trying to have a better understanding of the internals of mechanical watches. What is your go-to website for buying watch crystals or parts such as gaskets, screws etc. ? Not looking to order parts from China since I'm impatient. I've been using AllWatchParts which has a decent selection but I wanted to hear what you guys use. Any help would be appreciated.

Bonus: I'm also looking for a better watch crystal press that's no more that $100. Any suggestions?

Thanks,

Daniel

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