Yet another use for a lathe

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Established Member
25 May 2021
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I have worn a Seiko 5 automatic wristwatch every day for the last 15 years (a 50th birthday present from my siblings). When I was on a cycling holiday I dropped it on a pebbly beach, chipped the crystal and dislodged one of the hour markers.

When I got home I did a bit of googling and found a replacement crystal for about £12 and, more importantly, videos showing how the crystal can be removed and replaced. You are supposed to use a watch press for this but I thought I would try using my lathe.

I turned a recess on a scrap piece of wood, just a tad larger than the crystal, with a bevelled edge to hold the case. Then I found another scrap which was very nearly the perfect size to fit inside the case to push out the crystal. Once I had turned it down to size and flattened its face I was ready to press out the old crystal. The watch case was sandwiched between the recessed piece and the bit that fit inside and then I brought up the tailstock and gently applied pressure. The old crystal popped out almost immediately.

I cleaned everything up, put the back back on the watch case and then sandwiched it again, this time with the back in the recess and the 'inner' piece pressing on the new crystal. I was worried that, when I again used the tailstock to apply pressure, the new crystal did not seem to be seated squarely but by adjusting the position of the pushing piece I was able to get it fully seated. I should have mentioned that before fitting the new crystal I wiped a bit of silicon lube around the recess, to refresh the seal.

I applied a tiny dab of super glue to hold the dislocated hourmarker and put the watch back together. It is now back on my wrist and seems to be working just fine!


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