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Bezel maintenance ... >>

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Matt V.
December 12, 2004 03:41AM
Most diver bezels on watches are built the same way or at least very similar, so hopefully this pictorial will help with some of the basics for maintenance: removing the bezel, cleaning the parts or replacing a scratched inlay.
Todays "victim" is my silver dial Tridente.
The inlay is scratched and needs replacement and I am taking this opportunity to clean and lube the bezel as well.
First step: remove the bezel.

You can see a little ridge in this photo. This is where you'd carefully slide in a blade (e.g. watchmakers knife) and than apply pressure while you slowly turn the bezel to pop it off.
If you're planning to remove the bezel with a blade, I absolutely recommend you use scotch tape and tape off the case and bezel to avoid accidently scratching the metal.
Bergeon offers a great tool to remove bezels which I am planning to use for this pictorial.

You can see the 3 "claws" that grab onto the bezel in this photo.

Basically the tool is set on top of the watch, the claws are tightened to hold on to the bezel...

... and when you turn the knob on the bezel tool, a small rubber die presses against the watch in an angle which pops off the bezel.

Works great! Smiley

The bezel is off: be careful not to loose some of these parts:

You can see a flat metal "washer" with parts that are bent upwards (see left side of the photo) and a part that is bent down keying into a dent in the case (see on the bottom). This is the spring responsible for the ratcheting "clicking" sound and action. By bending the metal parts up a little higher or lower you can stiffen or soften the ratcheting action of the bezel! Smiley

Here you can see one of those bent metal ratchets as well as the ridge on the case that is responsible for holding down the bezel. Did you notice how thick the crystal really is (usually covered up by the bezel)?

Here you can see the counterpart; the inside of the bezel. Those metal "steps" are the ones that "click" over the ratcheting springs and only allow the bezel to be turned in one direction (uni-directional bezel) .
That little wire that is bent in segments and goes into the groove on the inside of the bezel is what's holding the bezel onto the case. This wire isn't perfectly round and straight segments "peak out" when it is inside the groove. These segments sit underneath the groove of the case thus securing the bezel to the case. Simple, but pretty neat! Smiley

So these are the 4 parts you should end up with if you take it all apart. Make sure not to loose any, OK?

First, clean the case with a soft piece of cloth, soap and warm water (I use Windex) to remove dirt, sand or anything else that might have collected here. Clean the metal washer as well.

Than, put it back on and lubricate it (I use Moebius classic oil).

Next, clean the bezel. I want to remove the inlay next, so I am just wiping it off right now.

The bezel inlay is an aluminum ring that has been glued to the steel bezel, so in order to remove it I am using a small, sharp blade (watchmakers knife) to cut in between the bezel and the inlay and to lift the inlay up. Be caserful not to cut yourself, it sometimes requires a bit of force to slide underneath the inlay and to lift it off from the glue.
You can cut into the inlay when the bezel is attached to the watch, but be careful not to slip wth the blade and to cut yourself (or scratch the watch)! The blades slim enough to cut underneath typically are the really sharp ones.

It is really not that difficult and gets easier once you've done it a few times, but don't be afraid to try this yourself as long as you're careful with the knife.

Now you can see the leftovers of the glue on the bezel. This is what we need to clean up before we can glue the new inlay on.

Can you see how smooth, nice and clean the new inlay is that will get glued on soon? Let's get that bezel into ship shape as well! Smiley
A word on inlays; aftermarket inlays can be had in all sorts of sizes, but make sure to get the correct inner and outer diameter as well as angle in which the inlay is shaped (they are typically not flat)!
I recommend alcohol to clean up the remains of the old glue. A piece of wood works great to help scrape off the more sticky parts (and the wood won't scratch the bezel). My lathe comes in handy for cleanup jobs like this and at the same time helps me get a better surface for the glue. Just keep in mind that the surface needs to be clean and free of oil, fat or fingerprints for the glue and new inlay to stick properly!

Here's an important tip: don't glue the inlay on with the bezel off the watch. In order to line it up properly with the markers, having the bezel on the watch helps tremendously! Smiley
So now's the time when you want to clean up the bezel nicely, but the wire spring back into the groove of the bezel and push it back onto the watch case. It should simplu snap on; try it out and make sure it moves freely and is secure.

Looks weird, doesn't it? Smiley
Allright, here comes the glue. Most glue will work, miracle glue/instant glue/contact cement is used very often and this is the glue I use (mainly because of the precision applicator).

This glue is also used for watch crystals, but again; for getting a new bezel inlay to stick to the bezel, a less expensive glue will do as well.

Now make sure you've got everything ready because you will need to be quick to get everything done before the glue cures.

Spread the glue on the bezel. Be careful not to use too much but make sure you get glue evenly across most of the bezel. And make sure not to get any glue in between the crystal and the bezel; that would be bad! Smiley

Now carefully drop the inlay onto the bezel. Make sure not to touch the bottom of the inlay with your fingers to avoid getting fingerprints/fat onto the surface. Make sure you have the inlay roughly aligned because now you'll have to be quick before the glue cures and you won't be able to make large alignements.

Some quick pushes and it aligns perfectly. Than I use a piece of fabric to clean up the top of the inlay, push it down throughly against the bezel to make sure the glue catches on evenly and everywhere. Look carefully for glue being squeezed out and remove it immediately.

And that's it! Smiley
Give the glue a chance to cure at least overnight before you expose the watch to water again and enjoy the restored look! Smiley

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/28/2010 05:46AM by Reto.

Bezel maintenance ... >> Image Attachments

Matt V.75703December 12, 2004 03:41AM

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