Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Tool of the Week: Horotec Bezel Remover

***Apprentice Corner: Week In Review

This is Part One in what is intended to be a weekly series. As the workshop continues to expand and I continue to learn, Nicholas has committed to buying a new tool and a new book each week. That, or we’ll pull a book out of the shop’s library or dust off an old tool that has sat dormant for many a year. I’ll then do a write-up of that tool and a review of the book, highlighting anything I find interesting. Both the historical and technical aspects of watchmaking will be covered and I’ll do my best to demystify some of the more complex topics. I hope you’ll find it interesting!

A short post today, only covering the tool. The first book has just arrived so next week’s post will include a detailed review.


The latest tool in the shop is a Horotec Bezel Remover (MSA 07.117) that removes a snap fit or friction fit bezel, such as that on a Rolex Datejust. These watches require a tool that ‘digs’ under the bezel in order to pop it off the case. Taking off bezels can be tricky business. Years of build-up gets into the grooves and makes them very hard to pry open.

There’s not much to say about this tool - it performs a very specific function, but it’s almost always frightening to use a new tool and this one is no exception. There’s no easy way to tell if the blades are correctly aligned with the grooves - you’ve just got to put on your loupe and carefully inch it into place. One of the nice things about bezels like this is that you don’t have to worry about the build-up that gets into the grooves in screw-on bezels that makes them hard to twist open, but this is usually only something that occurs on very old watches that haven’t been opened for decades.

The dangers of using this tool are clear: If the blades aren’t correctly aligned there’s only one other place they can go - straight into the watch case. This will leave a permanent cut on your expensive (sometimes irreplaceable) case. I’ve only practised on a tester watch thus far; I dare not try on one of the Rolex’s in stock!


With the addition of this bezel remover my workbench is beginning to look like a Horotec display. The characteristic red of the tool makes them stand out. It’s a name I’ve become already become well acquainted with - they seem to be the producer of the finest quality watchmaking tools. They’ve been supplying high quality parts since 1946 so they’ve got a reputation to uphold. They aren’t even paying me to say this! As I flick through the catalogue, Nick tells me we’ll eventually own most of them as we expand our capabilities. The company claims to have over 3,500 products - where will we put them all?!



A teaser for next week's book:




Until next time,
Tyler

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