Seiko 7A38 - by the numbers

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Forum Home > Parts Info, Tech Tips and Tinkering > A (rotating) Bezel Removal Tool NOT to be recommended, perhaps ?

Seiko7A38
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I'll admit, I'd seen these things advertised in a recent Cousins monthly leaflet and had contemplated adding one to my next order. :/


http://www.cousinsuk.com/catalog/tools/bezel-removers/bezel-remover-watch-af-swiss



Posters over on TZ-UK don't seem to be too impressed (minor understatement). :mad:

http://forum.tz-uk.com/showthread.php?294586 Do not buy an A&F bezel remover !

http://forum.tz-uk.com/showthread.php?295899 Test of the AF rubber bezel tool >>>>>>


April 4, 2014 at 5:47 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Seiko7A38
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I knew it reminded me of something - those 'Flexible Curves' I used to use as a technical drawing aid years ago.




Probably works just as well. :roll:



April 4, 2014 at 7:29 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Seiko7A38
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I'm still looking into this issue, nearly two years on since my original posts - and have given it more thought lately. In the past, when I've removed rotating bezels fom any of my 7A38 divers, usually to replace scratched beveled crystals that are over-lapped by the inner radius of the bezel, I've used a simple case knife, like this:


The technique is to insert the blade into the fingernail groove under the bezel and gradually work your way around levering it off.




That image comes from an eBay listing for a 7A38-7070, dating back to February 2012. Indeed, this albeit crude technique seems to work pretty well for the 7A28-7040/9, 7A38-6000, 7A38-6010, 7A38-7070 and 7A38-7080, etc. and even the 43mm Yema Spationaute III (whose bezels are retained with a bent wire ring, rather than a neoprene O-ring, like most Seiko divers). However, there is always a risk of marking the case or bezel when inserting the blade into the area of the bezel track. Look closely at the above photo, to the left of the arrow head and you'll see what I mean. That minor damage may be hidden when the bezel is replaced, but you'll always know it's there. :( Worse still, if the neoprene O-ring isn't willing to slide out it's retaining groove, you risk doing worse damage like this:




Bezels with acrylic inlays (like the 7A38-6020 above) are also prone to their inlays cracking - usually right through the lume pip:




So you need to minimize the risk of distortion when removing this type of bezel / inlay (also used on the 7A38-7050 and -705A).

There's surely got to be a better way of removing rotating bezels - by applying an even force around the perimeter - right ? :/


March 25, 2016 at 5:22 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Seiko7A38
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Posts: 12380

Apart from the apparently ineffectual A*F removal tool, Cousins offer a variety of 'proper' professional tools to do the job:


http://www.cousinsuk.com/category/watch-bezel-removing-fitting


However, none are exactly cheap (the two Bergeon tools are £250 and £595 + VAT, respectively :o ) and all use steel jaws.


March 25, 2016 at 6:13 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Seiko7A38
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Posts: 12380

I've done a fair bit of googling on the subject this morning - mostly due to the fact I've now accumulated quite a few 7A38's with rotating bezels that need pulling (for one reason or another): My most recently acquired 7A38-6020; another 7A38-6070; two 7A38-7050's (where I want to swap bezels between them) and maybe half a dozen Orient J39 divers that need replacement crystals fitting !


Regardless of their prices, general concensus is: by dint of their metal jaws, no matter how careful you are, the Bergeon and Horotec tools shown on Cousins UK website (and other similar cheaper imitations) will probably mark the watch cases.


http://forums.watchuseek.com/f6/155037.html  Bezel Removal Tool 'Comparo' - Any Good Advice???


The only professional tool that gains anything like universal approval is the Omega proprietory tool which comes with a number of different diameter delrin dies. It certainly looks the business. Unfortunately it costs $1K plus !! :o


http://forums.watchuseek.com/f20/559543.html  Omega bezel removal tool that actually works!


March 25, 2016 at 6:58 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Seiko7A38
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Correction to the previous post - there is another non-metallic (delrin ?) jawed bezel removal tool manufactured by Bergeon, one which Cousins UK don't list - the Bergeon N° 7052. http://shop.bergeon.ch/Catalogue/PDF/7008%20C.pdf


Goes without saying that being Bergeon, they're prohibitively expensive, particularly as the set of 6.

http://www.hswalsh.com/product/bergeon-7052-bezel-extractors-hb7052




They are fortunately orderable separately and apparently the 42mm version covers bezel sizes from 40mm up to 47mm*.


There's a review of the 42mm version on DWC: http://www.thedivewatchconnection.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=48636



Available on eBay: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/151569849065


* That said, were I to consider investing in one of these tools myself, I'm not sure whether to plump for the 38mm or 42mm version.

The 7A38 / J39  bezels I need to pull vary in outside diameter from 40mm to 43mm and most have a bezel mounting flange of around 33 - 34mm, which might indicate that the 38mm would be the better choice / fit. Maybe I'll try emailing Bergeon and ask if they'll disclose the exact dimensions of the two sets of yellow delrin jaws - purely out of interest, you understand. ;)


March 25, 2016 at 8:19 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Seiko7A38
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Posts: 12380

That Bergeon N° 7052 tool is a bit of a funny one, if you think about it. Like most of their stuff it's intended to look very professional. But if you analyse how it's supposed to work, it depends on hand strength - just like the A*F tool. The so-say ergonomically designed anodized aluminium holder is 80mm in diameter - and the same one is used for all 6 in the set, which when the various sized delrin jaws are removable, begs the question why you'd need 6 of them. More curiously, the knurled thumbscrew doesn't clamp the two halves of the tool together, as you might expect. Instead it's intended to stop you crushing the bezel. :roll:


Despite the mostly extremely negative reviews the A*F alleged bezel removal tool received on TZ_UK ....

it really is worth reading through those two threads I linked in my first post again (as I've just done myself) ....

I still like the idea of a cheaper tool with plastic or hard nylon jaws that grips evenly all the way round, because of the minimal risk of damage, but one where you can clamp the open ends of the jaws shut. So all you need concentrate on is the twist and pull action.


Later in the first TZ_UK thread one poster did actually try fitting a Jubilee clip around the A*F tool - but still couldn't get it to work. :(

Maybe what it needs is something like this tool, which not only clamps shut but provides leverage. Apologies for the small photo.




Hopefully, of more anon ....


March 25, 2016 at 8:27 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Seiko7A38
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I knew that shiny black delrin handle looked somehow familiar. It took me a while to find this old thread on Watchfreeks:


http://www.watchfreeks.com/33-general-watch-discussions/36975.html Cool Omega Bezel Remover Tool Project



Bry doesn't seem to have followed up on the WatchFreeks thread, but the story continued on PistonHeads of all places:


http://www.pistonheads.com/gassing/topic.asp?t=1315398 Omega Seamaster Bezel


Slightly different photo:



Followed by:



March 25, 2016 at 8:47 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Seiko7A38
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Seiko7A38 at March 25, 2016 at 8:27 AM

Maybe what it needs is something like this tool, which not only clamps shut but provides leverage. Apologies for the small photo.




Hopefully, of more anon ....



That small photo of a bezel removal tool was emailed me a few months back, by Steve Burrage of Ryte Time. It's the tool he'd used to remove the particulary stubborn bezel from my 7A38-6070 (see this thread). I didn't need to ask him where he got it. The shiny black delrin handle was an instant giveaway. It was another of Bryan Hibbins tools. Apparently he'd also supplied them to a few others (including Duncan 'Cannop' Hewitt). I emailed Bry just before Easter and asked if he planned to make any more. He replied:

 

Hi Paul, 

Yes the Burrage remover was milled, I'll have one 3D printed (less hassle and quick turnaround) you can test it. 

Regs, Bry.


A couple of months passed; a week ago I received another email from Bry asking for my postal address. The tool arrived yesterday.




Initial impressions are that it's a well designed concept.

However I have a couple of concerns / reservations regarding its practical use and longevity, which I've emailed Bry:


1) The strength (extruded plastic) and relatively small size of the jaw lips, which are supposed to slide under the bezel flange.

2) The overly large radius of the jaws (approx 50mm diameter when fully open), whereas I'd been expecting something that would cover a range of say 38 - 42mm, per my earlier comments on the Bergeon N° 7052 tool.


June 9, 2016 at 6:10 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Seiko7A38
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Posts: 12380

Although I'm keen on the design concept, I'm also a little disapponted by the 'size issue', because going back through our email correspondence, I found where I'd written to Bry, just before Easter:


The bezels I'm looking to remove currently are all Seiko 7A38's naturally (or diver variants thereof): 

A 7A38-6020, 7A38-6070 (that's a really tricky one, because the bezel track is recessed - I sent my previous one to Steve to do and he used your tool), a couple of 7A38-7050's and maybe up to half a dozen Orient J39001-70 / J39601-70 / J39701-70's.


Yesterday, I received a couple of replies from Bry:

 

Hi Paul, 

The bezel remover was originally designed for Omega SMP which it works well on. 

The grub screws are from the old design and can be adjusted if required. 

The blue TPU grip grips around the bezel, please check the bezel remover attached>>>



 

If you've some dimensions a better bezel remover can drawn up.


He later wrote:

Please check the TZ-UK review on the bezel remover attached, the lip design is 99% identical to the universal remover I sent you>>>




Now I don't know a great deal about Omega Seamasters, but I do know that there's a range of different sized models, going up to 46mm diameter and possibly beyond, which might explain the over-sized jaws in the 'universal' removal tool Bry sent me to test.

However, checking the eBay link embedded in the TZ_UK post, the possibilities look a little more encouraging.


http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/252198613642


The description read as follows:


QUALITY non marking Omega Seamaster SMP 41mm bezel remover. 

Material is NON MARKING nylon with TPU grip. 

MANY OTHER SIZES JUST PM ME.


June 10, 2016 at 4:53 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Seiko7A38
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Posts: 12380

Plans are to have a go at using this 'universal' tool at the weekend: to attempt removal of the bezels from a stainless 7A38-6020 and a 7A38-6070 (which Steve Burrage had successfully achieved, on my behalf, using his similar appearing tool). I'm concerned about the insubstantial and rather fragile looking lip, but if you don't try, you'll never know. If the tool gets damaged in the process, sobeit ....


In response to Bry's: If you've some dimensions a better bezel remover can drawn up ....

I'll also compile a list of dimensions of all the 7A28 / 7A38 'Diver' models with rotating bezels that one might want to use it on. ;)


June 10, 2016 at 5:45 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Seiko7A38
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Posts: 12380

If the tool gets damaged in the process, sobeit .... Prophetic words, as it transpires. :(


I was in two minds which watch to try out Bry's bezel removal tool on this morning - the 7A38-6020 or the 7A38-6070.

As it happened, simply because it was already out of the watch box, I plumped for the latter. It turned out to be the 'acid test'. :/


I first offered that 7A38-6070 into the jaws of the tool and started tightening down the clamps - to see if it could get a purchase.




As you can see from the above photo, it wasn't exactly the best of fits - 40mm diameter bezel in approx. 50mm diameter jaws. :/

It was only making contact with 4 of the 6 bezel finger grips; likely less than half the available circumference of the bezel flange.

At this stage, I was simply using the jaws' clamping action to 'break' the bezel / case joint, without making any attempt at leverage. 

Much to my surprise, it did initially successfully start to lift the bezel, with absolutely no damage to case or the jaws of the tool. :)


I was conscious that my camera's battery was running low, so I didn't take anywhere near as many photos as I would have liked.

So you'll have to take my word for it. :P


Remembering what Bry had said about using the TPU strips to grip the bezel, rather than relying on just that thin lip, I slackened off the clamps and inserted two of them (they're held in place by double-sided tape). I re-tightened the clamp bolts (much tighter than I had previously) and the TPU strips sort of molded themselves around the 4 finger grips they were in contact with. (Sorry the single photo I took was badly out of focus). I thought about clamping the watch case in my aluminium jawed vice and using the tool's handle to lever off the bezel. But maybe it didn't need that much (brute) force. The bezel was almost halfway off already. Instead, giving the bezel (which was now becoming very tight to rotate) the odd partial turn back and forwards, I used the pressure of my two thumbs on the crystal. Amazingly, the bezel came off without too much effort.




Unfortunately, Bry's tool didn't come off so well. :(


It appears that the TPU strips hadn't gripped the bezel anywhere near as well as they were supposed to do ....

If anything, they'd lubricated the movement of the bezel and allowed it to slip past the effectively reduced lip of the jaws.

Resulting in one very buggered lip (and some inconsequential  loss of black chrome plating from the bezel finger grips). 




Edit: I did manage to take one more photo and upload it, before my camera's battery went completely flat ....




From the other side of the jaws: which shows that although the blue TPU strips were supposedly held in place by sticky tape ....

One side had moved ! :o The dimpled impressions left by the bezel's finger grips (after the TPU strip had slipped) are just visible.


Needless to say, I won't now be trying it on a 7A38-6020, which if anything more so needs that lip to break the case / bezel joint. :(


June 12, 2016 at 6:43 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Seiko7A38
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Posts: 12380

So, in conclusion, a great design concept, spoiled in this instance by poor choice of inferior materials and unsuitable dimensions. :/

IMHO, to make this into a decent usable tool, specifically for pulling bezels off Seiko 7Axx's, it really needs the jaws to be milled in hard nylon (Delrin) rather than extruded plastic (by 3D printer). The lips of the jaws needs to be proportionally much bigger, along the lines of those of the Bergeon N° 7052 tool. Do away with the pointless TPU strips and the 2mm grub screws (a legacy of one of Bry's earlier designs) and get the radius of the jaws down to something much closer to what is actually required, rather than 'one size fits all'.


So as promised, here's a list of dimensions for the bezels:


7A28-7040 / -7049 (Seiko p/n 86310283)

Overall diameter: 39.5mm. Depth 3.3mm. Bezel track diameters: Outside Ø 38.0mm; Inside Ø 34.0mm


7A38-6000 / -6010 / -6030 / -6040 (Seiko p/n's 86310683 / 86310744 / 86310743 / 86310684)

Overall diameter: 36.4mm. Depth 3.6mm. Bezel track diameters: Outside Ø 35.5mm; Inside Ø 32.0mm


7A38-6020 (Seiko p/n's 86310763 and 86310783)

Overall diameter: 42.3mm. Depth 4.1mm. Bezel track diameters: Outside Ø 39.2mm; Inside Ø 35.2mm.


7A38-6050 / -6060 / -6070 (Seiko p/n's 86310923, 86311083 and 86310924)

Overall diameter: 40.1mm. Depth 4.8mm*. Bezel track diameters: Outside Ø 37.5mm*; Inside Ø 33.2mm*

*The actual bezel track on these very similar models is recessed well into the case. Visible flange joint measures 37.9mm.


7A38-7050 / -705A (Seiko p/n's 86310583 and 86310584)

Overall diameter: 40.1mm. Depth 4.5mm. Bezel track diameters: Outside Ø 38.8mm; Inside Ø 35.2mm.


7A38-7070 / -7075 / -7080 / -7085 (Seiko p/n's 86310523 and 86310543)

Overall diameter: 40.4mm. Depth 3.5mm. Bezel track diameters: Outside Ø 38.0mm; Inside Ø 34.0mm.


Then of course there's the 43mm Yema Spationaute III Aragatz, with its 40.5mm diameter (wire spring retained) rotating bezel ....

(You really wouldn't want to use such a tool to pull the bezel off a 38mm 'reduced' version for the reasons stated in this thread)

and the Orient J39x01-70 Divers, which are virtually the same dimensions as the Seiko 7A38-7070 / -7080 with 40.4mm Ø bezels.


June 12, 2016 at 9:44 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Seiko7A38
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Seiko7A38 at June 12, 2016 at 6:43 AM

Needless to say, I won't now be trying it on a 7A38-6020, which if anything more so needs that lip to break the case / bezel joint. :(



In hindsight, it's probably just as well I didn't bother wasting my time trying that one first. :roll:

Camera battery suitably re-charged, later this afternoon, I thought I'd give it a try anyway - nothing ventured, nothing gained. :P

I carefully worked the (obviously weakened) jaw lip flat again using a steel block and offered up the intended victim 7A38-6020.




Again, the over-sized (50mm+ diameter ?) jaws issue is pretty obvious, even with this, the biggest 7A38 @ 43mm diameter.

(I'd removed the two blue TPU strips in the hope of getting a better fit.) At first it looked pretty good from underneath, at least .....




But as I tightened the two clamp screws, it became apparent that the bezel's finger grips were digging into the tool's jaws ....




.... and at that stage, the minimal jaw lips had barely begun to make contact with the bezel / case joint, let alone start to split it. :(

The reason being that the bezel mounting flange on a 7A38-6020 is stepped in quite a way from the outer edges of the finger grips. 




So will it even be possible to re-design such a tool to cater for all 7A38's ? :/

I guess a good starting point would be a pair of 42.5mm diameter jaws with much bigger lips - probably 35.0mm (inner) diameter.

That would cater for the 7A38-6020, but would it work on the other 'Diver' models - particularly the smaller 7A38-60x0 range ? :|


June 12, 2016 at 12:44 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Seiko7A38
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It had been 6 months and more, but I needed to move on, so after agonizing for some considerable time about the cost, I finally splashed out and bought myself one of those Begeon 7052-38 bezel extractor tools. :/



The 38 refers to the inner diameter of the edge of the protuding lip, when the tool is opened to the point where the jaws are a perfect circle. At which point, the larger diameter (which grips the outer circumference of the bezel) is 41 millimeters. Obviously, It can be opened wider than that and would probably cater for bezels up to 43mm. I haven't tried using it on anything yet, but referring to the list of dimensions in my penultimate post, this means it will probably be ideal for removing diver bezels like those of the 7A28-7040/9; 7A38-7050/-705A, 7A38-7070/-7080 and the Orient J39001-70. However, even though it might open to 43mm, it isn't going to work on the 7A38-6020, because of the thumbgrip versus bezel flange diameter issue. It's going to need something with a proportionally larger (and smaller diameter) protuding lip. 


January 18, 2017 at 9:48 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Seiko7A38
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Posts: 12380

Having spent what I considered an extortionate sum on that Bergeon # 7052 bezel removal tool, I still had my reservations about its effectiveness - and in fact hadn't even attempted to use it in anger, in over a year since I'd splashed out on it. :roll:


Turns out that my doubts were unfounded. I've got a NOS Seiko p/n 86311083 bezel incoming - which may yet result in a 3-way swap between by best example / second string and 'beater' 7A38-6060. In anticipation of its arrival, I thought I'd try removing at least a couple of the bezels I intend to change. It worked a treat. It did take a considerable amount of hand grip pressure (to hold the tool tightly closed) and a slight twist, but the first bezel popped cleanly off with a resounding click. :)




With this particular bezel, with its deep-seated (effectively inaccessible) recessed track, success depended mostly on the tool's ability to grip the four thumb grips. Ironically, had the lip of the tool been able to act directly on the bezel / track interface, it would have been almost exactly the right diameter.



May 14, 2018 at 11:21 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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