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Thread: Remember to check your spring bars

  1. #1
    Master
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    Remember to check your spring bars

    Just went to change the rubber strap from my UX to a nato. As the bar came out, the end was no longer attached but had remained solid enough on the wrist to not realise.

    Admittedly itís a tough old watch but would still rather it didnít take a floor dive.

    Will be going through mine all on the coming days to prevent 2022 having a shocker of a start.

  2. #2
    Grand Master
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    I always check springbars if I work on a watch, even if I havenít needed to disturb them. I apply the Ďpass the parcelí principle, I was the last person to touch it so any subsequent springbar failure could ( wrongly) be attributed to me.

    Failed springbars in bracelet clasps are not uncommon, I often split the clasp to get at the caseback and Iíve seen springbars come apart when the tension is released.

    On old watches I often fit all new springbars FOC, itís better than the owner having his freshly serviced watch drop off his wrist!

  3. #3
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by walkerwek1958 View Post
    I always check springbars if I work on a watch, even if I havenít needed to disturb them. I apply the Ďpass the parcelí principle, I was the last person to touch it so any subsequent springbar failure could ( wrongly) be attributed to me.

    Failed springbars in bracelet clasps are not uncommon, I often split the clasp to get at the caseback and Iíve seen springbars come apart when the tension is released.

    On old watches I often fit all new springbars FOC, itís better than the owner having his freshly serviced watch drop off his wrist!
    Makes an awful lot of sense.

    My first failure but will be replacing them all as they are all a few years old albeit low wrist time.

  4. #4
    Journeyman
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    I recently bought some new springbars and went round in circles trying to find some that looked reassuringly solid. There were so many cheap nasty looking ones for sale that Iíd not have any confidence in and for the sake of a few quid I thought it was worth paying a bit more. Has anyone got any recommendations for where to get springbars in the future, Iím thinking of replacing some on one of my other watches?

  5. #5
    Master Sinnlover's Avatar
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    I change spring bars every couple of years
    Never had one fail on my wrist but the spring bar on my Pelagos failed as I took it out of the box on the day of its arrival from the AD.

  6. #6
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sinnlover View Post
    I change spring bars every couple of years
    Never had one fail on my wrist but the spring bar on my Pelagos failed as I took it out of the box on the day of its arrival from the AD.
    Wow thatís scary indeed!

  7. #7
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by AP1 View Post
    I recently bought some new springbars and went round in circles trying to find some that looked reassuringly solid. There were so many cheap nasty looking ones for sale that Iíd not have any confidence in and for the sake of a few quid I thought it was worth paying a bit more. Has anyone got any recommendations for where to get springbars in the future, Iím thinking of replacing some on one of my other watches?
    Iíd heard cousins were good but never ordered. Itís the end diameter that worries me, going too slim and wearing away the lug holes.

  8. #8
    Journeyman
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mj2k View Post
    Iíd heard cousins were good but never ordered. Itís the end diameter that worries me, going too slim and wearing away the lug holes.
    Thatís a good point and not something Iíd considered but thatís another factor in something I originally thought was as straightforward as it gets! Having had a look at Cousins this evening it seems there are dozens of permutations of end shapes, lengths and thicknesses to choose from. I think Iíll not bother with new ones and leave my old ones alone!

  9. #9
    Craftsman AKM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sinnlover View Post
    I change spring bars every couple of years
    Never had one fail on my wrist but the spring bar on my Pelagos failed as I took it out of the box on the day of its arrival from the AD.
    The spring bars on my new Black Bay 58 were prone to binding when compressed, one of them would cease up completely and could only be freed off by tapping the end with a small hammer. They seem to be almost single use and I'm not surprised that one failed, it had probably never fully extended after the bracelet / strap was fitted.
    Last edited by AKM; 5th January 2022 at 23:41.

  10. #10
    Grand Master
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    Generally there are two causes of springbar failure. The most common is the bars getting sprained when the strap or bracelet gets a hard tug. However, over a period of several years the tiny spring inside can corrode and fail. This is more likely if the watch gets wet and dirty on a frequent basis, the residual soggy crud will cause corrosion. This affects bracelet springbars.

    The springbars Cousins supply are fine but the choice us bewildering and they donít include the springbar end diameter in the description. Ideally this should be snug, especially for a bracelet, otherwise the end pieces wonít be quite as snug a fit against the case. I keep plenty of the common sizes in stock so I can always find the optimum for a given application.......aka trial and error aided by the trusty digital caliper!

  11. #11
    Master Jon Kenney's Avatar
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    I completely dismantled Mrs K's OP39 bracelet the other day to ultrasonic clean it. Once put back together again (correctly) the clasp wouldn't stay closed. I took it to pieces and re-inspected all parts and then reassembled three times, but it still wouldn't stay closed.
    I took it into Pragnells (where I purchased it from) to have their inhouse tech take a look and they fixed it within ten minutes, citing a faulty clasp springbar. The thing is that the faulty springbar was visually intact and looked ok, but still failed.

  12. #12
    Master
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    Since we're on the topic... I seem to have bent the ends of 2 springbars on my Grand Seiko when changing a strap. Never ever achieved this before. I contacted Seiko UK and they are posting replacements to me FOC. I half expected them to tell me they are £x plus postage so was delighted at the result.

    I wanted correct ones that fit the opening of the bracelet end links and the lug holes - to avoid the risk of too small diameter bar being lose in the link or too small a pin wearing the case lug (or too large a pin not seating correctly in the lug putting the bracelet security at risk). Just makes you think how much we depend on such a small tube of metal with a spring inside and a teeny tiny pin on each end to keep a watch on wrist eh!

    Ant

  13. #13
    Craftsman
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    Scary thread. I have a 1992/93 14060, can AD's supply new one's? or does anybody know where to purchase?

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Mj2k View Post
    Just went to change the rubber strap from my UX to a nato. As the bar came out, the end was no longer attached but had remained solid enough on the wrist to not realise.

    Admittedly itís a tough old watch but would still rather it didnít take a floor dive.
    I often wore my Luminox 3200 on a rubber strap...



    ...until one afternoon while riding my bicycle the strap had a disagreement with the lugs.

    They parted ways in what might uncharitably be described as a major flounce.

    The lumpen Luminox punished the tarmac face down, bouncing a few times before coming to a halt in Tokyo traffic.

    The impact was hard enough to take a chip out of the crystal at 10 o'clock. Oh and...



    This required some action, using my impressive skills amateur hackwork, horologically-approved stripy work surface, and reassuringly expensive fleamarket tools:







    Note the stack height, to give enough clearance for the tritium vials:



    Lesson learned. Straight back on to the zulu strap afterwards:



    I don't mind the crystal chip, it's a beater after all, but I don't want any more flounces. Even new spring bars can bind on rubber straps if not quite the right size.

    And this was the same rubber strap I used to use on my old 14060



    So yes, check your spring bars!

  15. #15
    I think Iím going to change the springbars on my watches as a preventative measure. Canít do any harm and might save a watch if a springbar is about to pop.

    Which are the best quality springbars to go for and where do I get them from?

  16. #16
    Master Sinnlover's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FazerBoy View Post
    I think Iím going to change the springbars on my watches as a preventative measure. Canít do any harm and might save a watch if a springbar is about to pop.

    Which are the best quality springbars to go for and where do I get them from?
    Itís one of lifeís unanswerable questions, there will be as many opinions as optionsÖ

    Seriously, I would look at cousins if you have an account, failing that lots of the strap sellers do bundles of bars and are worth at try.

    As they are not marked it very difficult to pin down where a bar is made unless you go OEM from an AD.

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