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Making replacement bezels/inserts, "bakelite"/acrylic & aluminium- Tissot PR516

  1. mcgyver Apr 20, 2021

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    Have hade some requests to share the method I use for producing replacement inserts in acrylic.

    I am a big fan of vintage Tissot, modell PR516. A while ago I got a project diver in a watch lot bought at an auction.
    It was missing the bezel and the chapter ring. I taught it would be a good practice piece.

    First, lets make the bezel.

    [​IMG]

    The original is made of a plastic that gets brittle with age, breaks and falls of => alot of watches missing the bezel and/or insert.
    A piece of POM was turned to the right dimensions.

    [​IMG]

    After that I set it up in the mill and milled the edge.

    [​IMG]

    Here it is milled and with a lip turned to hold the insert.

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    The insert was milled using a small Roland CNC-mill. 1.25mm clear acrylic.

    [​IMG]

    Testing things for fit - it works! The bezel if press fit with a "lip" that clamps around the case.

    This insert was not made to mimic the original so it if a bit bigger, different fonts etc.

    [​IMG]

    A chapter ring was turned fron a piece of aluminium.

    It was anodized black and then the marks where laser engraved.



    I have a rotary for my fiber laser, but it was not set up at the time, so this was a quick and dirty solution. Fumes from the acrylic "jig" messes up the edges of the lines a bit.

    [​IMG]
    The inserts engravings where filled with paint and lume and then finally the back was painted black.

    The parts ready to be installed.

    [​IMG]

    And this is the final result. By no meens perfect but it made the watch wearable again!
     
    tmw57, Syrte, Nupero and 35 others like this.
  2. w154 Apr 20, 2021

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    Wow. I might have an order for you ! If you’re willing to do a very simple insert what would be the approximate cost ?
     
  3. mcgyver Apr 20, 2021

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    And after a while I got a PR516 Sonorous with original bezel and insert. From the pictures in the ad it looked ok, but after receiving it - sure enough - it had a cracked bezel and insert!

    Well - it was time to try a new idea. The original inserts have very sharp corners and they seem to be stamped/molded.

    I made a test stamp in aluminium to try the method.

    [​IMG]

    Here with the original bezel.

    I tried cold stamping in acrylic, polyester and some other plastics with ok results, but not perfect.

    After MANY tests and different layouts I was ready to make a stamp in brass.

    [​IMG]

    Laser etched layout and a couple of acrylic blanks ready for tests.

    [​IMG]

    A acrylic blank is placed in the tool, it´s heated to > 120deg C and then clamped tight.

    [​IMG]

    Insert after beeing pressed.

    This time around I was aiming for a more correct insert and bezel, so I made a special 60deg. mill.

    [​IMG]

    Now the "teeth" are at the exact same angle as the original, and the size is (if I measured corect) like the original.

    The back of the inserts are then sanded flat to get a clean edge on the indexes/numbers. After this they are filled with paint/lume in the same way as the engraved version.

    [​IMG]

    Different stages of the paint process.

    [​IMG]

    Original in the middle and replacement on the right.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    And the result on the watch!

    There is some "hair" on the POM bezel from machining (looks worse in the picture) - this can be polished of, but I think it will rubbed of quick when I start using the watch.
     
    Edited Jan 9, 2022
    NT931, tmw57, Syrte and 25 others like this.
  4. JimJupiter Apr 20, 2021

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    You are a genius with the right tools! :D I had so many of these 516 on my table. Sometimes some glue and patience will do the job to build cracked ones together. But most of the times the bezel will get loose, cause the plastic went smaller with time.
     
    Scarecrow Boat, w154 and mcgyver like this.
  5. Radiumpassion Apr 20, 2021

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    Very nice! Thank you for sharing the process:thumbsup:
     
    mcgyver likes this.
  6. DirtyDozen12 Thanks, mystery donor! Apr 20, 2021

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    Impressive work. Thanks for sharing!
     
    mcgyver likes this.
  7. laz87 Apr 23, 2021

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    Thanks for share. Very interesting.
    It is a great job
     
    mcgyver likes this.
  8. DesignerV Apr 23, 2021

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    I can definitely appreciate your talent here! Amazing work.
     
    mcgyver likes this.
  9. Gbono Aug 30, 2021

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    Incredible. Are you at all interested in doing another? I too have a PR516 with a missing bezel and insert I would love your help with.
     
    mcgyver likes this.
  10. spe777 Aug 30, 2021

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    Holy cow. What a hero! Like others wondering if any of these bezels are for sale?
     
    mcgyver likes this.
  11. Steve3sc Sep 4, 2021

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    Amazing work here. Highest level fab work.
    OP, I’ll send you a pm and hope you have one for sale!
     
    mcgyver likes this.
  12. mcgyver Sep 5, 2021

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    Working on a new method of making the bezel without milling - if it works, it will be much faster and I'll be able to help you guys that need a new bezel as well! :) (manually milling takes forever!)
     
    cdh348, Steve3sc, ckhaing and 3 others like this.
  13. cdh348 Oct 18, 2021

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    For those of you who might be on the fence about buying a bezel from Mcgyver, I can assure you they are of the highest quality and the craftsmanship is astounding. I recently purchased one and could not be happier. It’s pure art. Truly transformed the appearance of my beater quality PR-516.

    Here’s a few crappy phone pics:
    FF311A2D-18FC-4845-A321-082693C304F5.png A6FFF488-A555-47CE-AA52-D277F6591601.png
     
    Syrte, Nupero, Zapatta and 7 others like this.
  14. Gbono Oct 19, 2021

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    Does this mean there has been progress in the production method? I still stand ready and willing to buy.
     
  15. levkov Oct 19, 2021

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    Might be a rookie question, but what holds these bezels in place? I understand they're friction bezels, so no rachet thingie or spring wire (or whatever it's called). I own a couple of PR516's myself and one has a bezel that keeps falling out, whereas another is turned upside down and can't for the love of god make it to turn (mind you that's a chrono with a fixed bezel). Being very cautious of course as these are very fragile. Thanks in advance,
     
  16. Steve3sc Oct 19, 2021

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    I am very impressed with the quality and final product of MacGuyvers inner and outer bezels and would love to jump on a set or two for my 2 “Bond”-Tissot 516s, but can’t justify the $ since mine are not “collector grade”-pieces, just personal beaters. But if anyone has an extra original inner or outer bezel, regardless of condition, plz pm me asap. (Maybe anyone who replaced/upgraded their old ones with the MacGuyver parts?) I can cobble something workable together from parts/pieces for myself while I save up for the real thing from MacGuyver. I’ll pay for them and shipping etc etc etc!
     
  17. cdh348 Oct 19, 2021

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    It is friction. It kinda “snaps” on and is very tight on the watch. Actually takes some effort to rotate.
     
    levkov likes this.
  18. levkov Oct 21, 2021

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    Hmm.. interesting. Not mine, as it keeps falling out. Perhaps it's a size too big haha
     
  19. cdh348 Oct 21, 2021

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    I can’t speak for the factory bezel mine was crumbling when I got it.
     
    levkov likes this.
  20. mcgyver Oct 25, 2021

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    -Yes, I hope so! :)
    Waiting for more sheet material as my small order seems to have been "lost" - to many orders from the industry !
     
    Gbono likes this.