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Discussion Starter #1
RE: Alpina Extreme Regulator (Alpina Regulator website page)

Background
With apoligies if this has already been covered - although I searched in all the forums and could not find it. I just thought I'd post this in case someone needs this information, and I thought it was a watchmaking related issue.

Some of the Alpina watches and possibly others use a triangular recessed head screw to hold the bezel. This is a special security type of screw found on some toys and computer gear. If you need to tighten the bezel on the Alpina Extreme Regulator, you'll need a special screwdriver.

TP3 Screwdriver?
Some say the Alpina uses a TP3 security screw, but I don't believe this is what is used on the Alpina watches like the Alpina Extreme Regulator (AL-650LBBB3FBAE6) shown below (photo linked from the Alpina website). The TP3 has a curved surface on each of the 3 sides of the triangle. I do not think that the screws used in the Alpina are not TP3. I believe they are instead the rather rare triangle recess head screws.

Triangle Power Bits
It is extremely difficult to find a screwdriver for the triangle screws. But triangle bits can be sourced from McMaster Carr in the U.S. at mcmaster.com , an industrial supply company, and possibly other sources, but I could not find another source in the U.S. or UK.

For reference, the McMaster Carr part numbers are 594A11, 594A12, 594A13 and 594A14 for the Triangle Power Bits, which are sizes TA18, TA20, TA23 and TA27.

There may be other sizes, and there may be metric sized triangle power bits; however, I believe the triangle bits referenced above are indeed metric. I measure the TA18 at 1.9 mm across the flat, which is probably correctly sized to fit a 2 mm triangle recess head screw.

Photos
I have added photos below of these bits. Just a piece of very eccentric and obscure information, but my guess is that if a watchmaker or owner is trying to tighten or remove the bezel on an Alpina Regulator, this information may come in handy.

By the way, I had originally posted some of this info on T3, but apparently the thread disappeared for some reason, so I'm adding it here hopefully to help someone who might be looking for this information.

Here is a photo of the Alpina Extreme Regulator; you can see the triangle screws on the bezel:



Here are photos of the triangular screwdriver power bits:





 

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Hello there,

I have tried to buy the triangle screwdriver from Mcmaster but they are not able to sell to me due to some US export regulations and they are only able to sell to their associates. I am from the Asia country Singapore.

I am wondering as to whether you have another supplier or someone who are able to sell the items as stated in your website.

Regards
Weng Han

RE: Alpina Extreme Regulator (Alpina Regulator website page)

Background
With apoligies if this has already been covered - although I searched in all the forums and could not find it. I just thought I'd post this in case someone needs this information, and I thought it was a watchmaking related issue.

Some of the Alpina watches and possibly others use a triangular recessed head screw to hold the bezel. This is a special security type of screw found on some toys and computer gear. If you need to tighten the bezel on the Alpina Extreme Regulator, you'll need a special screwdriver.

TP3 Screwdriver?
Some say the Alpina uses a TP3 security screw, but I don't believe this is what is used on the Alpina watches like the Alpina Extreme Regulator (AL-650LBBB3FBAE6) shown below (photo linked from the Alpina website). The TP3 has a curved surface on each of the 3 sides of the triangle. I do not think that the screws used in the Alpina are not TP3. I believe they are instead the rather rare triangle recess head screws.

Triangle Power Bits
It is extremely difficult to find a screwdriver for the triangle screws. But triangle bits can be sourced from McMaster Carr in the U.S. at mcmaster.com , an industrial supply company, and possibly other sources, but I could not find another source in the U.S. or UK.

For reference, the McMaster Carr part numbers are 594A11, 594A12, 594A13 and 594A14 for the Triangle Power Bits, which are sizes TA18, TA20, TA23 and TA27.

There may be other sizes, and there may be metric sized triangle power bits; however, I believe the triangle bits referenced above are indeed metric. I measure the TA18 at 1.9 mm across the flat, which is probably correctly sized to fit a 2 mm triangle recess head screw.

Photos
I have added photos below of these bits. Just a piece of very eccentric and obscure information, but my guess is that if a watchmaker or owner is trying to tighten or remove the bezel on an Alpina Regulator, this information may come in handy.

By the way, I had originally posted some of this info on T3, but apparently the thread disappeared for some reason, so I'm adding it here hopefully to help someone who might be looking for this information.

Here is a photo of the Alpina Extreme Regulator; you can see the triangle screws on the bezel:



Here are photos of the triangular screwdriver power bits:





 

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Discussion Starter #4
Hi:
I don't know of another supplier for these screwdrivers, which seem very hard to find. It took me some time to find McMaster Carr. I don't sell them or anything, I'm only a watch collector who purchased them for myself.

If I ever find another source, I'll post it here. In the meantime, it probably wouldn't be too difficult to make a triangle tool that would fit, any machinist with a milling machine should be able to do this for you.

Also, some owners have said that they use a flat-bladed screwdriver to fit across the triangle recess, while others say they make a tool by grinding the flats on a piece of round stock. I would be careful with this though, it might work on the normal triangle security screws, but on a $2,000.00 watch, I'd be afraid that it might scratch the finish.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
They're also on the fold strap...

Ah, interesting, I didn't know that! Do those screws need to be loosened to adjust the strap? I've never seen a clasp like that...
 

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Sorry, but those screws remind me of cheap, McDonald Happy Meal toys. I can't stands 'em.
 

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Ah, interesting, I didn't know that! Do those screws need to be loosened to adjust the strap? I've never seen a clasp like that...
Works much easier...



;-)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Works much easier...



;-)
Nice - looks solid in there! Is that the Regulator? Would love to see more pics, have you covered it in another WUS thread? Thx.
 

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I know this is a super old thread... but is there any chance your able to tell me the size of the triangle in these screws? I'm able to source a range of bits for a tool on flea Bay. But I would prefer to buy a single tool of the correct size if possible?
If I can't get an exact size driver, I'll make one from a square headed driver instead... would be awesome to hear the details...

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If I can't get an exact size driver, I'll make one from a square headed driver instead...
From a square head to a triangle head: if you intend to file just a flat, your triangle won't be centered, then you'll have big chances to mark the screw head, when you'll apply some torque.

Use a classic steel screwdriver, file 3 flats, remove the sharp angles and you're done :)
Do it by hand or in a lathe. Use CuBe if you feel more confident with that.
 

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From a square head to a triangle head: if you intend to file just a flat, your triangle won't be centered, then you'll have big chances to mark the screw head, when you'll apply some torque.

Use a classic steel screwdriver, file 3 flats, remove the sharp angles and you're done :)
Do it by hand or in a lathe. Use CuBe if you feel more confident with that.
Thanks Deli, yeah I started to realise the issue around filing a square head... But I have found some triangle (not Tri-wing either) drivers in ebay and but the looks of things the screws on the bezel look to be the same size as the caseback screws, which would make the triangle between 1.8mm to 2mm length sides as far as my best measuring device can show!
I don't have a lathe, so i figured I'll get a 2mm or even a 2.5mm driver as well, and "polish" the sides down with my dremel to fit.
Failing that I'll look into our idea with filing a standard screwdriver down :)


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Thanks Deli, yeah I started to realise the issue around filing a square head... But I have found some triangle (not Tri-wing either) drivers in ebay and but the looks of things the screws on the bezel look to be the same size as the caseback screws, which would make the triangle between 1.8mm to 2mm length sides as far as my best measuring device can show!
I don't have a lathe, so i figured I'll get a 2mm or even a 2.5mm driver as well, and "polish" the sides down with my dremel to fit.
Failing that I'll look into our idea with filing a standard screwdriver down :)
The lathe may be of some help with getting the 3x120° right. That's really doable by hand though.

I wouldn't use those ebay drivers, since you don't know about its metal (steel ?) properties.

Use a good blued steel for screwdrivers, a small file (cut 2 for roughing, cut 4 to finish it), that's a few minutes job.
With a dremel, at 10k RPM you'll go too far, too quick, the surfaces won't be flat. You'll only get "something like".
 

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The lathe may be of some help with getting the 3x120° right. That's really doable by hand though.

I wouldn't use those ebay drivers, since you don't know about its metal (steel ?) properties.

Use a good blued steel for screwdrivers, a small file (cut 2 for roughing, cut 4 to finish it), that's a few minutes job.
With a dremel, at 10k RPM you'll go too far, too quick, the surfaces won't be flat. You'll only get "something like".
Your totally right, and I've definitely over done things in the past with the dremel, even when it's mounted in a vice.
I think ill take your advice and head into the hardware store tomorrow and pick up something decent to file down. I know in the back of my mind it will be worth it, especially as I plan on putting a 2892 with a grande date complication inside... will probably need to open it up a few times before it's completed.
Will post some pics once it's done but I have to wait for Switzerland to finish holidays before the gen parts can be ordered and shipped :/

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