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Do you typically replace the gasket in your own past experience modding watch crystals?
 

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Let's say it's a year old watch; the back is opened, movement removed and maybe hands and/or dial are changed, movement returned, new case back gasket (maybe a crown/stem gasket(s)), case back tightened appropriately, why would a crystal gasket need to be replaced? Obviously if the crystal is removed for any reason certainly the gasket should be replaced but barring that, I see no need to replace it.


EDIT: just re-read it, when doing a crystal mod so yes, certainly the gasket needs to be replaced. It could have been torn or punctured or somehow the integrity has been impinged.
 

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Always, always ALWAYS replace the crystal gasket. Especially for the plastic flat gasket variety (O-rings might be fine with re-use, but still, I'd replace those too given the chance). They work like single-use crush washers. There's a guy on YouTube who does sapphire swaps on cheap Seikos and I cringe every time he pops up on my searches, and I don't watch his channel at all anymore. He is categorically wrong in skipping this. He just drops in the new crystal leaving the original gasket in there, then plays with hand puppets and silly voices like it's such a simple thing to do. This method will work fine if you don't get any moisture on the watch, or don't do any slight physical activity (where your wrist warms up) but for anyone where temperature and humidity fluctuates between seasons, you're asking for trouble in the form of fog in the inside of the watch. Most of us live in an area with seasonal swings, or exude a nominal amount of physical effort in a day's time, and the watch will fog up without replacing the crystal. If you're sitting at a desk all day, maybe his method works fine. This same guy also uses the $10 crystal press you can get on eBay and Amazon - DON'T DO THIS EITHER. Those things are notoriously misaligned, and even if you do replace the gasket properly, you might wind up clamping your new crystal down in a slightly crooked manner, which will allow moisture to seep in, and then with the slightest amount of physical activity - fogged up watch.

I know this from messing around with my son on his SNK collection. We invested in a decent crystal press (not cheap!), and always replace the gaskets. Now there's no more fog. Also, a little silicone can go a long way to help create a better seal.

If you're getting into this, go to a thrift store and buy a bunch of crappy quartz watches and just practice popping the stock crystals on and off. Maybe buy a bag of assorted gaskets from Esslinger.com or something so you get the hang of it before taking the plunge with something you truly care about.

EDIT: Call around to local watch or jeweler stores. Kindly ask them if they'll swap crystals for you. Tell them you'll provide the crystal and the gasket, all they have to do is press it in. This will help you avoid the need to buy the press, and potentially screw it up. I understand the need to tweak things - I'm a tweaker too - but if it's something you care about, have a pro do it.
 
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A new gasket is preferred but not critical IMO, if the gasket is hard to find.

The gasket works in the same way as the seal on plastic water or soft drink bottles, i.e. a combination of smooth surfaces (at least one of which has elastic properties) and pressure. You don't need to replace the plastic cap with a new one every time you want to re-seal a coke bottle and that gasket is the same. If the gasket is quite new and undamaged (check by feeling it gently in your fingers and visual inspection with a loupe) the chances are it is good to go. Do make sure it is clean with no particles or dust before attempting to press and if in doubt pressure testing is more important than a new gasket.

BTW, silicone is NOT a good idea. Silicone lube in itself does not create a watertight seal, it's main function is to prevent damage through friction such as on the stem O-ring as you turn your crown. Lube will help make it easier to push the crystal in but most watch crystals are held in place by friction which silicone lube greatly reduces thereby increasing the likelyhood of your crystal popping out with minor impact.
 
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Discussion Starter #9
Where is a good place to check gasket sizes?
I need to buy one for my Seiko Turtle and a Mako II.
 

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Never messed with crystal gaskets but I opened the back of a seiko 007 dozens of times whilst trying to regulate it and never replaced the gasket but I was careful to clean and lubricate it and didn’t have any problems.

Still have it and it I still haven’t got it regulated right!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Where is a good place to check gasket sizes?
I need to buy one for my Seiko Turtle and a Mako II.
You might get lucky with crystaltimes.net. Alex (their operations guy) is also very responsive on email if you send him a note. My son has asked him all kinds of questions in the past, and he's usually quite prompt. The models you're looking at are fairly high on the list of watches people do this to, so there should be plenty of gaskets and crystal options on the web. You might also want to get the bill of material for those watches to see the exact Seiko part number, then head over to eBay to see if you can buy Seiko's specific gasket.

If you're okay with after-market gaskets, Esslinger.com is usually where I go. They have o-ring, flat rubber, and the plastic kind. You can even get assorted bags in case you're not exactly sure. But if you can't find the exact OEM gasket, get a good caliper, pop the original gasket, and measure away. You'll need four measurements: a) inner diameter, b) outer diameter, c) height, and d) thickness (or, the difference between a and b). From there, you can order the gasket that fits. Esslinger also has videos showing you how and what to measure to get it right.

Finding the OEM part list for the watch might be tricky, but some eBay vendors pop up if you know Seiko's case number for those models. Often the case number is printed on the case back, or google it. For example, the last watch we fitted a sapphire crystal to was a Seiko SNZG13. Its case number is 7S36-02J0. So if you search for "gasket case 7S36-02J0" or something similar, you'll get some results. Often for more popular Seiko models you'll even find somebody selling you the whole gasket kit - stem gasket, case back gasket, and crystal gasket. When that happens, I just replace all of them, even if the others haven't had any wear and tear.

Also, don't be shocked by the price of a gasket. I've paid, on average, around $20 each with shipping (unless it's from Alex; he usually charges around $10, but he doesn't have all gaskets to fit his inventory of crystals, so for some gaskets, you can't buy from him directly). The price sort of makes sense, because machining a gasket for a watch is incredibly difficult - you're talking about degrees of tolerance in the micrometer range, and quality control can also be quite difficult. So keep that in mind too.

Good luck.
 

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Never messed with crystal gaskets but I opened the back of a seiko 007 dozens of times whilst trying to regulate it and never replaced the gasket but I was careful to clean and lubricate it and didn’t have any problems.

Still have it and it I still haven’t got it regulated right!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Yeah, with the models I've messed with, the case back gasket rarely needs a swap. Not sure why that is, but maybe they just sit in their groove better than the crystal gasket. Or maybe it's because for the case back, it's not the gasket that's holding the case back on, like it is with a crystal gasket. I've never had problems with the case back gasket either.
 
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