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Beware of poor spring pins even in new watches.


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My wife bought me a Smiths Expedition for Christmas past which I wore on the bracelet for a few months and then put onto a RIOS Typhoon leather strap recently. I was a bit shocked to find when I removed the spring pins they were in a terrible state. One was badly bent and both looked grubby and corroded. I have no problem with this and love the watch but their structural integrity gave me a shiver. 

I took my Rotary GMT off the original bracelet for the first time yesterday which Ive had about 2 years to find a similar story to the Smiths. The end of one of the spring pins was bent and badly deformed and only just holding itself in.

Just a thought when you consider these tiny little fixings are what stops your finely finished timepiece from hitting the deck. 

Its possibly only an issue on affordable watches but for the little effort it takes from now on its something I will always check on any watch. 

Cheers

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I'm looking at a watch for my next buy and its pins have been one of my deciding factors. I'm thinking that the screw in bars (are these called solid lugs?) are probably the way to go and this has been one of my deciding factors. I plan to put a shark mesh bracelet on it and I'm thinking that the more expensive ones with the same adjustment style will go nice on the watch.

Most of my collection is not expensive  and I did buy one of those boxes of multiple spring bars from ebay £3. They are bad, don't buy them for anything costing over £30. 

I've always found that spring bars (and the little pole inside a leather strap buckle) are the weakest points in every watch and they seem to be all over them (including bracelets). 

But what can we really do about it (buy good ones?) There are multiple points all over everyone's watches that are secured by 1mm points of metal. Nato straps help ease the mind if used properly, but what can we do about it? Climb aboard the paranoia train and shelve out trinkets or take a leap of faith. 

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Cousins are a good place for a selection of decent spring bars in all sizes. 

Seiko divers, now theres a spring bar, big thick chunky, virtually fills the lug width aswell because they have drilled lugs. 

cheers

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Maybe it's the way you're wearing the watches somehow? Too loose? Too tight? Maybe you're just more active and hard on your watches? I've never had a problem with any springbars on a watch, ever. Factory or cheap aftermarket replacements.

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The Oris Aquis range sometimes get bit of criticism about the straps because you can only fit Oris straps on them, and if you`re a strapoholic you are severely limited, but the design does make seem quite solid and robust as you have to get the pins in or out  with a special tri-wing screwdriver.

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1 hour ago, JayDeep said:

Maybe it's the way you're wearing the watches somehow? Too loose? Too tight? Maybe you're just more active and hard on your watches? I've never had a problem with any springbars on a watch, ever. Factory or cheap aftermarket replacements.

I'm in camp JayDeep (except for the one time I didn't locate the pin properly when I changed the strap, but it held long enough for me to put it on and then fell on the floor as I lifted my arm to inspect my not very handiwork).

I have also pushed pins into a resized bracelet and gone an hour or two before realising I've missed one side of the link, so it's fair to assume I'm a bit of an idiot.

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Just now, Bricey said:

have also pushed pins into a resized bracelet and gone an hour or two before realising I've missed one side of the link, so it's fair to assume I'm a bit of an idiot.

Lol

Oh yeah, definitely been there/done that!

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When I see the screw pins for my Smiths Expedition and screw pins for a Miltat Seiko alpinist specific bracelet I bought for about £80 makes me think many of the big brands with push pins in £500 plus watches are taking the p*ss. 

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If you have the right spring bars for the kind of bracelet or strap you wear and how you wear it then you shouldn't have a problem. But I do take you point about the quality of some springbars.

As Jaydeep mentioned if you wear a bracelet quite tight it can bend the springbars just with the flexing of your wrist, on a leather or nylon strap they can easily get caught and bend releasing the strap (rucksacks are bad for this) - I put in thicker spring bars if required or for wearing a NATO shoulder-less spring bars around 1.5mm to 1.8mm

I have never had a problem with premium brands, unless the springbars were replaced during its life with substandard bars, and as a rule I always check the springbars of any watch I buy, new or used, to make sure they are right for the bracelet/strap and how I wear it   

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I wonder if this is partially down to the fact that gents watches are simply much larger and heavier than ladies watches.  Some of you gentlemen wear very large, substantial time pieces (and regularly change straps), which to me look like they'd need something more substantial, to offer watch security with the twisting and pivoting that a large case might inflict on the small contact point of a spring bar, as you move etc.

As a woman, who wears significantly smaller and lighter watches than most of you, it has simply never been an issue.  I can't recall ever having a spring bar fail, bend or come undone.  But presumably I'm putting significantly less strain on mine.  I've replaced a few bent ones from inexpensive second hand watches I've bought, but as they were almost always in terrible visible condition anyway, I can only assume that the owner simply wasn't that careful.

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10 hours ago, SolaVeritate said:

I'm looking at a watch for my next buy and its pins have been one of my deciding factors. I'm thinking that the screw in bars (are these called solid lugs?) are probably the way to go and this has been one of my deciding factors. I plan to put a shark mesh bracelet on it and I'm thinking that the more expensive ones with the same adjustment style will go nice on the watch.

Most of my collection is not expensive  and I did buy one of those boxes of multiple spring bars from ebay £3. They are bad, don't buy them for anything costing over £30. 

I've always found that spring bars (and the little pole inside a leather strap buckle) are the weakest points in every watch and they seem to be all over them (including bracelets). 

But what can we really do about it (buy good ones?) There are multiple points all over everyone's watches that are secured by 1mm points of metal. Nato straps help ease the mind if used properly, but what can we do about it? Climb aboard the paranoia train and shelve out trinkets or take a leap of faith. 

That is why NATO straps are popular with me, I can afford to lose a bar but still retain the watch.  I also replace double shouldered spring bars in buckles with single shouldered variety, with thicker pins.  My Elliot Brown has screwed bars in the buckle and the lugs.

CWC NATO straps have the solid buckle welded in.  I have bent a normal sprung buckle pin after snagging a watch on a gate, not much but enough to allow the prong to slip past the frame of the buckle.

I also regularly upgrade my spring bars to a thicker spec, and one of my 23mm lug watches (advertised as 22 by the manufacturer) came with 22mm pins, as far as I could see, just catching.

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