Case Opening Tool for EPSA Super Compressor Case as used for Enicar Sherpa Graph
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  1. #1
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    Question Case Opening Tool for EPSA Super Compressor Case as used for Enicar Sherpa Graph

    I own two Enicar Sherpa Graph watches, one of which easily opens with a friction ball or a Bergeon suction/friction tool.

    . . . and the other S.G. I can not open.

    The one I cannot open is now in the hands of a well-known and respected watchmaker here in the U.S. and in my presence, he was unable to open the watch even with a Bergeon 5700Z and appropriately sized friction cup.

    The watchmaker has a large commercial 3D printer and two CNC machines one of which is a milling machine. The current plan is to print a tool out of plastic first and if that fails, then to make a tool out of metal.

    The case back is 14-sided and I measure it as 34.0mm flat to flat and 34.7mm corner to corner.

    Shown below appears to be the original type of tool used:

    I have looked online on and off for a couple of months and I have not run across such a tool.

    There are multi-sided dies made for Breitling watches that would be just the ticket if they were made in the appropriate size, but alas, the 14-sided variety come in 30.2 and 36.2 flat to flat sizes.

    I've checked with Esslinger, Otto Frei and others.

    Anyone have any idea where I may obtain the correct tool for the job?
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  2. #2
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    Re: Case Opening Tool for EPSA Super Compressor Case as used for Enicar Sherpa Graph

    Seems strange to use a friction cup instead of a normal three-bit case wrench (like an LG). With the correct bits, even as an amateur I've opened many very tight waterproof cases with polygonal case-backs without incident. However, I know there are watchmakers on the forum, so they can correct me if I'm wrong.

    I carefully adjust the wrench to be a snug fit on three flats of the polygonal back. I put the case in a holder (the kind with four plastic pins), and put the entire holder in a bench vise, so that I have two hands free to use the wrench. That allows me to apply strong pressure with one hand to keep the wrench from slipping, while I rotate the wrench with the other hand. Alternatively, you can use the LG wrench in combination with an LG Openall, which will really be foolproof since there will basically be no way for the wrench to slip. I used to do it that way, but I found it to be overkill.
    -- Dan (formerly known as @badbackdan)
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    Off Topic post Re: Case Opening Tool for EPSA Super Compressor Case as used for Enicar Sherpa Graph

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan S View Post
    Seems strange to use a friction cup instead of a normal three-bit case wrench (like an LG). With the correct bits, even as an amateur I've opened many very tight waterproof cases with polygonal case-backs without incident. However, I know there are watchmakers on the forum, so they can correct me if I'm wrong.

    I carefully adjust the wrench to be a snug fit on three flats of the polygonal back. I put the case in a holder (the kind with four plastic pins), and put the entire holder in a bench vise, so that I have two hands free to use the wrench. That allows me to apply strong pressure with one hand to keep the wrench from slipping, while I rotate the wrench with the other hand. Alternatively, you can use the LG wrench in combination with an LG Openall, which will really be foolproof since there will basically be no way for the wrench to slip. I used to do it that way, but I found it to be overkill.
    Thanks for your input, Dan.

    I am not an experienced WIS . . . and certainly no watchmaker, but I do have a small machine shop of my own and nearly a lifetime of experience with things mechanical in nature. I say "nearly a lifetime," as I am up in years but not dead yet.

    I wouldn't try using a three-sided tool to open a tightly shut 14-sided EPSA case.

    When I saw an obviously experienced watchmaker somewhat stumped trying to open the case before my eyes, I realized for the first time why EPSA cases generally . . . and Enicar Sherpa Graph cases in particular more often then not have badly scratched case backs with some very deep scratches.

    My easy to open 1966 S.G. was badly scratched (on the back) long before I got it. Photo below.

    Like many Sherpa Graphs, the front is in great shape despite the abuse of the back.

    On the other hand, the 1962 watch that we are trying to open has a case back that is, so far, in much better shape and I would like to keep it that way.

    The design of the tool used thus far is very similar to the LG Openall but twice the size and capable of putting a lot of torque on the case back.

    I'm hoping that this thread does generate suggestions, but more than suggestions, I'd like to find the correct tool for the job.

    As I've suggested above, a die like the Breitling dies would be perfect, but so far, I've found nothing suitable.

    Thanks again,

    Joe
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    Last edited by Joe_A; February 21st, 2019 at 02:16.

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    Re: Case Opening Tool for EPSA Super Compressor Case as used for Enicar Sherpa Graph

    An addendum . . .

    While on the subject of opening and closing these case backs, it is my understanding that they are rotated up to 70 degrees to open and close. The photo at the end illustrates my understanding, though not necessarily a fact.

    There is a "I" and a "0" on the edge which, as I understand it, aligns with the stem, "I" for locked and "0" for open.

    As you see in the photo, it looks as though the back was rotated past the crown and this may explain why the case is so tight.

    The construction of the case is explained in the link that I have provided immediately below:

    The Watch Spot - Enicar

    Scroll down to the Sherpa Graph entry.
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    Last edited by Joe_A; February 21st, 2019 at 02:38.
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  6. #5
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    Re: Case Opening Tool for EPSA Super Compressor Case as used for Enicar Sherpa Graph

    Well, in case you reconsider, this is the style of LG pin that is designed to open the polygonal case backs.

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    -- Dan (formerly known as @badbackdan)
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    Re: Case Opening Tool for EPSA Super Compressor Case as used for Enicar Sherpa Graph

    Dan,

    Thanks again. I have such a tool with an assortment of interchangeable bits including those you depict . . . and of course, any established watchmaker has such tools.

    Here's how I see the issue, by close analogy . . .

    One can loosen a hex head machine screw or attempt to do so in a number of ways. In descending order of proper means to an end:

    One can use a hex wrench (spanner) or a hex socket and ratchet handle or torque wrench.
    One can use a 12-point box wrench or socket.
    One can use a properly sized open-end wrench.
    One can use an adjustable wrench.
    One can use a pair of vice-grips.
    One can use a slip-joint pliers.

    When the bolt or nut is fully torqued down to specifications - or worse, over-torqued, using anything other than the right tool risks damaging the head in such a way that the right tool may no longer fit properly.

    Now if we were discussing an exposed chromed bolt on your Ferrari cam covers where cosmetics are important, you'd shoot-to-kill any mechanic who reaches for an adjustable wrench or a pair of pliers!

    Assuming the triad of angles on a 3-point tool match the 14-sided case back, any slip-up is still going to mar the back of the case. It is not worth the risk when the watch is valuable and clearly someone has previously over-tightened the back.

    Had the watchmaker reached for a three-point tool, I'd have grabbed the watch out of his hands and run out into the street never to return.

    In the end, a tool may have to be fabricated as indicated in my first post. The watchmaker hasn't started the tool yet as far as I am aware and so I will bump this thread a few times in the hope that someone who knows where the correct tool may be found may provide input.

    ~ Joe
    Last edited by Joe_A; February 21st, 2019 at 17:50.

  8. #7
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    Re: Case Opening Tool for EPSA Super Compressor Case as used for Enicar Sherpa Graph

    Joe, I'm not going to fill space with a list of my qualifications, but I've got plenty of experience with mechanical things, so I really don't need a lecture with explanations that assume I am a child. I'm just giving you suggestions that have worked for me many, many times, often with severely over-tightened case-backs. If you don't like them, don't take them.

    A totally foolproof method involves super-glue and a hex nut. That absolutely never fails and involves no risk.
    -- Dan (formerly known as @badbackdan)
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    Re: Case Opening Tool for EPSA Super Compressor Case as used for Enicar Sherpa Graph

    Dan,

    If you took my comments as a lecture to you, I'm am sorry that you drew such an inference. It was not my intention to offend you in any way.

    It's challenging at times to convey a pleasant tone in forum posts and sometimes in email exchanges, but I have appreciated your contribution and I have said as much and meant my appreciation to be interpreted as sincere.

    Others who read this thread will not be inclined to suggest using a three-sided adjustable tool even if such an approach has worked for them - and that is what I wanted to convey generally.

    Right upfront I indicated that I am not a watch savant and that I am looking for the right tool as opposed to a work around that carries risk.

    The thread title and the initial post clearly indicates my intent - to find the right tool for the job.

    I believe you too were encouraging input from others and now let us hope the quest leads to a good result.

    Thanks again,

    Joe

    Edit: The hex-nut glued to the case back approach is really a last resort. If the glue does not hold for any reason, the case will be irreversibly marred.

    The goal here is to open and close the watch without risking cosmetic damage. Even the proper wrench or spanner carries some risk, though a die would be a near-perfect solution. A wrench held in place with an opening tool like the Bergeon 5700Z or an Openall would also eliminate risk.

    For those who do not know, this is what the Breitling type die looks like:

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    Last edited by Joe_A; February 21st, 2019 at 20:08.

  10. #9
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    Re: Case Opening Tool for EPSA Super Compressor Case as used for Enicar Sherpa Graph

    I'm not kidding about the superglue/hex-nut method. Try google.
    -- Dan (formerly known as @badbackdan)
    ------- @oldwatchdan on Instagram -------

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    Re: Case Opening Tool for EPSA Super Compressor Case as used for Enicar Sherpa Graph

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan S View Post
    I'm not kidding about the superglue/hex-nut method. Try google.
    I know you are not kidding.

    I have used cyanoacrylate adhesive myself in my machine shop to assist in holding work.

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