Not all was formerly better - gaskets well
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Thread: Not all was formerly better - gaskets well

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  1. #1
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    Not all was formerly better - gaskets well

    Hi there,

    this Bifora watch demonstrates that a watch can remain waterproof for some 77 years with the first set of gaskets:



    Notice that there is no corrosion on the dial, even not on a spot where the lacquer was occasionally damaged when removing the hands.

    The maker, Bifora/Bidlingmaier started as case maker:
    bidfun-db Archive: Watch Movements: Bifora-Uhrenfabrik, Joseph Bidlingmaier, Schw?bisch Gm?nd

    And likely therefore he knew that an Oyster needs continuous water exchange to survive, while a movement does not. So they applied a rather thick chrome layer, which not only protects against wear and corrosion, but also gives a smooth and glossy gasket seat. So the lead gasket wasn't damaged by occasional opening and closing the case, and thus still keeps water reliably out.

    And even more outstanding: The crown gasket is adjustable by squeezing it with a screw ring, to compensate wear to some extent:



    And if a certain limit is exceeded or the material becomes hard, the gasket can be replaced with kitchen equippment, and without need of a new crown.

    Regards, Roland Ranfft

  2. #2
    Zenith Forum Co-moderator
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    Re: Not all was formerly better - gaskets well

    Wow! - what a watch! I always wonder why that sort of crown gasket isn't more popular and widespread. I have a Seiko from the 1970s that has it and it certainly looks like it would ensure that 5 bar waterproof watches are actually made waterproof to 5 bars!

    Hartmut Richter
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  3. #3
    Member trim's Avatar
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    Re: Not all was formerly better - gaskets well

    I have never seen such a stem arrangement before, cool!

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  5. #4
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    Re: Not all was formerly better - gaskets well

    Hi trim,

    Quote Originally Posted by trim View Post
    I have never seen such a stem arrangement before, cool!
    I haven't either until the last few weeks, but then I happened to meet it twice (likely by accident). The first was this military Moeris, also from about 1940:



    It has screw-down bezel and back, both with gasket, and the same crown-gasket design:



    As Bifora occasionally delivered cases also to Swiss companies, I meanwhile suspect the case of this Moeris came from this source.

    Regards, Roland Ranfft

  6. #5
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    Re: Not all was formerly better - gaskets well

    Hi Hartmut,

    Quote Originally Posted by Hartmut Richter View Post
    ....and it certainly looks like it would ensure that 5 bar waterproof watches are actually made waterproof to 5 bars!
    Indeed, I actually checked the Bifora with 8 bar - perfect! And at least in Germany almost all wall outlets for water taps have this squeeze-type gasket, and almost all prove that continuous pessure of 5 bar or more is no problem for decades. Maybe the designer of this crown gasket was inspired by this fact.

    Regards, Roland Ranfft
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  7. #6
    Member demonfinder's Avatar
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    Re: Not all was formerly better - gaskets well

    I recently picked up this old Certina which despite it`s low tech approach appears to have performed well in keeping out both dirt and water since the early 1940`s.
    Name:  model introduced late 1942.jpg
Views: 75
Size:  1.51 MB the model was apparently aimed a men who worked in heavy industries so the watch was marketed as strong and dependable.
    When I opened mine up for a look I was surprised to find an old soft lead (I think ) gasket as well as the inner dust cover.
    Together with just a screw down case back they seem to have been up to the job.
    Name:  11.jpg
Views: 73
Size:  133.0 KBName:  IMG_20170720_134210639.jpg
Views: 72
Size:  1.04 MBName:  IMG_20170720_134132269.jpg
Views: 71
Size:  1.52 MB
    The gasket has become stretched so is no longer serviceable but I`ll keep it aside.
    An outer stem tube also seems to have worked well too.
    Name:  56719901212da_260372b.jpg
Views: 73
Size:  450.5 KB
    Radium lume,Lead gaskets ...who knows what other dangers are lurking within .. :0)

  8. #7
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    Re: Not all was formerly better - gaskets well

    A simple and straightforward solution. What's not to like?
    busmatt likes this.
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