Top Loaders - Origin, Knowledge, Pictures please

Thread: Top Loaders - Origin, Knowledge, Pictures please

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 14
  1. #1
    Member David.Boettcher's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Cheshire, England
    Posts
    149

    Top Loaders - Origin, Knowledge, Pictures please

    I was reading another thread where a watch that has no separate back and the movement is inserted into the case from the front was described as a "top loader".

    Having recently fallen for a Mido Ocean Star in this kind of case and discovered that someone had tried to lever the back off by punching a hole in it with a screwdriver, I wondered if anyone could comment on this case design and add some details, like:


    1. When was this kind of case used?
    2. Who used it?
    3. How do you tell?
    4. How do you get the movement out - particularly, how do you get the stem out?



    Here is a picture of the case in question:



    You can see at 10:00 o'clock where a hole has been punched into the case and then the screw driver levered against the back of the case to try to get it off. Didn't do the waterproofing much good...

    Thanks for any info and pictures.

    Regards - David

  2. #2
    Member Marrick's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    East Yorkshire, UK
    Posts
    7,743

    Re: Top Loaders - Origin, Knowledge, Pictures please

    Just as a quick contribution, this

    WS 20: Replacing the battery on a Patek Philippe Ladies' Quartz Nautilus

    shows how the split stem looks on many of these, albeit on a quartz watch. And this:

    How I get inside a Benrus Type I/II. Long...with pix------> - The Military Watch Resource - Community Fora

    shows how to get into a Benrus.
    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects."

    Will Rogers (1879 - 1935)


    Please don't PM me to ask for a valuation - I won't attempt one.

  3. #3
    Member trim's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    3,814

    Re: Top Loaders - Origin, Knowledge, Pictures please

    Hi David,

    there are many different styles - although I am not familiar with Mido specifically. Terrible shame about your mido - what butchers!

    Front loaders most often have 2 part stems that snap together and apart. Crystal removal is either by using a crystal lift (usual), or on some cases removing the stem and using compressed air to pop the crystal out (armored). Depends on the crystal. There are also front loaders which use a separate bezel ring - some 60's Omega Seamasters for example.

    Sometimes they say on the back. Most often you can just tell by the way the back made and the style of the watch.

    A similar watch technology you should also investogate is the Roamer waterproof case system. It is also quite an interesting way of solving the same problem.

    I don't think I answered question 2. Many manufacturers used it, or at least dabbled with the design from time to time. Very common on 50s-60s dress watches.

    *bah, beaten to the punch by Marrick yet again

  4. Remove Advertisements
    WatchUSeek.com
    Advertisements
     

  5. #4
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    San Jose, California-USA
    Posts
    36,773

    Re: Top Loaders - Origin, Knowledge, Pictures please

    They can be a major pain, my Lucien Piccard is a pop-top and it's on its 5th crown and crystal.

  6. #5
    Member AbslomRob's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Canada
    Posts
    5,315

    Re: Top Loaders - Origin, Knowledge, Pictures please

    There's actually two types of the split stem. The "better" kind works by simply aligning it so that the movement slides out the top of the case. However, this requires that the sides of the movement be somewhat smaller then case, so that there's room for the stem to come out. The advantage is that you're less likely to break the stem.

    Benrus seemed to be particularly fond of "through the crystal" type cases.
    My growing collection of "affordable" vintages: http://www.abslomrob.com

  7. #6
    Member gatorcpa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    South Florida
    Posts
    2,943

    Re: Top Loaders - Origin, Knowledge, Pictures please

    Quote Originally Posted by David.Boettcher View Post
    I was reading another thread where a watch that has no separate back and the movement is inserted into the case from the front was described as a "top loader".

    Having recently fallen for a Mido Ocean Star in this kind of case and discovered that someone had tried to lever the back off by punching a hole in it with a screwdriver, I wondered if anyone could comment on this case design and add some details, like:


    1. When was this kind of case used?
    2. Who used it?
    3. How do you tell?
    4. How do you get the movement out - particularly, how do you get the stem out?
    1. As others have mentioned, manufacturers started using the design in the late 1950's. There are usually no rubber "O" rings to fail in top-loading cases. Since crystals were generally replaced on a regular basis, it was much easier to meet waterproofing specs on this type of case.

    2. Many manufacturers used top-loading cases. The threads above discuss some of the methods used to secure the crystals to the cases. I have two in my collection:

    Omega Constellation (1968)



    Hamilton Electric - Gemini II (1965)



    3. One way you can tell a top-loading case is that there is no seam to pry it open and no notches for a case wrench:



    Some manufacturers provided special tools to watchmakers to open these up for routine service:



    4. Simple answer - I don't, my watchmaker does it. Too afraid of breaking something.

    Hope this helps,
    gatorcpa

  8. #7
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    SF Bay Area, California
    Posts
    1,922

    Re: Top Loaders - Origin, Knowledge, Pictures please

    Elgin was doing what they called 'One Piece Cases' back in the late '50s. Their claim was better waterproofing through simplicity. Their split stem required pliers - the male end snaps into and out of the female. I'll try to post the page from their service manual tonight.

  9. #8
    Banned
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    NJ / Philly
    Posts
    7,645

    Re: Top Loaders - Origin, Knowledge, Pictures please

    Front loaders also used less gold (when they were made out of solid gold) than screw on backs. Not much, but even a little is costly.

  10. #9
    Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    las vegas
    Posts
    1,860

    Re: Top Loaders - Origin, Knowledge, Pictures please

    My Belforte is out the front OTF or front loaded or top loaded depending on who you ask.
    Most OTF are one piece cases but there are some that are actually 2 piece OTF like this 50's benrus where they have a self contained body with a shell (bezel) that makes the whole thing wearable as in the pics. I have only seen one OTF watch (Technos by Sheffield) that doesn't rely on a split stem but actually has a sliding release hidden under the crystal bezel, I imagine there are others though. There are other OTF that use split cases that are not quite the same as they are split where the stem inserts not requiring stem removal like the 50's bulova 21j here.
    Name:  benrus3star3.JPG
Views: 1421
Size:  170.4 KBName:  bulova23j1.JPG
Views: 1269
Size:  171.8 KB
    Attached Images Attached Images

    1979 5513 Submariner
    1977 Timex Milspec Custom Conversion
    1966 Timex 600 Skindiver
    1969 Benrus US Military Issued
    1961 Belforte Sheppard AFB
    1961 Omega Seamaster



    "Time spent waiting between the seconds is only conspiring to make me older" DV 2018
    "I don't always agree with everybody but when I do it's because I'm Right"
    DV 2011
    Dirtvictim The Watch Mechanic.

  11. #10
    Member AbslomRob's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Canada
    Posts
    5,315

    Re: Top Loaders - Origin, Knowledge, Pictures please

    The Benrus models reference US patent 2,302,340. This was submitted in 1941 and approved in 1942. It's based on the original patent, which was approved in Switzerland in 1940. Link to the US patent filing here:
    Patent Images

    Note: you need to download and install a TIFF plug in to view the images. I use AlternaTIFF: http://www.alternatiff.com/
    My growing collection of "affordable" vintages: http://www.abslomrob.com

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

    Posting Permissions

    • You may not post new threads
    • You may not post replies
    • You may not post attachments
    • You may not edit your posts
    •