How to change an insert

I popped a new insert on the LV a couple of days ago, and whilst it took literally two or three minutes I thought it might be useful to emphasise the difference between modern and vintage insert swaps.

Vintage watches will usually have friction bezels, which means that the bezel will turn in both directions with infinite variation in how it can be positioned. Ratcheted bezels are different – they’re unidirectional but also have definite clicks; this means that they have to be positioned very carefully during fitting if the pearl is to be lined up properly with the 12-hour marker once on the watch. The easy way to do this is as follows:

1) Mask off the case and then prise off the bezel with a flat blade.
2) Gently push out the insert – thumbs are the best tools for this.
3) Ensuring that the ratchet pin/spring is still positioned properly on the case, push the bezel (without insert fitted) into place. It’ll click audibly as it snaps into position.
4) Line up the new insert (first making sure that the bezel isn’t “between clicks”), using a loupe if necessary to position it correctly; then push into the recess on the bezel.
5) If necessary, place a soft towel or similar on a table and use it to push down on the insert; sometimes they can be stubborn and need a little pressure all around the circumference.

There – try it instead of sending the watch off next time.

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