Earlier this week, the watchmaker who works beside me handed me a watch that he was having an impossible time trying to get a damaged bracelet off of. The screwbar attaching the bracelet to the case had not been properly installed in the past and a sizeable portion of the screw head on one side had been sheared off, leaving little left for a screwdriver to bite in to.
We have specialized tools that we use in the shop for installing and removing these screwbars, but they all proved futile on this damaged one. Following a few minutes of having my turn at it, I eventually made half a turn of successful progress, using a screwdriver mounted in a vise. Not much headway at all from where my fellow watchmaker had left off.
At this point, one of the more elder watchmakers in the shop noticed my toil and suggested I remove the movement, heat the lugs with a torch and have a go at it again. His advice worked like a charm.
Like most small and important lessons that come about in this trade, this is another I doubt I’ll forget. I hope that those of you reading this will one day find this quick tip to be a real timesaver for yourselves as well.