The short video above demonstrates a simple and efficient means of removing the arbor from the mainspring of a watch barrel, using a riveting stake and a sturdy pair of tweezers. This particular technique isn’t one that was ever shown to me during my years spent training to be a watchmaker, rather, it’s one that I picked up along the way and have quite grown to like. From giant pocket watch barrels to dainty, ultra-slim Pateks, it has proven failsafe for me time and time again. Simply select a hole in the riveting stake that’s slightly larger than the diameter of the barrel arbor, flip the open barrel over, with the mainspring facing down towards the stake, and press the arbor out with your tweezers.
I’ve seen plenty of watch technicians struggle to yank the the arbor from the grips of the mainspring with a pair of tweezers – sometimes marring the barrel wall or kinking the mainspring in the process – and I have heard many a story of a watchmaker who’s lost a barrel by unintentionally extracting the mainspring with the arbor. Using the technique above, none of this is an issue. Clean. Simple. Effective. Hopefully, this is a technique you already use. If not, I’m happy I could share it with you. Feel free to pass it along and, most of all, enjoy.