Watch repair: metal spring bar tore a channel in a Casio G-Shock end piece

For Hanukkah 2008, I received a new watch from my wife. (I don’t remember the watch before that). It was particularly magical in my job as a high school teacher. After the first bell of the day rang, it was 4 minutes to the start of school, then 46 minutes per period alternating with a 4-minute passing period. Like clockwork, so to speak.

The watch had a auto-repeating countdown timer that I set for 50 minutes and would almost always successfully synchronize with the day’s first bell. That would mean that at any point during the day I could look down and see precisely how many seconds were left in a class or passing period. I could walk the hallways and announce “27 seconds!” or count down “5-4-3-2-1” and then the bell would ring, with me the only person in the school who had that level of precision. There’s probably something there for another post but I digress.

After years of daily wear and companionship, I received a smartwatch as a gift and stopped wearing the digital watch. Then I went from the FitBit to a Basis and then a Garmin. At one point I realized I’d fallen into a consumerism trap and sought to go back. The notifications were disruptive and the data I was generating was useless to me but creepy in the hands of Big Tech. I tried to go back to the Casio, but it had a problem. (Remember the torn-out spring bar in the page title? This post is about the torn-out spring bar).

Each strap is attached to the end piece / bezel by a spring bar. In the course of replacing a broken band and with wear and tear over time, the spring bar on one strap carved a channel from the hole it sits in. With slight force, the strap would pull the pin out through the channel and detach from the bezel. (If this post wasn’t an afterthought I’d have a “before” picture). This person appears to have the same problem, though they too did not post a picture.

How to fix it? The watch repair place on Main Street in Ann Arbor wanted nothing to do with it. A complicated, strong fix could be possible by drilling out the end piece holes and finding a longer threaded metal rod to insert through and cap on the ends. That would involve hours chasing down pieces whose names I don’t know. I chose to fill the gouged channel with epoxy. (If this fails I will see if I can find a replacement end piece, now that I know it’s called an “end piece”).

I repaired it with a tiny amount of JB Weld, applied with a toothpick. After generously rebuilding each face of the end piece with a layer of JB Weld, I poked the toothpick into the original hole on each side while it was still wet, to recreate the socket. I didn’t do this deeply or widely enough, because the spring bar didn’t fit after it dried. I drilled the holes out very slightly with a 1/16″ drill bit. I would have used a smaller bit if I still had one. Then the bar fit.

Post-JB Weld
Post-JB Weld, other side – I rebuilt both while I was at it.

Getting the bar in for the first test fit (too-small holes), out, then another test fit (it fit snugly but I didn’t have the band on), out, then in a third time (now with the band attached) slightly damaged my JB Weld layer. If I do it again, I’ll attach the band on the test fit.

I’m wearing the watch now. Let’s see how it holds up!

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