#3 Seiko S-220 Case Press (Review)
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I acquired a Seiko S-220 case press earlier this year, and it is quite possibly the best tool I have bought thus far. After reading good reviews, I had been wanting to buy one for sometime but unfortunately they do not come up often. I missed out on one before and then when this one came up I made sure not to lose out! Previously, I was using a cheap Chinese made press with nylon dies. The cheap tool has next to no weight to it and the die holders are slightly misaligned which makes pressing a crystal in straight tough, to say the least. It is ok for pressing snap on casebacks but with regular use it just doesn't cut the mustard. I have seen horror stories where the construction of the press has given up and snapped or the nylon dies have shattered causing the holder to plunge through a brand new crystal- not something that is desired at all!
There are two types of S-220 presses that were made, the only difference being the pivot point between the handle and the press shaft. Mine is the earlier style- the handle slides between a slot in the shaft. The handle of the newer one has a slot in it for the top of the shaft.
When my tool arrived, it needed a little bit of work as it is a fairly old item. The shaft press wasn't very smooth when in operation but luckily the tool can be fully dismantled into its component parts and then thoroughly cleaned and re-oiled. This sorted the problem and now the action is as smooth as butter. I found that the original spring had gone loose and lost its tension so a new spring was sourced for this. Lastly, the lower die support had some light surface rust and this was treated with Evaporust (a fantastic non-corrosive treatment for rust removal, also great for rusted watch and clock parts which can be bought here). I'm still trying to figure out a solution for securely storing the dies. The original box, although usable, is slightly tatty and the lid has become detached. I am thinking about a hinged wooden box with a custom made insert- any ideas let me know!
(Above) The lower die support surface after rust treatment.
(Above) The outer box for the dies has seen better days!
The S-220 isn't just limited to pressing home crystals, it can also be used for bezels and casebacks too. With the wide variety of aluminium dies (15 in total) in the set I have used it for all three purposes so far and I cannot fault it at all. Crystals go in as straight as an arrow and bezels/casebacks snap on with minimal effort. I was very impressed by the weight of the press- the press is heavy and has a rubber sole on the bottom to stop it from sliding around on the bench when in use. The only potential weakpoint I can find is the upper die holder. This is a sprung friction fit type affair and with use could fracture and break. The holder on mine is nice and tight and I don't think it has seen much use.
(Above) The upper die support is a potential area of weakness.
Overall, I would highly recommend picking one of these tools up (if you get the chance!) It is a fraction of the cost of the Bergeon equivalent and just as good, if not better. Being a bit of a Seiko fan myself, it is also nice to have the manufacturer's own tool in the collection!
(Above) A nice touch! Each die is engraved with the size and the Seiko logo.
Thank you for reading this post, if you have any thoughts feel free to comment below!