Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Good afternoon,

I am living in the North West of England and a complete novice in the watch building/repair scene. i would like to develop my passion for Breitling and Waltham watches with a view to take up as hobby watch building/repairing.

I do not know where to start, what books should i get as beginner? website should i visit or stay away from? and which tools would i need to put me on the right path to pursue this goal.

I look forward to reading your replies.

Kind regards

CalDemp.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi CalDemp,

I'm over in the East Midlands of England. Until two years ago, I too was a complete novice in watch servicing and repair but have come a long way in that time with the help of WRT videos, lots of practice and sheer determination to succeed. For me it's likely to always be a hobby too though.

Your passion for specialising in Breitling and Waltham watches is fine but I can offer a word of caution here. Breitling, as well as some other separate Swiss brands owned by the Swatch Group have restricted parts to materials houses (such as Cousins) and thus obtaining the parts can be very difficult - you may find some NOS parts as well as some overpriced parts on ebay but it could potentially cause you some headaches. If you're talking simply servicing and possibly replacing a mainspring as part of the service, then you may be okay.

Waltham should not be as much of a problem, though I haven't serviced any of these so I'm happy to stand corrected by anybody chipping in.

Donald de Carle Practical Watch Repairing is a great book to get you started. For a website, you've come to the right place as Mark's videos are the best I've found for clear guidance and demonstration of watch repair - I have seen other people trying to teach by video and got nowhere.

Good luck with your new pursuit - I'm sure you will find it both an absorbing and very rewarding pastime.

Kind regards,
Adam

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 If you plan to specialize on these two brands, no sense in practicing on chinees movements then, I would get me walthams in need of repair could be pocket watch. Two waltham of the same caliber is a good start and add on as you buy more, as a result you would spend least on spare parts. You would get familiar with the culprits of the caliber, so on.

Familiar with Marks teachings members here are good tutors if you take his courses. 

This very post gives you an idea of the bulk of responses you would receive to your questions. The more questions you ask, the more we learn along with you.

Best

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The preferred starting watch for somebody new to watch repair is a Chinese pocket watch movement. You can purchase these on eBay. Your starting off with a pocket watch because it's big easier to work on. Your starting off with a new working watch that was cheap to purchase so if you destroy it nobody cares. The advantage of a new working watch is each time you take it apart and put it back together it should still work. Often times the newbie unsuccessful with fixing their first broken watch will blame the broken watch where is the reality it takes a little bit time to pick up the skill to successfully disassemble and reassemble a watch without having something happen bad. It works much better to practice on a new cheap watch until your successful at not destroying that..

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/6/2019 at 3:32 PM, AdamC said:

Hi CalDemp,

I'm over in the East Midlands of England. Until two years ago, I too was a complete novice in watch servicing and repair but have come a long way in that time with the help of WRT videos, lots of practice and sheer determination to succeed. For me it's likely to always be a hobby too though.

Your passion for specialising in Breitling and Waltham watches is fine but I can offer a word of caution here. Breitling, as well as some other separate Swiss brands owned by the Swatch Group have restricted parts to materials houses (such as Cousins) and thus obtaining the parts can be very difficult - you may find some NOS parts as well as some overpriced parts on ebay but it could potentially cause you some headaches. If you're talking simply servicing and possibly replacing a mainspring as part of the service, then you may be okay.

Waltham should not be as much of a problem, though I haven't serviced any of these so I'm happy to stand corrected by anybody chipping in.

Donald de Carle Practical Watch Repairing is a great book to get you started. For a website, you've come to the right place as Mark's videos are the best I've found for clear guidance and demonstration of watch repair - I have seen other people trying to teach by video and got nowhere.

Good luck with your new pursuit - I'm sure you will find it both an absorbing and very rewarding pastime.

Kind regards,
Adam

I too am in NW and a hobbyist of a few years.  I second what Adam says and would also add that the mechanics are easy to understand but the touch and feel are very important.  I cadged as many FOC non-runners as I could from local watchmakers, jewellers and charity shops, plus a few purchased NOS from the bay.  I then just took them apart and rebuilt them a few times to get the feel of handling small parts with tweezers, working small screws, handling balances, mainsprings and oiling etc. Doesn't matter too much if you mess up and ping a few bits (you can then check out your eyesight etc !!!!).  For the more valuable watches I always check spares availability before I even start, at least then I will know the cost of any mishaps (!!) and can be extra careful when handling hard to get parts, and maybe help me decide to leave it or not for another time when more experienced.    Welcome to the friendliest and most helpful forum.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd like to jump into this discussion as well, as this topic interests me. What pocket watches/movements should I focus on learning to service or restore, after becoming comfortable with servicing chinese eta 6497/6498? I am looking for easy and cheap to find and buy online pocket watches mainly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, utzelu said:

I'd like to jump into this discussion as well, as this topic interests me. What pocket watches/movements should I focus on learning to service or restore, after becoming comfortable with servicing chinese eta 6497/6498? I am looking for easy and cheap to find and buy online pocket watches mainly.

I don't think it will make much difference. Swiss, Japanese, Russian or Chinese, slightly different prices for different tastes. In the end you want to be able to work on all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, jdm said:

I don't think it will make much difference. Swiss, Japanese, Russian or Chinese, slightly different prices for different tastes. In the end you want to be able to work on all.

Yeah, but I don't know what brands to look for online. Do I just search on ebay for "pocket watch" terms? I don't really know what pocket watches are out there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, utzelu said:

Yeah, but I don't know what brands to look for online. Do I just search on ebay for "pocket watch" terms? I don't really know what pocket watches are out there.

Sorry I was not talking about pocket watches as I don't really know.. After you train a little on these I do not see a reason why you should not move to regular wristwatches, vintage or contemporary, that you can wear, collect or trade. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

you can search for pocket watches on eBay just make sure you get a picture of the movement.  you have to be careful with the modern pocket watches especially if they have sweep second hands as they're probably going to be a small wristwatch movement or quartz.

Then if you're looking at vintage pocket watches availability of parts can be a challenge. then as jdm commented basically is personal choice and there is lots of choices in pocket watches. If you get something with a case though it does give the option of selling it or trading it versus if you get just a movement for learning.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My advice for the novice, avoid watches with broken balances. You need specific experience and tools that both take time to acquire. It is truly a more advanced skill. Finding complete balances is an option or a donor movement, but generally speaking, avoid them. As has been mentioned getting into pocket watches first is a great start as everything is bigger, especially if you begin with size 18 movements. Avoid English Fusee movements as the majority of them were all hand made and all the parts were hand fit. Almost no parts are "drop-in" like the Americans pioneered. You will make mistakes, you will ruin parts or lose them, as we all have. You will curse and sweat and have nightmares, but when you succeed, you'll know the joy of watchmaking.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, FLwatchguy73 said:

especially if you begin with size 18 movements

FLwatchguy73's device was good except I would avoid as a beginner 18 size movements if their American. Typically they are full plate watches and getting them together can be a challenge for beginners. Then as they are before the 16 size watches where designs hadn't quite stabilized there is more variation of things like the setting and winding.

The good choice would be 16 size American pocket watches namebrand as they made a lot of them.

then the link below is to the pocket watch database you can enter and serial numbers company name for American watches you come up with technical information and sometimes parts lists. 

https://pocketwatchdatabase.com/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...