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Starter tools and watch repair kits


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1 hour ago, DanteFalcioni said:

Was just given the three watches today (seen below) by a family member, all not running and all needing some cosmetic work.

The Timex on the very right is a manual wind and it doesn’t work. This marks the first of my projects that isn’t a quartz movement that just needs a battery. I had been looking for an automatic or manual wind that isn’t running on eBay for my first service, but I hadn’t found one yet and I didn’t think I’d get one so soon. I’ve been thrown in the deep end.

My tool collection so far: teezers (no.3 and no.5), case back opening kit, crystal press kit, movement holder, rodico, magnifying headband (instead of loupe), rubber blower, dial cover with parts tray, spring bar tools, watch band kit. 
I do have a precision screwdriver kit but it’s not specific for watches and I think it only goes down to 1.0mm. Suggestions for a starter set are appreciated!

I know I’m going to need a crystal lifter for that Timex as the movement comes out the front. 
I know I’ll need some oil and something to apply the oil, but I’m not sure what kind and if they differ based on movement. 
I will also need some cleaner for the parts, I’m not looking to get an ultrasonic cleaner yet as it’s a bit out of my budget. 
I will need tools to remove and apply the hands on the dial, I know opinions differ widely on what tools are the best so I appreciate any suggestions. 
Will need a mainspring winder but these seem so expensive everywhere I look. 

Do I really need a timegrapher? I’m not looking to invest hundreds of dollars into one yet and I’m not too fussed about my watches running fast or slow. What are the downsides to not having one besides the watch not running accurately? Are there any decent alternatives to a timegrapher?

Anything else I’m missing?

I am on a budget here so anywhere I can safely cut corners right now I want to, especially considering these are personal projects so perfection isn’t key. Thanks!

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Timegrapher is cheap but good software that you can load on your iPhone app. Other than that I made a YouTube video on tools to give you an idea of what you may need in the future.

Small Watchmaking Tools https://youtu.be/aMFVjq39y98

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I find the timegrapher extremely useful but it is not essential at the beginning. You need to get good screwdrivers, oil, and a way of applying oil. I have a Horotec set of screwdrivers that has proved itself very useful. Don't skimp on the screwdrivers or tweezers especially! You also need some way of cleaning parts - a small jar of lighter fluid and a paintbrush should do it. pegwood would also be handy to get old oil out of jewel holes.

One thing that is important to say is that the Timex may not be the best choice for the first one to work on. They are not designed to make service easy - in fact, I have heard they are quite difficult. I would strongly recommend getting a Chinese clone of the ETA 6497 / 6498, which can be found on eBay for less than $50. I don't recommend trying to fix something until you can get back together and working something that was working in the first place - if you have no idea why something isn't working then it will not be clear whether you have assembled it properly or not.

Edited by JohnC
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15 hours ago, DanteFalcioni said:

Do I really need a timegrapher? I’m not looking to invest hundreds of dollars into one yet

About 110 USD and absolutely needed if you are serious about working on mov't or just correct regulation.

15 hours ago, DanteFalcioni said:

 and I’m not too fussed about my watches running fast or slow.

Really. A mechanical watch is an instrument of precision, normally  both owners and repairers want them to be accurate. Isn't just fast or slow, the strumentini tells you a good the health status of  the mov't.

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For a starter screwdriver set, one of the six packs of the French-made ones worked well for me starting out. I think it was 30 USD a couple of years back. I just added sizes later as I needed them. I still use them as I've dressed them for wide-slot screws. I use another set of Horotecs, which I prefer, for narrow slotted screws.

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On 1/6/2021 at 5:18 AM, JohnC said:

I find the timegrapher extremely useful but it is not essential at the beginning. You need to get good screwdrivers, oil, and a way of applying oil. I have a Horotec set of screwdrivers that has proved itself very useful. Don't skimp on the screwdrivers or tweezers especially! You also need some way of cleaning parts - a small jar of lighter fluid and a paintbrush should do it. pegwood would also be handy to get old oil out of jewel holes.

One thing that is important to say is that the Timex may not be the best choice for the first one to work on. They are not designed to make service easy - in fact, I have heard they are quite difficult. I would strongly recommend getting a Chinese clone of the ETA 6497 / 6498, which can be found on eBay for less than $50. I don't recommend trying to fix something until you can get back together and working something that was working in the first place - if you have no idea why something isn't working then it will not be clear whether you have assembled it properly or not.

Thanks so much for the reply John! I'll definitely have to look into getting a working movement to practice with, I actually already have a Seiko 6349 23J (which actually might just be a 6309 17J but with the 6349 bridge) that is running, do you know if this movement is easy enough to start on compared to the ETA 6497 clone?

I'm looking into getting a good set of screwdrivers now, I might go for the Horotec set. On the subject of oiling, do you have any personal recommendations for oiling tools? I've seen a variety on Cousins and they don't seem too expensive in general unless you opt for the automatic ones.

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@DanteFalcioni I think you can get by with the cheap dip oilers for now (the set of 4, although you probably won't use the big ones). You need Moebius D5, 9010 (for 4th and escape pivots), 8200 for mainspring, and 9415 (for pallet stones). You also need some heavy grease like Molykote DX for the cannon pinion.

About the movements, personally I would start with a manual-wind with sub-seconds and no date complication. Just the most basic watch, if I can put it that way. It doesn't have to be a 6497. For example, the ZIM 2602 is dirt cheap (although again, it may not run that good to begin with because it's an old Russian movement). The upside of the 6497 is that it's a pocket watch movement, and the parts are nice and big. Not that you won't get a calandar mechanism back together with enough pictures, it's just going to be more of a challenge and not that illustrative while you're trying to understand how the basic machine works.

I would also do yourself a favour and buy a combination India stone or Carborundum stone, plus one of the little wheely screwdriver sharpeners. It's easy to nick or break the blades and there's no sense replacing them every time.

Mainspring winders are something to keep a look out for, but not absolutely positively necessary as they are expensive and you can teach yourself to wind the mainspring back in by hand. This is generally frowned upon as it tends to distort the mainspring, but if you're focused on the expenditure right now then it doesn't hurt to learn the skill. Some people may disagree forcefully with this.

Good luck! It's an exciting thing - just savour it!

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On 1/6/2021 at 12:18 PM, xyzzy said:

Depending on your ability with computers, there is free software that should be able to do everything you might want from a timegrapher, https://github.com/vacaboja/tg

I found the microphone from my phone earbuds works quite well.

 

On 1/6/2021 at 12:55 PM, watchweasol said:

Hi  Have a look at Watch O Scope sit there is a lite version which is free but no printing, you also have to build or obtain an amplifier and stand  I have build both and they work ok no problem    worth looking at for sure

I'll definitely take a look at these options until I spend the money on the timegrapher. Thanks!

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2 hours ago, DanteFalcioni said:

 

I'll definitely take a look at these options until I spend the money on the timegrapher. Thanks!

Get something like this guitar mic pickup. You can find it even cheaper than Walmart offers:

https://www.walmart.ca/en/ip/Cergrey-3m-6-35mm-Audio-Jack-Clip-on-Microphone-Piezo-Violin-Acoustic-Guitar-Pickup-Clip-on-Mic-Pickup-Piezo-Pickup/PRD18DFNMN9XGMP

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

I’m starting off in the hobby. I’ve got the generic Chinese repair kit and I tackled a large pocket watch movement last night. I’m going to need a loupe and headband to go with it though to work on the seiko 7s26a that I purchased for repair. Any tips on which one to buy and where to buy from. I’m trying to keep a budget so I don’t break the bank right out of the gate. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

 

Dear all,

Bellow I attached a list with tools I intend to buy at first. I would prefer to keep it in a 300 Euro budget so I need to make some choices. Hand setting and removing tools, Bergeon loupes 4X and 10X, rodico, peg wood, dust blower, Bergeon oilers as well as oils (in lower quantities) I can find locally at good prices. Those are around100ish euros.  

The other tools are way too overpriced locally so I had to look for international online shops. Cousins are not an option post-Brexit, not necessarily because of import taxes and VAT but because of the fees courier companies are charging to take care of all the import procedures...

Therefore, I found an alternative site in Germany (not sure if i’m allowed to post links). If you have any other suggestions they are greatly appreciated!

Movement holder: no reason not to go with Bergeon 4040 since this is most likely the only one I’ll ever need.

Tweezers:  decided to go with at least one quality main tweezers, a no.2 Dumont, and a set of 5 brass ones

Screwdrivers: A set of 9 made by Beco Technik. Another option would be to go for a set of Bergeon, 5 screwdrivers,  0.5 to 1.2 and a couple of Beco Technick for the rest. No rotating stand  and considerably more pricy. Does anyone have any experience with the Beco ones?

Snap back case opener: Victorinox seems to be standard. By some accounts the blade is a bit too thick, do you have any experience with the tool? Now I use a blunt pocket knife which seems actually pretty good to me.

Screw on: there are two options: 2 pin “pocket” style for around 13euro or 3 pin for 50 euro more. Both models are in the picture bellow. Does anyone have any experience with this particular brand? Both items have really good reviews on amazon, however they obviously address different buyers with, I guess, different expectations. The 2 pin one seems easier to use, tree pin one is more secure but more clunky? Is the difference in price worth it for a hobbyist like me? Now I use a rubber ball which works pretty much every time and I go to a watchmaker when that’s not good enough...

Thank you all for your time!

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  • 3 months later...

Hi everybody,

I have a watch. The current clock is broken, since it meant special to me I wanted to fix it so that I could continue using it, what I need to do is how to open it. So which tools do I need to buy? Where did you buy it?

Thanks everyone.

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  • 8 months later...

Hello,

 

As I am a complete rookie an has never done any watch repair I would be so happy if you could help me pick tools to start this hobby. So far I have only been watching youtube videos for weeks and reading some forum discussions, however my head is full of so many contradictory opinions that I decided to just build a set of tools and ask if that is acceptable to start with. If you find something very bad or have negative experience - please warn me. 🙂

I am also not rich, so according ot our saying that we cannot afford to buy cheap things I have decided to buy long lasting stuff for most important tools and go for some bang for a buck medium quality secondary tools.

 

So far I have ordered:

1. Horotec 17.102 set of 4 oilers 5mm hands - wanted to go for Bergeon ones, but Horotec was slightly cheaper (I read that both brands are similar in quality?)

2. DUMONT Tweezer DUMOXEL Style N°2 - literally everyone adores DUMONT tweezers I noticed

3. Bergeon 4040-p movement holder - went for plastic version to avoid scratching

4. HOROTEC 24.213 self-adhesive mat - same as for oilers, was cheaper and green colour was nicer in pictures

5. Bergeon 7404 set of 3 tools for setting hands - did not find anything better and universal in that price range

6. Bergeon 30637-2 Presto tool - since I want to work on pocket watches mostly in the beginning I went for it to remove cannon pinions and hands since Bergeon/Horotec hand levers are kinda expensive and wanted to save for now if presto tool can also do it

7. Emag EMMI-05ST ultrasonic cleaner - bought it 2 months ago already, still did not receive as Amazon does not have it, still waiting... 🤨

 

I intend to buy:

1. 3 loupes from BECO with magnification x2,5; x4 and x10 - I hope this will be enough to start with?

2. Spring to hold a loupe over head from BECO

3. Air blower from BECO

4. Bergeon RODICO

5. Dust cover tray

6. MOLYKOTE DX paste

7. Bergeon 2652 one dip solution fluid

8. Moebius 9010

9. Moebius 1300 9104

10. Moebius 9415

11. BERGEON 30081-S09 set of 9 screwdrivers on rotating stand

12. Case cushion - did not decide yet if I want some nice long lasting Bergeon/Horotec one or any cheap version as it only has to provide some soft space?

 

To be honest I worry if the above set of lubricants/oils will be enough to start with or am I missing something? I also worry a little if Horotec oilers will be okay choice instead of Bergeon? Oh, forgot, as case back opener I will be using my old dull bread knife tip as it is little roundish and amazingly thin to open a back case (tested already!).

Could you please advise if I should add something? Or maybe there is something that I will for sure not need in the beginning? There are so many new things that makes me little overwhelmed, but I know we all have started somewhere.

 

Please, have mercy on me and my choices so far. 🙂

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