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Starter tools and watch repair kits


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You will always get good and bad in what ever you buy. I know I mentioned dumont and bergeon, in my day they were the best money would buy. There must be a lot more about these days which I'm sure someone will tell me about. It's all down to supply and demand. The supplier I used years ago I would phone them up and get advise on what to buy and what to avoid.

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It's amazing the number of folk that get blinded by price! They think expensive means it must be good and cheap means it must be bad, what a load of b*****cks. There are cheap tools and expensive t

Cheap screwdrivers and cheap tweezers avoid. The screwdriver blades will break the tweezer ends will go out of shape that is if the points measure up In the first place and snap. Buy the best you can

What about the Bergeon 7812 Watchmakers Quick Service Kit? It would be 35 pounds over your budget (e.g. Cousins), but there won't be any waste in there.

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Of course, Geo, it is not about price...Bergeon also make/market expensive crap! (We've talked about it before in WRT) It is about value: quality, durability, functional design, aggravation, etc. I believe I was misunderstood. Some unknown brands may make excellent tools for little price but in most cases they are hard to "detect" (not hard to find since they are hidden among the "other" generic/crappy brands/tools). As a matter of fact, I believe nowadays, most name brands job is not to manufacture, but to find those quality tools manufactured by someone else and market them at an exorbitant price under their name.

 

All that said, it boils down to this non watch example (another hobby of mine): The same stainless steel made in Germany for a professional cook knife (seems so simple! Just a sheet of sharpened metal!). Name brand, same knife. Made in China, Spain, Germany...They all cut fine but, they get better made, respectively. I personally try to buy the Spanish one since it is the best value vs. money but if I wanted the most refined, I'd probably buy the German one...the difference is minimal but for the experienced user it does matter. I think tools are the same...it is about feel...and it doesn't work the same for everyone...Remember feel, that personal thing, is the key: that's why I married my wife and not another woman!  :D

 

Cheers,

 

Bob

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We have been discussing good and bad tools. I've been having a look at the pliers and cutters that I still have an the make on all of them are made by Lindstrom made in Sweden. These are many years old must go back to at least the 50's they are all with the box join and as good now as when they were new. I see the company are still going so you might like to take a look at what they have to offer.

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We have been discussing good and bad tools. I've been having a look at the pliers and cutters that I still have an the make on all of them are made by Lindstrom made in Sweden. These are many years old must go back to at least the 50's they are all with the box join and as good now as when they were new. I see the company are still going so you might like to take a look at what they have to offer.

 

Cousins has them. Interestingly the description says

 

  • Please be advised that cutters are not guaranteed against breakage or damage
  • Lindstrom state that their cutters are suitable for copper wire from Ø0.1 to Ø1.0mm. This can be used as a guide for other materials
  • Cutters are industry standard and are not suitable for cutting stainless steel

 

Seems like boasting advertising is not Lindstrom's style. BTW I cut 0.9mm stems with $5 cutters just fine. 

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  • 11 months later...

A word of caution the crystal glass remover/inserter is for plastic crystals, not glass crystals.  It will break a glass crystal.  

The tool kit will give you some capability to open up a watch but there's not enough there for actual watch work.  Sure, there are screwdrivers and tweezers and these will allow you to change batteries on some quartz movements (I don't want to discourage you but occasionally quartz movements can be challenging even for changing batteries so don't' be afraid to ask others if you feel there may be a problem, which is why this is a good blog to be a part of.).  But there simply isn't enough to do serious work.  You won't be able to do any escapement work or jeweling, for example, which are commonly encountered problems with non-functional mechanical watches.  As for bracelet and band work you'll be very limited.

Use caution also with the crystal/case closer.  I have one like it and it's a bit wobbly.  I replaced it with better ones awhile back.

If you want to get serious about watchmaking you're gonna have to get a lot of tools and that's going to be very expensive and many of the most useful watchmaking tools are no longer made.  To minimize cost, most of my tools are "vintage" which is to say, used tools; which I get from eBay, trade fairs, "buy outs" which I've managed to find where a watchmaker is selling his tools and we buy them all.  Finding good tools takes a lot of research or expert guidance--which is why I finally decided to go to school and learn from a watchmaker with 50+ years of experience.  While I've had to fork out real money from time to time, I've gotten some of my tools for pennies on the dollar; or tens of cents on the dollar.  

But please don't take my comments in a discouraging way.  I celebrate those who want to follow the craft.  I've still got a lot to learn myself (and a lot to buy).  There's still a lot I can't do; for lack of skill, material, or tools.  But there's a lot of satisfaction in those cases where I've succeeded.  All the best to you!

Edited by DouglasSkinner
Left some stuff out.
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Douglas,

To get started you will need a few basic items. These do not need to be ultra high end expensive items and some of this stuff can be purchased from Harbor Freight and Red Rooster UK for not a whole lot of money. 

1) You will need something to open the watch. If it is a pry off back you will need a prying knife. If it is a screw off back you will typically need a spanner wrench. These items can be found on Ebay.

2) Once the movement is out you need a movement holder. These can be very inexpensive and can be found on Ebay.

3) You will need a set of watchmaker screwdrivers whose cost can range from inexpensive to very expensive. You can also find these on Ebay.

4) You will need some decent tweezers. Red Rooster UK sells a nice working set called STELLA TWEEZERS for about $30.00. You should also get one pair of Dumont #5 tweezers that will probably cost what you paid for the set of the other sizes. 

5) You will need some form of magnification. Bausch & Lomb eye loupes are very good and not horribly expensive. Harbor Freight sells a set for less than $10.00. They are not as nice as the Bausch & Lomb but they do work.

6) You will need a way to remove the hands. The plastic bag/prybar method works well and is an affordable solution.

7) You will need a way to remove the cannon pinion. I use larger tweezers or fine tip needle nose pliers for this and have had mixed results with my cannon pinion remover

This is a basic starter set and as your skills improve your can replace and add tools as your budget and interest progresses. Some of the items you posted in your pictures are sold in the Harbor Freight stores at dirt cheap prices. In general watch Mark's repair videos and look at the tools he uses. Most of the work is done with a pair of tweezers, an eye loupe and a couple of watchmaker screwdrivers.

david

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I my early days of watch repair I did purchase two of these cheap Chinese tools.  The Crystal lift tool & the hand press tool. The crystal lift tool would not grip the crystal & I had to dress the claws but it was never that good. The hand press tool the plunger would stick when pressed & I had to burnish the shaft for it to work. Since then I have purchased a Bergeon crystal lift tool & a Horotec hand press tool and they worked perfectly from the start.  Conclusion cheap tools are expensive in the long run.

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The tool set is handy to get started, but speaking from experience when I bought a very similar kit in November on Amazon, those tools are pretty low quality. The screw drivers especially, there are no bearings on the ends which makes them had to function the way they should. The tips are also very soft which resulted in bent/burred tips which was frustrating to say the least. The case knife is also super soft, which I am sure is partially to help protect cases, but the very first case I attempted to open I ended up rolling the edge of the case knife. The case wrench has a ton of play in the screws which makes it difficult to tighten it and keep it in one place so that it doesn't slip out and scratch the case. Those are just a few personal experiences I have had.

I am currently in the process of replacing with middle of the road stuff from amazon, as well as looking for certain pieces as "vintage" on the bay.  

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well, after talking to you guys ive decided to wait on tools a few days. A freind of ours just told me about a guy he knew that died a couple years back that was a watch maker and said his wife might would sell some tools or watches.  I called her and she said he had lots of tools and hundreds of pocket watches that he had restored or was in the process of restoring. She is going to call me later in the week and let me know more.....thanks again for the help.

Doug

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22 hours ago, david said:

Douglas,

To get started you will need a few basic items. These do not need to be ultra high end expensive items and some of this stuff can be purchased from Harbor Freight and Red Rooster UK for not a whole lot of money. 

1) You will need something to open the watch. If it is a pry off back you will need a prying knife. If it is a screw off back you will typically need a spanner wrench. These items can be found on Ebay.

2) Once the movement is out you need a movement holder. These can be very inexpensive and can be found on Ebay.

3) You will need a set of watchmaker screwdrivers whose cost can range from inexpensive to very expensive. You can also find these on Ebay.

4) You will need some decent tweezers. Red Rooster UK sells a nice working set called STELLA TWEEZERS for about $30.00. You should also get one pair of Dumont #5 tweezers that will probably cost what you paid for the set of the other sizes. 

5) You will need some form of magnification. Bausch & Lomb eye loupes are very good and not horribly expensive. Harbor Freight sells a set for less than $10.00. They are not as nice as the Bausch & Lomb but they do work.

6) You will need a way to remove the hands. The plastic bag/prybar method works well and is an affordable solution.

7) You will need a way to remove the cannon pinion. I use larger tweezers or fine tip needle nose pliers for this and have had mixed results with my cannon pinion remover

This is a basic starter set and as your skills improve your can replace and add tools as your budget and interest progresses. Some of the items you posted in your pictures are sold in the Harbor Freight stores at dirt cheap prices. In general watch Mark's repair videos and look at the tools he uses. Most of the work is done with a pair of tweezers, an eye loupe and a couple of watchmaker screwdrivers.

david

Agree with all of these. 

J

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22 hours ago, david said:

You should also get one pair of Dumont #5 tweezers that will probably cost what you paid for the set of the other sizes. 

I use Swiss made Vetus tweezers, including No.5, 4 pounds a piece and I'm very happy with'em. 

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When starting out in this there is usually an affordability issue. Most of the people who have been doing this for a long time tend to forget the situation they were in when they started out. Many of the more experienced watch repair people are quick to recommend high end professional grade tools to a beginner. After all, one cannot go wrong telling a person buying their first car to purchase a Rolls Royce. It is certainly a nice comfortable car.  I feel that it is best to start with a modest investment, then replace and add as your skill level progresses. Clearly the bargain priced tools are not as nice as the high end stuff but they can get the job done. Until a person gets a feel as to what the tools do, and they themselves develop and understanding of the quality differences, it is best to stay with what they can afford until they learn these differences. There is also the more recent issue of inexpensive tools and expensive tools being made in the same Chinese factories. One tool will be stamped made in China while the other tool will say Bergeon, but in truth, both items are made in the same Chinese factory. Outside of the marketing name they are the same tool. With time and experience a person can learn to spot this as well.

david

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35 minutes ago, david said:

When starting out in this there is usually an affordability issue. Most of the people who have been doing this for a long time tend to forget the situation they were in when they started out. Many of the more experienced watch repair people are quick to recommend high end professional grade tools to a beginner. After all, one cannot go wrong telling a person buying their first car to purchase a Rolls Royce. It is certainly a nice comfortable car.  I feel that it is best to start with a modest investment, then replace and add as your skill level progresses. Clearly the bargain priced tools are not as nice as the high end stuff but they can get the job done. Until a person gets a feel as to what the tools do, and they themselves develop and understanding of the quality differences, it is best to stay with what they can afford until they learn these differences. There is also the more recent issue of inexpensive tools and expensive tools being made in the same Chinese factories. One tool will be stamped made in China while the other tool will say Bergeon, but in truth, both items are made in the same Chinese factory. Outside of the marketing name they are the same tool. With time and experience a person can learn to spot this as well.

david

Agreed, I started with cheaper screwdrivers and did upgrade to Bergeon, mainly because I found the cheaper ones needed more maintenance. There are a lot of look alike Bergeon's made in China, probably not worth the money. I have found good used tools on auctions at reasonable prices, just a lot of time spent searching/bidding. If your source turn out to be good, then make an effort to purchase. Your choices would depend if the majority of repairs are either wrist or pocket watches. In other words, if the bulk of your repairs are wristwatches, then a crystal lift is essential. Mainspring winders are also optional if you get good enough to wind spring into barrel by hand. (easier on pocket watches than wristwatches). Those all in one "kits" are cheap, for a reason. While they provide the basics, but they are not meant to last.

Overall a very sound list and advice provided by david. Good Luck!

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From the newbie on this forum.

Pay attention to these guys, they are steering you in the right direction.

I bought a kit very much like yours before I joined the forum.

It is a start and there are some good things in this kit but ....

You really need a good set of tweezers (take it from someone who tried these kit tweezers) and the heads on the screwdrivers didn't keep a straight edge, on mine the small set screw kept coming out, basically useless.

Once you try to put watch hands back on, you will see your tweezers will be worth their weight in gold !

I found most of the watch band tools to be good though, including the small pin removers (really useful for the stem and crown press release button on quartz watches), the only disappointment was the twisting blue device, the pins bend and buckle when you have a stiff pin in the watch band. Your better off with the small hammer, the small pin drivers (those in this kit located with the needle nose pliers and the plastic yellow block. Even the tightest watch band retaining pins don't resist a sharp blow with the small hammer.     

As a kit, it is better suited for watch bands and the small parts of a watch.

Here's my assessment of the kit, I hope it helps !

mine.jpg        

 

Edited by MilTimeCan
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On 1/28/2017 at 4:16 PM, DouglasSkinner said:

A word of caution the crystal glass remover/inserter is for plastic crystals, not glass crystals.  It will break a glass crystal.  

Use caution also with the crystal/case closer.  I have one like it and it's a bit wobbly.  I replaced it with better ones awhile back.

 

Duly noted, thanks for that !

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Mill Time Can,

A number of years ago I bought a set of Bergeon screwdrivers and ran into the same problem. I solved it by running a 2-56 tap through the hole and replacing the slotted screw with a quality set screw. I have found through the years that having the blade perfectly centered in the holder is more critical on the smaller size blades then the larger sizes. For tiny screws I use screwdrivers that are about 2/3 the size of the Bergeon's that come with a collet to grip the blade. The collet always centers the blade and provides enough gripping force to prevent it from twisting around., The smaller size holder also helps reduce the torque applied to the screw.

david

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