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Starter tools and watch repair kits


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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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Hi Zeb   Not in favour of kits as they come bundled with tools you may never use, Bergeon  tools are great but if you are just starting out best not splash out on the expensive kit first, just get the basics good tweezers in several sizes and styles movement holders ,case openers etc and build up slowly

but get the best you can afford and tailor to suit your needs.  hope that helps.

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 Dead right Vin been doing watches and clocks over 40 years still either making or buying tools as required, buildt mainspring remover based on the joe collins type  and a dial foot soldering machine as they were needed. like you say start with the minimum

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I brought one of those starter kits when I first started, I think I've replaced every tool since and thats less than 4 years. its a hard choice at the start, spend the money on decent tools or buy cheap while your deciding if this is for you.

 

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  • 1 month later...
I am new to watch servicing and would like to purchase a toolkit. I have a somewhat limited budget (around $100). Any recommendation is appreciated. Thank you.

Buy a set of screwdrivers, caseback opener, watch oil and rodico


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I've been buying my tools a few at a time off of Amazon.  I've been staying away from the pre-packaged sets of tools.  

I don't so much think about specific tools as I think about collections of similar jobs and the tools I'll need to do those jobs.  For example:

Working on movements - Loupe or similar, screwdrivers, tweezers, movement holder

Removing & reattaching hands - Hand removers and pressers

Opening cases - Case knife, friction ball, case cushion, case opening tool

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3 hours ago, phydaux said:

I saw an interview of a guy who went to the WOSTEP school in Miami.  He said part of the school was him buying his own tools, and the recommended tool set he bought for his first day of class ran $2500 US

is the $2500 the total price for the toolkit or just the first year price? Then the second year I assume there be another toolkit perhaps? The reason I ask is locally we have a Rolex sponsored school and their toolkit is $6000 with Rolex paying part of that to keep the price at $6000 because it really should be more. 

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Hmmm....  His name is Cameron Weiss, founder of Weiss Watch Company in LA.  He does the Watch and Listen pod cast.  All he said was that, since it was a WOSTEP school, he didn't have to pay any tuition but he DID have to buy his own tools, and they cost him $2500.  

There are TWO watchmaking schools in Seattle, if I recall correctly.  One is a SWATA school, and is supported by Rolex (the three, I think it's three, WOSTEP schools in the States are supported by Swatch).  Both WOSTEP and SWATA schools offer internationally recognized certifications after you finish the program and all associated testing.  I'm not sure what the affiliation of the other Seattle school is, or who, if anyone, recognizes their curriculum and training.

Not saying it's bad.  Just saying do your homework.

And I honestly can't imagine why someone just starting out would need to spend $6000 on tools.  Is each student buying their own industrial cleaning machine?  A lathe and all associated micro machining tools (that actually IS a possibility)?  Probably, since it's a SWATA school, they make you buy every last Rolex-specific movement holder, jig & specialty tool.  

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I was a vehicle mechanic until I changed professions. In those days when I had my own business I bought the cheapest tools that would do the job. As they broke,  I would replace them with a better quality tool until I had a good set of tools. 

It does not necessarily follow that the more you spend on tools the better they are. At the moment I am only dabbling with watches as a hobby and up until now have managed very well with a cheap Chinese set. If I stick at it, as they need replacing, I will buy better quality tools as and when I need them.

Of course there are no cheap alternatives for professional tools like timegraphers, lathes and so on, that is, if you need them when starting out.

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I'm finding that, based on what it is that I want to do, I'm gonna need an ultrasonic cleaning set up (~$200), a timing machine (~$150), a quartz watch tester (~$25) and a demagnetizer (~$15) sooner rather than later.  

That's on top of all the hand tools I've speced for myself, at ~$250.

And I'm not even touching anything like a lathe or a staking set yet.

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an ultrasonic can be bought for around $40

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Jewelry-Coins-600ml-Ultrasonic-Cleaner-Dental-Tank-Heater-Cleaning-Equipment-inm/183200161656?epid=13018680379&hash=item2aa7949f78:g:hu4AAOSwZula5DkS:rk:1:pf:0

a Timegrapher around $150 but only if you have enough knowledge how to regulate a watch

https://www.ebay.com/itm/WATCH-TIMING-MACHINE-TIMEGRAPHER-1000-FOR-ROLEX-DAYTONA-EXPLORER-1-YEAR-USA-WTY/161248355422?epid=7012900565&hash=item258b26a45e:g:tEQAAOSwomVbHl5V:rk:1:pf:0

a quartz teste only if you know enough about quartz movements and how they function

demagnitizer is a good investment

A good pair of screwdrivers, tweezers, loupe, Rodico, mvtholder, crystalpress, good lubricants and a caseopener would be my first choice

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13 hours ago, phydaux said:

And I honestly can't imagine why someone just starting out would need to spend $6000 on tools.  Is each student buying their own industrial cleaning machine?  A lathe and all associated micro machining tools (that actually IS a possibility)?  Probably, since it's a SWATA school, they make you buy every last Rolex-specific movement holder, jig & specialty tool.  

The problem is all the tools are purchased brand-new and they're just expensive. I was told if you quit the first year you have to give back the staking set because Rolex is subsidizing the tool price to keep it down. The staking set is over $1400.

Then the WOSTEP school in Miami I'm looking at their website interesting its tuition free no mention of having to work for them to pay for your schooling? I was told that some of the other tuition free schools require you to work for them to pay for you tuition.   Interesting the Miami school apparently used to be a two-year program now it's listed as a one year program but it's still free and the tools have gone up a little approximately $3000.

 

13 hours ago, phydaux said:

There are TWO watchmaking schools in Seattle,

The state of Washington was always an interesting place for horology? We once had three schools teaching professional watch repair. Now we are down to just North Seattle community college and it used to have a night class for hobbyists to come in to learn watch and clock repair. The night class was in business for a very long time until the school started changing first wostep which didn't have a problem with the night class. But when Rolex came in the night class was banished to another building. Then the college decided out of sight out of mind and terminated the program. This was actually a really good thing that they did because the night class didn't want to die instructors still wanted to teach and now we have Norwest School of Horology A independent school for hobbyists. I have a link below.

http://www.norwestschoolofhorology.com

 

 

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WRT to quality.... in order of priority..

1.   Tweezers... buy dumont or some good (read expensive) swiss types. Problem with cheap tweezers is the spring pressure is too strong so you will need to use more force to overcome the spring. This makes it difficult to have a light touch to hold the parts and if you end up using too much force the part will spring away. The tips are also poorly shaped and the metal is not hard enough. It is possible to shape the tips correctly  but they will wear fast. Good tweezers have hard tips so you need some brass tweezers for the brass parts to avoid marking them.

2.   Oils.. bite the bullet and buy good ones.

3.   Screwdrivers...Cheap ones work and the best thing to be said about them is you will improve on your screwdriver sharpening skills. Same like tweezers the metal used is not good and will wear. If you delay sharpening them they will slip on the screw. Not so bad if its a seiko but a disaster on a high end watch, especially if it scratches the bridge.

4.   Loupe... poor quality loupe will strain you eyes.

5.   Caseback opener.. the usual ones and the ball type as well will work fine for most of the watches. The thing is to realise that the caseback is too tight and to stop before you damage the back. Bring it to some one who has a benchtop opener and pay him a few buck to get the back off.

6.   Other stuff not really important for beginners.. even a basic staking set for a few bucks is ok if you're just restaking a wheel.

7.   Ultrasonic cleaner. Not really a must have for beginners, you can clean pretty well with a cut down paint brush and ronson/zippo lighter fuel and sharpened pegwood for the pivots. Get a cheap one by all means as it cleans bracelets and cases pretty well.

8.   Special tools. A Presto type hand-remover is good, generic ones are ok as not much force involved. Hand-setting tool (the rod type) is much better than using your tweezers. You can even make your own with some wooden rod, sharpen it in a pencil sharpener, remove the tips so that the end is flat and hollow it out..

Good luck!

Anilv

 

 

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  • 5 months later...
On 2/11/2017 at 2:55 PM, david said:

 

CHICAGO SCHOOL OF WATCHMAKING by Thomas B. Sweazey  (available from Lulu Press)

 

I had no idea a hard copy version was available.  Thank you SO MUCH!!!

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If I could add to the topic (it's a good discussion)....

I think there is three components to tools and the use of them,

1. Having a quality tool - not necessarily the best quality, but one that can do the job without unintended consequences. Perhaps this would mean that you would be wiser to get better quality if you are using the tool regularly as well. Most folk might prefer higher quality screw drivers and tweezers.

2. Having the right kind of tools for the repair work you anticipate doing. Don't use a tool for a purpose for which it was not intended (unless sure of the outcome).

3. When faced with a less routine repair task, thinking through the approach to a likely successful conclusion. This is common in lathe work.

In my view this leads to less breakage and slips etc. A long time ago I bought a Chinese milling attachment for my lathe...I could not afford a Lorch (nor could I find one)...I needed to strip it down and dress it carefully. This took several hours, but was rewarding in the end and I bet, for what I use it for, it is just as good as the German one.

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Hamish,

At some point a person has to conclude that a tool functions adequately for the job or it does not. Selecting a designer label tool seems to be an easy way to select quality but unfortunately things do not always work out that way. Does a SNAP-ON wrench really tighten a bolt better than a CRAFTSMAN  wrench?  Does a BERGEON case opener open watch cases better than the Chinese case opener? Is a BERGEON watch winder a better tool than the Chinese made watch winder. Is a BERGEON lathe more accurate than a DERBYSHIRE  or a LEVIN LATHE?   As most people tend to think that  a highly advertised Swiss tool  with a designer brand name is a superior tool,  they will never be happy with actual reality. When the issues are researched it becomes evident that the BERGEON case openers and watch winders are made in China and the DERBYSHIRE and LEVIN lathes are far more accurate than the BERGEON lathe. The BERGEON lathe is manufactured by a company called DIXIE, which is owned by a Japanese company called MORI SEKI.

 The next question is, Is a BERGEON lathe adequate for watch work?  The answer is yes. I own one and it is a fine machine. I also own a Chinese made Sincere lathe and it is also a fine machine. The BERGEON and SINCERE  machines have cone bearing spindles and have accuracies  limited to that particular bearing system. That said, both machines can make parts with enough precision to be used in a watch. I also have both BERGEON and HOROTEC screwdriver sets. Either type of screwdriver is able to remove watch screws. As long as the screwdriver blades are of good quality the rest is a personal preference.

david 

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5 hours ago, david said:

The BERGEON lathe is manufactured by a company called DIXIE, which is owned by a Japanese company called MORI SEKI. The next question is, Is a BERGEON lathe adequate for watch work?  The answer is yes. I own one and it is a fine machine. I also own a Chinese made Sincere lathe and it is also a fine machine. The BERGEON and SINCERE  machines have cone bearing spindles and have accuracies  limited to that particular bearing system. That said, both machines can make parts with enough precision to be used in a watch.

Assuming they resumed activity with Japanese ownership, that is Dixi, of La Locle. http://www.lathes.co.uk/dixilathe/

I agree that both lathes can be used to make parts, how they are on the opposite extremes  of technical and market segments. A Bergeon complete set sells for GBP 28,995 + VAT. Honestly I don't think there is any fair production cost basis for that, or for a three-jaws chuck to be priced GBP 1,395 + VAT.

L7538_Pic1_cmyk1.jpg

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JDM,

That Bergeon model is actually an instrument size lathe which was designed to include clock size parts. It is a bigger and stronger machine than their Geneva style lathe and will reduce machine flex caused from heavier cuts. This is due to the double pedestal bed and the larger size.  It will  also successfully make watch parts, is extremely expensive and has a designer label brand name. It is not, however, as precise as a Derbyshire or a Levin lathe in the instrument size machine. Due to the cone bearing spindle the rotational speed cannot match a ball bearing headstock. Also, the spindle runout cannot be brought in more than a couple of ten thousandths of an inch or the bearings will be damaged. A ball bearing spindle can have a runout in the millionths of an inch and offer a faster rotation. At one time cone bearing headstocks were more accurate than ball bearing headstocks but with the improvement of ball bearing manufacturing around WW2,  ball bearing machines surpassed the accuracy of the cone bearing machines. That said, it is a beautiful looking machine and will certainly do the job for which it was designed.

david

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