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Skills and knowledge for watch repair

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I started this hobby some 10 years ago and took it up to see if I could get some skills and knowledge so that I would have something worthwhile to do in retirement and also partially because I avoid the telly and need distraction from a  job that is stressfull at times. I have never had any formal training, but always liked pulling things apart and fixing them. I have restored/repaired many watches and dont charge for this as long as the watch owner promises to wear Grandads or Dads old watch every now and again. Everyone promises to do this and I do like to see folks wearing these old watches and not having them in the back of a drawer somewhere. 

OK so thats where I am coming from and as I see many new to watch repair folks here, I though a thread starter might be what skills you thought necessary for the jobs we do, how you managed to develop these skills and where you got your knowledge. I'll start it off. Some of what we are likley to say will be obvious, but it maybe of help to newer folk.

I think patience and a reasonably steady hand factors would be important. Just figuring out how to use tweezers and screwdrivers does take time, so take apart and put back together as much as you can. You will get lots of satisfaction through getting something to work and keep reasonable time. Look for old movements, say Bulova - available cheap, which are simple manual wind jobs...you will soon pick it up.

A number of devices can assist eyesight these days but if your eyes are good it really makes it easier.  I am not known for my patience, but I think I have improved this somewhat. Taking time to source the parts carefully requires this. Some projects take years to finish. You need to recognise when it is not fun any more and take a break. Don't jump to conclusions about a fault, but think things through as best as you can. Of course knowledge can be gained by things like Marks videos...I still watch these and pick up lots. I also think an open mind to repair techniques is important as well, that is, dont get locked into doing things one way as another method may actually be better with less chance of breaking something. The first skills I learnt were the manual dexterity ones. We all talk about breaking parts of the first movments we work on so develop the fine skills you need through repitition.

I know we all like pictures, so here are a couple of my workshop.




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Great insight into your hobby, and some great advice for newbies.  I can relate to some of your findings over the years, patience is key, and as you say, a very steady hand, plus suitable eyewear magnification, lighting etc.

Thanks for the photos, I will share some photos of mine once I have completed my remodelling.

@Geo I managed to find a U.S supplier of the Alvin covering who ship direct to me ;) 

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