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How Do You Keep All The Screws Straight?


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One question that has cropped up for me a couple of times while watching your movement disassembly and reassembly videos is how you keep all the screws straight in your head, i.e. which screws go with which part?  I can see how you systematically lay everything out on your bench as you are disassembling, but once you put it all together to go into the cleaner, any sort of order on the bench would be lost, right?

 

In the case of different sized screws, it would seem a bit more clear, but I worry about mixing screws of the same diameter but slightly different lengths.  Would such a thing occur frequently in complex watches?

 

I've only worked on the simplest of time pieces so far, so I haven't gained any real world experience in dealing with this issue, but you've dismantled some pretty intricate movements on video and I was hoping you might share your thoughts and guidance.

 

Thanks!

~Dan

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Great first post - and it is a question I get asked from time to time.

 

First of all - if there is a watch of which I am unfamiliar I use a digital camera and I try to get a good photograph for each stage of disassembly. This picture will have the part I just removed with the corresponding screws next to the correct holes. It's then easy to flick back through the pics when re-assembling.

 

You will find that as you get more experienced you will do this less and less. 

 

Back when I was an apprentice we did not have digital cameras and so we would make sketches.

 

As you go along you will find that you will naturally know where screws go.

 

If the watch is complicated, like a chronograph. I sometimes unscrew and remove the component and then I will screw the screw back in place (not tightly as this could damage something) and this is very helpful especially for screws that look the same but have subtle differences.

 

And for the screws in the train wheel bridge and barrel bridge - check as sometimes there will be one or two shorter than others - this is to make clearance for the keyless (winding) work components.

 

I hope this helps.

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