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hi guys, sold some stock so going to invest the proceeds, got a few items with hair spring probs that i've put off doing until i knew how to approach it now i've swotted up thro this site i'm ready to jump in but not before i've got some more advice from you guys.at the moment i'm using a 110mm probably about 2x lighted magnifyer but i'm really struggling with this so i would be most interested in what other people are using. i get on ok with what i have for every thing else so i dont mind having two systems for two different jobs. thanks guys

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Hi Steve,


For general magnification, I use an Asco 4x loupe with a wire holder to keep in on my eye. It focuses at 2.5". For smaller work and inspection, I have an Asco 10x aplanatic loupe that focuses at about 1". If you get a 10x loupe I feel the aplanatic is worth the difference in price. The field of view is noticeably wider and there is less distortion.


The lamp I'm using now in an adjustable brightness/color temperature LED desk lamp. It's not as bright as I would like, but it does the job for now.



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Hi Steve,

I mainly use an Optivisor with 3.5X power at 4".  For me this combination works beautifully.  It is very, very comfortable and provides me with enough magnification given my age (approaching 50), astigmatism, etc. It originally came with 2X but found it was not enough.  I also use a 5X loupe and 10X hand lens for inspection work.  Here's a pic...


This week I borrowed a stereo microscope from work to try out and have been amazed at what you can see which wasn't apparent with the loupe or hand lens.  I plan on buying one for inspection work.


For lighting, I use this 3 lamp (fluorescent) unit.  I really like it, but it is the only one I have ever used.  Other members might be able to "shed more light on this" to point out other options for you to consider.


I hope this helps!



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thanks for the comments guys, i wont be able to use the visor as i wear glasses and i also have difficulty with loupes that attach to your glasses so i'm a bit stuck, i was hoping to get a desk mounted  magnifier at 5x or more with enough room underneath to get the tweezers working, alas the hairsprings will have to wait a bit longer, thanks, steve

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It,s all about comfort I have a Optivisor with changeable lenses. However I only use it now & again with clocks i just find it too awkward for watches. I prefer different strength eye loupes at hand & my reading glasses are on a cord.

It,s a bit fiddly but it works for me. I have also found after lot of practice,I can look through a loupe but also look through my other eye when looking for a tool my bench.

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Hi steve, you will find lots of good suggestions here and remember not everyone have "the same eyes" and comfort level.


My two cents: Not all eye magnification devices are for everyone. It has cost me a lot of money to actually find what I'm comfortable with...and it was an optivisor like cheapo Chinese thing most people won't wear! With that said, I'd say go for the best you can afford and if you can try first or return if not happy, better!

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   I thought I would throw my two cents in here. I wear glasses now and switch to contacts when I go to work. I've tried the optivisor with contacts but it just doesn't work for me. My contact prescription is set up so that my left eye is for reading and my right eye is for distance. I am also right eye dominant. What I find works best for me is a double clip on loupe for my glasses which I use on my right eye. The one I use most has a 3x and a 4x lens. I use the 3x most of the time but for close inspection I'll use both. Anything more than that I'll pull out a boom arm microscope which I find I like very much.

Charles K

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As i said in previous post its about comfort & what suits you. I have tried a few of the clip on jobs but they always seem to fall off at the most inappropriate time.

It might be the way I attach them or my glasses but too any slips caused by them falling of at the wrong time.

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  • 3 months later...

Hello Toptime,


Like everything else this largely depends upon how much is in your budget. 


The Optivisor style magnifyer which is hands free is favoured by a number of folk and the Bay has a number of different options on sale if you search the forums for "Comfortable magnification" you will come up with Al's thread and others but there are some links below, and a number of folk give opinions. 

In general you need something that keeps the magnification in place while you use both hands and I personally can only use Loupes by holding them in place with one hand so I purchased the spectacles with flip up loupes and use them for examinations.

3.5X Power at about 4 inches distance seems the optimum magnification and working space.  Its no use getting really good magnification if you can't work on the watch unless your requirement is inspection only.

A while ago for Christmas I got a Brunel stereo microscope which has changed everything for me and gives me working space and up to 70x magnification but I know that it may not be in everyones budget.






Hope this helps but further tracing under magnification etc will give more results.


Welcome to the Forum.





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Maybe It's just because I'm used to using eyeglasses but things like optivisors give me a headache. I've also noticed, large  lenses, like that in an optivisor or a magnifying lamp give a bit of 'chromatic aberration' (colours split so that everything has colorful outlines) that can be disorienting. 

I could imagine an optivosr would be excellent  for machine work, polishing or bench motors, lathes etc where they could have the dual function of eye protection and you can't afford to be fiddling with eyeglasses while you need two hands to work the piece/machine. 

But my preference for general watch work is a 3.3x screw rimmed Bergeon eye glass, good, clear optics and under £10  on cousins. I've never felt the need to have anything lower than a 3x but that might just be what I'm used to. For oiling pivots, jewels and other times when you need to really look at something, you want a decent 10, or 12x eyeglass, I don't yet have a suggestion for this I'm currently unhappy with the cheap one I have.

It's worth keeping in mind the higher magnification you go, the less focal length you generally get (you'll only be able to see clearly a small area, and that area can go in and out of focus if you don't keep the piece/yourself perfectly still) 

I've not found my self wanting more than 12x.

and if you're not used to using eyeglasses, there's nothing wrong with using one of the holders that keep it in place for you, useful to have anyway, I use it for the 12x work at least, just makes things a tad easier. 

Edited by Ishima
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  • 10 months later...
2 hours ago, aswatchmaking said:

Optivisors are not used by real watchmakers. They are not for watchmaking. If you want to work on movements get a loupe and do it the right way. 

You're wrong here. If you are ok yourself losing the major benefit of bilateral vision, you're welcome. 

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I think a 4x Optivisor is fabulous for most pocket watches. Also, I have an astigmatism so, being able to wear glasses under the Optivisor is a huge help. I also use a 10x/18x loupe that attaches to the temple of my glasses.

My feeling is you should use whatever works best for you.

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