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Not certain whether this string is about jewel inspection or about buying optics, but on the subject of jewels:

  • Important that jewels be clean before inspection.  Catastrophic problems will be obvious even in dirty jewels but small cracks and chips are easily obscured by grime.  Also in dirty jewels small fibers or odd reflections are easily mistaken for jewel problems when they're not.  [See image: dirty PW jewel through at 30X magnification.]
  • Agree microscope is the cat's meow for inspecting jewels.  I use a Swift Stereo 80 binocular inspection scope I bought on EBay for $100 delivered.  Turns out there are lots of similar scopes available equally cheap.  I've used this microscope every day since I bought it.  So useful for inspecting jewels, for oiling (especially pallets), and for all kinds of quick inspections.  Buy one.  You won't regret it!
  • Before I bought the stereo inspection scope I used a biologic scope.  Don't make that mistake.  You may be able to visualize a part using a biologic scope, but lighting, positioning, focal distance are all very awkward.  Get a stereo inspection scope with built-in lighting in the column and the stage.  It's the right tool!  Digital scopes may also be a solution, but I have no experience with them.  Others here may care to comment.
  • If microscope is out of budget, in my experience, next best option is a quality hand held loupe in 12x to 15x range (a "Hastings Triplet" type for example.) For around $30 you get high magnification, clear image, and good mobility.  Belomo is a quality brand made in former Soviet bloc and available cheaper than quality German or Swiss options.
  • But don't assume that more is better.  I have 20X hand loupe.  It's powerful, but focal distance is down around 4mm and depth of field is extremely small.  Both factors limit its usefulness.

As to OP's question about sourcing American PW jewels, finding parts, especially old fragile parts, is one of the greatest limiting factors in watch repair these days.  You can't just order old PW jewels from a supply house.  My best luck has been scavenging "for parts or repair" scrap movements offered cheap on eBay or on Dave's Watch Parts.  Perhaps others may have better ideas?

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On 3/7/2021 at 10:15 AM, watchweasol said:

Agreed the clip on is not the best but adequate

I dedicate a pair of glasses when doing watch work.  On those glasses, I wrap electrical tape (any tape) around the area where the clip attaches.  This provides much greater volume to grab with the clip.  I have been pretty happy with it.  I have one that I inherited that is the genuine vintage style.  The clip on it is a rotating clip.  I find it to be a little cumbersome, so I do not use it.  These are just fine.  I just ordered a stronger one today.

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  • 2 weeks later...

i've got all the numbers from bergeon 4/3/2/1 (without the halfs). Though, i usually work with # 4 or 3.

(i prefer bergeon for its quality) 

As for oiling works and good inspection, i use x15 and x12 with or without automatic oiler. 

After all, it is reasonable that in oder for someone to do a good job, they have to be able to have a clear picture of the movement's daily operation.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have a cheap 10x loupe that works well for me. I thought I would splurge and buy a Bausch and Lome 1” 10x. I, literally, can’t use it. I can focus on one tiny spot in the middle and the rest is severely blurred.

Anybody else had this problem? Any suggestions for a brand that allows full field clarity? Bergeron?

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Is your Bausch & Lomb a twin lens, compound loupe? 

Some of the cheap loupes use an ambiguous magnification factor. I have a China loupe that has 3 interchangeable lenses. A 5x, 10x and 20x. The 5x is like my 2.5x loupe. And the 20x is no where near my 7x Bausch & Lomb. 

The twin lens loupes have a very short working distance and a small field of view. I use them mainly for inspection work only as my nose is practically touching the work piece.

I guess magnification is a matter of personal preference. What works for me might not work for you. And I think many of us are still searching for the perfect solution. Magnification is addictive. It's never enough. (Ok. Maybe a 45x stereo microscope might be enough.)

So go out there and try as many as possible without breaking your bank. Good luck. 

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It is the lower priced one, about $16. Single glass. I assumed it would be full field optical clarity. Not even close. My $6 one labeled “India” works well for me. I’ll stick with that. I’m curious if the $160 one would provide full-fueld viewing clarity?

I can’t imagine anyone being pleased with only 10% of the available viewing area clear.

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7 minutes ago, Woolshire said:

It is the lower priced one, about $16. Single glass. I assumed it would be full field optical clarity. Not even close. My $6 one labeled “India” works well for me. I’ll stick with that. I’m curious if the $160 one would provide full-fueld viewing clarity?

I can’t imagine anyone being pleased with only 10% of the available viewing area clear.

All loupes will have a sort of blurry "halo" around the view, but will have a usable inner area. With high power loupes, that's anything 10x and over, everything gets smaller, working distance, and field of view. I use Asco loupes at 10x and 12x, above that I just go to the microscope. I have both aplanetic and achromatic Ascos, the field of view is the same, as I understand the achromats are aplanetic with the addition of color correctness (good for working with gemstones); they have a decent field of view, and a noticable blurry halo. These loupes have a lens size of about 13mm. I have an old 10x around here that's "normal" size, like 20-something mm, most of its field of view is useless, and what is in more or less focus doesn't come close to comparing with the Ascos.

 

It's been said numerous times, but in general you want to stay under 5x for normal work, really around 3x would be best, as you will be straining your eye much more with the less forgiving higher power. In my opinion a decent binocular microscope with a range of about 7x-30x is an absolute essential, as essential as screwdrivers and tweezers. When you need more power, go to the scope; when you can't go to the scope (something on the lathe etc.) then use the high powers as needed, but they will never compare to a scope, at any price.

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  • 10 months later...
On 4/11/2021 at 8:08 AM, nickelsilver said:

a decent binocular microscope with a range of about 7x-30x is an absolute essential

I have one...bought it for electronics SMD assembly long ago.

For those who use microscopes...they must not be using them on traditional watch benches, no?  Too high...at least in my configuration.  Maybe if I got a stool rather than a chair for when using the microscope it would make sense.  Right now, the microscope is on my electronics bench which is only 28" high versus my watch benches which are about 40" high.

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  • 1 month later...

I never really understood why poeple would go for any magnification under 20x. I started of with the usual 5x, 10x, 15x.  but realized that im not satisfied with the magnification level so I bought a x20 and man was that better. Nowadays I mostly dont use my loupes anymore when working on my projects except when instecting gear teeth or jewels for imperfections.  

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2 hours ago, berlintime said:

I never really understood why poeple would go for any magnification under 20x

Because strong magnification is good only for inspection or ultra-small work, and for these a stereo microscope is better. One can't don't general work with strong magnification, because the focal distance, field depth, and field width are too small.

 

2 hours ago, berlintime said:

Nowadays I mostly dont use my loupes anymore 

Possibly because you're short-sighted (myopia), and that's a blessing for watchmaking. But a large majority of people, especially at mature age can't focus on nearby objects (presbyopia), and need a vision aid under all conditions.

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I really hate my eye sight at the moment long distance glasses are a waste of time unless I need to read subtitles on the TV and my reading glasses are ok but if I need to pick a pen of the desk I need to remove them.

I have a good loupe 10x but struggle to focus when it worn like a optic (in the eye) I have a clip on 5x that falls off my reading glasses as my glasses have frames that are to thick. I have ordered so of these to try https://www.cousinsuk.com/product/watchmakers-loupes-cousins-double watch maker double's I also have a set of these https://www.amazon.co.uk/RIGHTWELL-Headband-Magnifier-Led-Lights/dp/B01GTF06PS/ref=pd_day0_sccl_1/258-7200769-0422933?pd_rd_w=z7am7&pf_rd_p=8ec13b8a-30d2-48fc-8503-84c56766370d&pf_rd_r=07628JCSZS27BFTBPPCG&pd_rd_r=d1dd052d-7456-4295-8e9a-18c92d024e12&pd_rd_wg=R3nE9&pd_rd_i=B01GTF06PS&psc=1 however they work well but find they don't have the strength required for watch repairs and general watch strip down I will let you know how I get on when they arrive. 

I gave up photography because I didn't like the way my vision was going. I couldn't rely on it. 

 

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1 hour ago, Tiny said:

I have a good loupe 10x but struggle to focus when it worn like a optic (in the eye) I have a clip on 5x that falls off my reading glasses as my glasses have frames that are to thick.

Best way to keep the eyeglass is a wire headband. Done working just pull it up, and it will be ready when starting again. No effort by facial muscles to keep it in place and can't fall. Wearable on top of glasses if these are needed. Raise head, other eye keeps normal vision to identify objects and people around.
It's something almost always present the head of watchmakers in pictures. There is a reason why good old ways are still the better ones. All the rest are IMHO useless contraptions.

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