Home Forums General Discussion Forum Watch Repair guy..need a Lathe? Reply To: Watch Repair guy..need a Lathe?


    Phil, you are never too old! I am 44 this year and I have only been at it for the past couple of years seriously.
    I want to be in the position of not having to send anything out for repair, I have made a lot of my own tools as I am not in a position to spend fortunes and if this is what you want then you will need a lathe.
    If you are patient you can find tools at the NAWCC meets and on e-bay, dont just dismiss things if they look a bit tatty, certain tools can be cleaned up well enough to become serviceable again. I just sat at a table with a pen and paper and watched bobs videos for clock servicing (you would obviously watch the watch servicing videos) and made notes of all the tools he used. I then did my reasearch, if a certain tool was expensive I would either look for an alternative or try and find something cheap on e-bay.
    Watchmakers screwdrivers are a classic example, you can spend a fortune on a quality set, I bought a cheap set on e-bay with the different coloured heads and they were rubbish, then ends almost felt as though they had been made from silver painted chocolate. I then bought a set of those cheap ones you see in discount stores, all silver bodies and they come in the blue and clear plastic cases for around £1/$1. I bought one of those sharpening guides, the barrell with the hole and a ball bearing at each end, and re-shaped the ends of the whole set to useable sizes (including the phillips/posi-drive ones, ground the ends off and then sharpened to a flat). I have done this to 3 sets of them now so with a little time and £3 I have a perfectly useable set of watchmakers screwdrivers. They are hard enough for watch screws, that is for sure, and if I have to keep re-grinding them to fit different size screws, so what! they only cost £1 per box. I got given a nice block of pine so I drilled a load of holes in it and I now have a nice stand to put all my screwdrivers in :)
    Sure its nice to have all the Bergeon stuff but I think in a lot of cases you are paying for the name.
    I dont have as many tools as Bob Tascione (I dont think anyone does ;) ) but I do have a lot, I have bought them at boot sales, charity shops, e-bay, clock auctions, discount stores and other Horologists. The single most expensive thing was a Vario-lux lathe with a milling attachment (which you wont need for watches) £350, because I want to cut my own clock wheels.
    It can be as cheap or as expensive as you want it to be. Get a quote for having a balance staff cut and work out how many it would take to pay for the lathe, I think you will be suprised.
    One last thing, it is quite dangerous and snares a lot of Horologists – Tool lust, it creeps up on you from nowhere, think I am joking? ask some of the other board members ;)