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      First of all hello to everyone on here , i am new only having joined the course last night ! so please bear with me ….
      Anyway i decided to join because i wanted to learn to do watch repair on my own watches both Auto and manual .. however upon joining and scanning through the material i noted that most of it on the watch maker course relates to pocket watches and there is nothing on automatic movements … i suppose the question is does learning the basics on a pocket watch give me a good grounding as far as repair to watches are concerned ? i assume that ETA movements are similar to the pocket watch movement ?.
      The other question is i obvcously need to purchase a cheap second hand watch/movement to practise stripping and rebuliding .. is it a good idea to start with a pocket watch ?. or a watch ?.
      And lastly as far as automactic and moving forward what other books resoursces can any of you recommend ?.
      Apologies for the long post but this is my first venture into the world of watch repair …..
      Many thanks in advance !!

      Bob Tascione

        Welcome to the course and forum Tazio722,

        Yes the pocket watch movement is in most cases about the same as the wrist watch movement. What we cover in the course is the fundamentals and repair techniques of the lever watch movement which applies to the underlying movement whether in a wrist or pocket watch case. I use larger pocket watch movements in the course because they are larger, more forgiving and easier to work on when starting out. Dexterity is a major part of watch repair and is something that is acquired over time with practice. Working on smaller or more complicated movements when first starting out will quite often result in one becoming discouraged and giving up

        When you asked about ETA movements being similar to pocket watch movements the answer is yes. The ETA 6497 and ETA 6498 movements are found in both pocket and wrist watches. Same movements. Only difference between the two is the location of the winding stem.

        The automatic watch uses the same underlying lever escapement movement in most cases. Think of the auto function mech. as a module which is attached to the watch movement. The auto mech. is basically a complete module (unit) that transfers the energy of a rotating or oscillating weight (rotor) into the winding mech. of the movement. The movement itself is almost identical to a manual wind aside from the mainspring barrel being setup with a bridled mainspring and barrel which allows for slipping of the mainspring to prevent over-winding. The underlying movement itself is still basically the same animal. There are different configurations used in auto wind mechs. ie: some use reverser gears where older designs do not, etc.

        There are many other modules that can be attached or added to a watch movement. The calendar mechanism being another one. It’s first necessary and highly recommended that the fundamentals of repairing the basic watch movement be learned before moving on to more complicated watches.

        You can start out with older movements such as the American 16 size movements made by Elgin, Waltham, Illinois etc. etc. as they are rugged and can be found up online for very reasonable prices or you can begin with movements such as the ETA 6497 or 6498. You may wish to consider the Chinese equivalents of these and other ETA movements as the prices are much better. Take a look at the video if you have a chance.

        Hope this helps Tazio722,


          Many thanks Bob i had thought that might be how an automatic works …. anyway i am uk based so will see what i can find in terms of cheap ETA pocket watch ….
          Do you have any advice as far as books are concerned ?
          Many thanks James


            First, welcome to the forums, if you have questions about tools, chemicals, supply houses, do a forum search using keywords, these forums have been around for a long time, so there is a ton of knowledge in them, we have a lot of helpful, knowledgeable members that will do everything they can to help you out, a thread to read is the “How to post pictures” as you find issues, a picture is worth a thousand words, and will help resolve you question quicker.

            Books- Chicago School of Watch Making, or Bulova School of Watch Making are excellent books, both can be found online, then you have the Donald De Carle books, you can not go wrong picking up his two books Practical Watch Repair, and Complicated Watch Repair.

            For beginning, I would suggest a simple pocket watch that is running and keeping time, no complications (a complication is date, autowinder, chrono, or anything above the basic time). maybe pick up a couple of those old watches, strip it, clean it, re-assemble and then start over. The reason for a running and accurate watch is until you learn what a proper watch looks and sounds like, you are just inviting frustration trying to diagnoise a watch with little or no experience.

            The reason for the repeating the process is to learn the needed skill for working with tweezers, (as soft of touch as needed to hold the item), get used to working in such a small scale (how to brace your hand to steady it, proper use of the screw drivers so you do not scratch your time piece etc). After you have master that part of it, then start looking at wrist watches, basics, no complications, then after you are comfortable with a wrist watch, start adding complications. As you progress into more complicated watches, there are more advanced books that deal with those complications as well as Horological theory.

            Welcome to the addiction..


              Many thanks that was very helpful advice !


                Hey James, I see everyone has you covered with info so I just thought I would pop in and say welcome, glad to have yah. William

                bernie weishapl

                  When I learned watch repair by taking Bob’s course way back when (no I won’t say how long ago) I also mentored or apprenticed under a old gentleman. He said a watch is a watch is a watch. In other words most watches work the same, under the same principles, some with a more complicated way of doing things. I started with pocket watches and that is all I did for 6 months to a year. He said when I could take them apart, fix’em and put them back together blind folded then I could move on to wrist watches then on to electronic, automatic’s, etc. Steve gave you books to read which are good. Lots of video’s on youtube. Good tools are another must. I have been doing clocks and watches now over 30 yrs. I learn something everyday. So you will continue learning thru out your days of repairing watches or clocks. Welcome aboard and have fun.


                    Thankyou everyone for the welcoming and kind words ! James

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