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October 3, 2014 at 10:04 pm #49250
Can anyone suggest a good starter tool list or kit for pocket watch repair? I’m more interested in completeness, quality, and usability than I am about price.
TimOctober 4, 2014 at 7:04 am #59646
Tim, if price is not a concern, you can go on the Bergeon/horotec site and outfit yourself nicely for about 60k 😆
For the rest of us, there’s my Canadian brother…. Uncle Larry’s watch shop, he supplies many vintage tools of good quality at a fair price.. I’m in no way related to Larry’s only that he’s a fellow Canuck and I owe him the life of my first three grand kids
Of course there’s eBay but it might be cheaper going the Bergeron route these days, plus you have to fight with 40 other bidders.. Apart from yourself, there appears to be several thousand other new watch buyers on the prowl, so eBay is becoming amazon and not an auction house 😆October 4, 2014 at 1:22 pm #59647
Maybe I should reword that a little? Hahaha, I went on the Bergeron site, and you really are spot-on – that stuff is EXPENSIVE. I’ll be asking Uncle Larry if I can come on as a “nephew.” Awesome advice!
TimOctober 4, 2014 at 5:00 pm #59648
😆 Yes sir, the words… second & mortgage come to mind when you go to the Bergeon site, or the Horotec page, although the latter does have a lovely 7 piece screwdriver set for $1200
Larry is one of the good guys & a member of this forum, although he’ll probably cringe and feel like I’m shamelessly plugging his site, well I am, because I’ve always had a good experience..October 6, 2014 at 3:42 pm #59649
I sent an email to Uncle Larry yesterday, and today emailed him a list of tools and supplies I would need. If you have the time, can you please take a look and see if my list is OK? Would be great! Much appreciated. Here’s the excerpt:
Thank you for the response. You can put me at the ground floor of pocket watch servicing, but maybe a couple floors up in terms of mechanical ability. Starting from the biggest to smallest, I’ve done just about everything there is to fix an automobile except rebuild an engine from the inside-out. I did an apprenticeship in locksmithing, and now do that in a hobby-based way. Finally, I have some limited knowledge of consumer electronic repair, and yes, I do have some hand tools that would probably be OK – think miniature screwdrivers and “spudgers,” etc. found on iFixit.com. I own the Protech Tool Kit and some Kobalt 1.4mm – 3.0mm jeweler’s screwdrivers, as well as other miniature drivers.
This is what I have from iFixit:
Here’s what I know I’ll absolutely need, one way or another:
Tweezers (at least 2)
Jewel Pushing Key, multi
Mainspring winder with various size barrels
Pocket watch cup holders to work on the watch, various
Loops – Unsure size I’ll need
Mechanical watch cleaning machine
A balance holder
An electric demagnetizer
The grease/oil used to lubricate pocket watches. Thick clock oil. Mainspring grease. Mobius watch grease.
A hand held blower (squeeze type)
Boxwood sawdust with container
A watchmaker-grade aluminum and brass hammer
Spade oiler (I am also interested in the kind of oiler that has the oil in the handle).
New pocket watch springs
A puller for – can’t remember the name – the part that is in the center of the watch, and holds the minute and hour hands.
I’m also open to getting a decent screwdriver set.
I know I’ll need some other things like wax/tissue paper, some punches with holes in the bottom, and other common items. (I’ll get those locally)
That was my list to get started on pocket watches, garnered and culled via Bob’s pocket watch series.
TimOctober 6, 2014 at 4:08 pm #59650willofiamModerator
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Hey Tim, nice work on the list, looks like you been bitten by the bug for sure …..The balance holder you refer to is a “balance tack”, I would also keep and eye out for let down tools, a good case knife (a quality case knife makes all the difference in my opinion) and maybe even a rubber case opener, they come in handy…..There will be tons of other specialty tools for the future of repairing…things like a staking set, jeweling tools, possibly a lathe and so on BUT you have a pretty good handle on getting started and these other things can be picked up as you find the need for them. You do not necessarily need a mechanical cleaning machine at first, get the solution and you can clean by hand and take your time looking for a GOOD machine if you want one. The first one I bought became a rebuild project and cost me alot more than I wanted to spend at the time. The mainsprings can also be bought as you go too, be careful of old stock mainsprings as they can be rusty or broken……another option could be to borrow all your brothers tools and forget to give them back for 3-4 years, then ask him for a fully outfitted Lorch K-D 50 for Christmas 😆 WilliamOctober 6, 2014 at 4:46 pm #59651
I knew I forgot something I’ll add the letdown tool(s) to the list for Uncle Larry.
All good info William. I am sensitive to most chemicals (think hyper-smelling nose and headaches!), so I think I do need to look at that mechanical cleaner. What I would say about your situation is that – almost everything – seems like a rebuild project in your shop! Haha I think you got thE OTHER bug…like the rebuild bug or something along those lines I quite like your approach; after all, many things just need a little boost (think dryer heating element), and then they’re fine! I actually picked up a dryer on the side of the road and brought it home back in the 90’s. I had that thing running perfectly in a matter of hours, after a run or two to the parts store. The exterior of that thing was like brand new!
One question I do have is, do you buy all your tools and supplies (like mainsprings) locally, or do you need to have everything shipped? Just curious because Hawaii is so remote, there are a lot of things that we either can’t get, or are a hassle/cost too much in shipping.
I like you’re idea…I’m coming over there Joe!
TimOctober 7, 2014 at 12:56 am #59652
Hey Tim, like William said, good list, but I would also eliminate a couple of items that I PERSONALLY find no reason to use, and these are my own reasons which others may not agree with, but we all have our own ways..
I would say adios to the sawdust, this comes from WAAAY back when they used to use cyanide and all kinds of nasty stuff for cleaning, and possibly before mass electricity connections 😆 These days we have small low temp tiny ovens or, like I use, the hairdrier I no longer need for hair, it dries parts in a minute after blowing them with your blower
Not sure what you mean by a mainspring holder/pusher? But if you’re buying a winder, that will push them in whilst holding them in place.
The jewel pushers….. I use pegwood pushers that I round out to fit various sizes. The jewel pushers you purchase are either metal or brass and can/do crack jewels if you’re not careful.. If you have a staking set, there are enough stakes to use as pushers if need be.
A cannon pinion puller is also a good idea, until you become proficient with tweezers 😆
A MUST HAVE is a staking set, you will need one, it’s the staple of the watch repairer. You will be faced with many broken staffs, you’ll have to use the stake to change them. May as well get it now, you will be using it..
Also a roller removing tool, preferably one that works with the staking set. The clamp type make me nervous as you could use too much force and snap the staff, some roller tables are on super tight.
You will also be faced with broken/cracked jewels, so some form of jeweling device. Most of the old pocket watches have rub-in jewels, so you will need to pick up a tool for this purpose.
If you’re going for screwdrivers, spend the extra cash and buy the Bergeon set.
As for loupes… I use the 3x 5 and 10. get a good set as the cheapies tend to distort.
A balance tack…. Try to get accustomed to removing the balance cock and wheel separately, it’s a lot safer, IMHO, than allowing the wheel to dangle on the hairspring while trying to remove the arm, especially on 16s where the wheel can and does get caught under the gear. I never use my tack because I don’t let the weight of the wheel, roller table and staff, pull at the spring, just my thing 😮October 7, 2014 at 6:11 am #59653tmac1956Participant
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I’m with Chris on the exclusions and would add one item. For getting started I personally could not justify the cost of a mechanical watch cleaning machine. However, a good staking set is a must. Mine has the micrometer for jewel setting, but again – it’ll cost extra.
Great list – Uncle Larry is the BEST!
TomOctober 7, 2014 at 6:15 am #59654bernie weishaplParticipant
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I agree with Chris and others on the good screwdriver set. I bought a cheap set and that is exactly what I got a cheap set. I broke down and bought the bergeon set haven’t had a problem. On the cheap set I broke the ends or the would twist. I also agree with the staking set. It is a must have IMHO. I have a balance tack but don’t use it much as I take the balance assembly out seperately from the balance wheel.
As for a loupe I bought this one and I like it a lot. It has 1.5x, 3x, 6.5x and 8x. http://www.ebay.com/itm/Jewelers-Head-Headband-Magnifier-Magnifying-Glasses-Loupe-LED-Light-Visor-USA-/360973076298?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item540bac074a
I buy a lot of parts like mainsprings and staffs off ebay. Like was said you have to be careful with the mainsprings and some of the staffs have a little rust so need to be polished. My first check though is Casker, Jules Borel, Otto Frei, McCaw, etc for those parts and if they don’t have it I go to ebay.
I don’t use sawdust either. Just to big a mess. I use my clock US and these to clean my watches. http://timesavers.com/i-8947477-1-1-2-small-parts-basket.html I have little hooks I made and just hang them on the edge. It has worked well for me for over 20 yrs or more.
You have a good list to get started. Have fun.October 7, 2014 at 7:05 am #59655willofiamModerator
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Hey Tim, lots of great advice, I thought of one more thing that would go along with tools, that would be a couple of books on watch repair. I have found Donald DeCarles book on watch repair (there is also a edition that includes clock repair) Henry Frieds watch repair manual and the Chicago school of watchmaking, all very helpful. WilliamOctober 7, 2014 at 11:53 am #59656
Thank you all very, very much. Now I’ll be weeding through all of this to modify my list from Uncle Larry. Again, thank you for your time and effort!
TimOctober 7, 2014 at 1:20 pm #59657
Bernie – Great advice! How much did your Clock US cost? Your system looks to be very well thought out – and a better option for me starting out.
Tom – Thank you, and it’s my pleasure meeting you!
Thanks for all the good stuff there, William. Uncle Larry is checking on those books for me.
Chris, as always – as ever – the walking watch encyclopedia Great info, will use all…
Thanks again, guys. I really, really appreciate all of your good help.
TimOctober 7, 2014 at 6:05 pm #59658bernie weishaplParticipant
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I have the L & R US. It is 3.6 gal unit and bought it about 15 yrs ago for around $900. I think they are around $1350 today. If you are just going to do watches you can get buy with the smaller one. The 3.4 quart unit is around $450. Esslingers has one for $279 and $399.October 7, 2014 at 10:49 pm #59659
Much obliged, Bernie That’s some good info, right there…I’ll follow-up and let you know.
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