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  • #48746
    secondsout
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 1
    • Total Posts: 4

    Hi All,

    I’m a rookie to the forum and to watch repair although I have 30 years technical background in the auto industry and hoping that at least a little of that experience and knowledge will be put to use when working with watches. My general interest is for watches and after many years I’m now interested in taking steps to look closer at the mechanics and hopefully service, repair etc.

    I’ve been watching the online course videos and taking in much of the content and theory and I’m interested and keen to get started with some practical work.

    Initially I intend to get some job lots of old pocket watches and hand wind wrist watches ( working or not ) and one by one begin to dismantle and reassemble them in order to get used to handling the small parts and tools and get familiar with the moving parts and how they interact with each other within each movement. Maybe I’ll even bring one or two non runners back to life ? I intend to combine my practical work with theory as I go.

    Whats the thoughts on this ? Good or bad idea ?

    I’m also preparing a small home workshop and although I’m ok with tools I’m interested on feedback regarding loupes and ultrasonic cleaning machines. Is it worth buying aplanatic loupes rather than standard ones ? Is there a significant improvement in vision with an aplanatic to merit buying it ? I’m also looking at ultrasonic cleaning machines and seen advertised for $30 – $40. Are these small cheap ones ok or not ?

    Look forward to any replies or advice.

    Thanks

    #54593
    tmac1956
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 171
    • Total Posts: 1259

    Rookie:

    Welcome to the forums! The only advice I can give is to make sure that the learning watches are working before you buy them. I know this sounds counter intuitive because you probably think that you’ll break something – and if you’re like me, you probably will! However, if you don’t buy watches that are functioning, you might not know if you did something wrong or if there is something else going on with the watch. It’s easy to get discouraged that way.

    Well, that’s about all the advice I can offer.

    Enjoy!
    Tom

    #54594
    willofiam
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 75
    • Total Posts: 1437

    Hey SecondsOut, good to have you here and wanting to be involved. I think your idea is perfect….I did the same thing and would give that advice to anyone wanting to get started, buy some clunkers and experiment, get used to the tools and small parts, I would also add to start out working on a larger pocketwatch would be a good idea as things are a bit bigger and easier to see operation ect….I am still learning theory but something that has helped me out was making drawings. As far as the loupe you probably want something hands free.. I went thru a process of figuring out what worked best for me with different style loupes so my suggestion would be to buy inexpensive items and once you know what works best for you buy the better ones if your able. all kinds of suggestions on cleaning machines, you can clean by hand all the way up to a $4000.00 machine. I use a basket and jar type cleaning machine, maybe someone here has used the small ultrasonic machines. look into using a good cleaning solution (many opinions out there also) I personally would stick with the solutions that are recommended for watches like L&R or similar. I have a extra L&R cleaning machine (really nice) I was going to list on ebay. I DO NOT know if it is O.K. to do business thru the forum here, I will have to see what Bob says about that. As a side note, stay involved on the forum as allot of people can benefit from your experience, there is a wealth of information and super nice people (like Paul) to help you if your struggling in any area. have a fantastic day, William

    #54595
    willofiam
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 75
    • Total Posts: 1437

    Hey Tom we must have posted at the same time…. GREAT advice, I never thought of that. your the best, have a great day, William

    #54596
    tmac1956
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 171
    • Total Posts: 1259

    @tmac1956 wrote:

    Rookie:

    Welcome to the forums! The only advice I can give is to make sure that the learning watches are working before you buy them. I know this sounds counter intuitive because you probably think that you’ll break something – and if you’re like me, you probably will! However, if you don’t buy watches that are functioning, you might not know if you did something wrong or if there is something else going on with the watch. It’s easy to get discouraged that way.

    Well, that’s about all the advice I can offer.

    Enjoy!
    Tom

    I’m sorry SecondsOut…. for some reason I looked at the subject line and thought it was you forum name. My mistake…

    Later,
    Tom

    #54597
    randy
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 39
    • Total Posts: 594

    Welcome to the forum, and a great group of folks who will help you in any way we can.
    I used a small Ultrasonic for the first few years,..along with L&R solutions, and got pretty good results.
    I just stepped up to a bit larger one, with a heater, and it made a pretty substantial difference.
    But you’ll do fine with the smaller ones.

    Loupes are very personal.
    I have an aplanatic loupe, and it’s nice to use,..especially if you are going to spend many hours at the bench.
    Mine gets intermittent use though, as I’m far sighted,..so once I take it off, I’m blind.
    I settled on an Ary Loupe, so that I could wear “readers”in a strength that allowed me to see everything on my bench easily, and then I can just swing the lens down as I need it. I bought the additional eyepiece insert for more power.
    Everything else in the way of tools are pretty much what you can afford/ what works.
    I like to spend hours combing Ebay looking for old watch tools,…..you can do well there if you invest the time.
    I like steel tweezers for some work,..but prefer to use brass as much as possible, to decrease the possibility of scratching anything in or on a movement.

    Take care,..write often…we’re here to share and help,

    Best

    Randy

    #54598
    secondsout
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 1
    • Total Posts: 4

    Thank you all for the advice and support.
    I did consider your points about the watches working to begin with and fully take on board the benefit of that.
    It’s also very likely when buying job lots that someone else has robbed them of the part they were looking for before selling them on so who knows what I’ll end up with but that’s ok for now. If I get a mix of working and non working it’ll get me started at least.
    I’ve been on ebay and expect a delivery of my first “victims” in a week or so.
    So it’s prepare for a glittering new career in watch repair or become the next scrap dealer to the steampunk jewellery trade ……………………………. or maybe both !

    Will keep you posted with developments and thanks again.

    Col

    #54599
    david pierce
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 90
    • Total Posts: 1360

    Seconds Out,
    Watch repair and understanding watches is learned in stages. The first stage is disassembly. For that you will need only a few tools. These are descent screwdrivers, good watchmaker tweezers and some form of magnafication. If you want to start out on a small budget there are some good products available at a fairly low cost. Some tools you can make yourself. Since everybody has different preferences as to what they are comfortable working with it might be a good idea to start with a small investment and decide for yourself as you gain more knowledge in this field. I started out a few years ago at another school and they had a recommended list of tools. These were:
    1) Dumont #5 and #2 tweezers
    2) A couple of Bausch & Lomb loupes
    3) Bergeon screwdrivers

    These are good tools but over the years I have found that STELLA TWEEZERS from REDROOSTERUK, a set of watchmaker screwdrivers from FINDING KING, and a pair of powerful reading glasses from any drug store have work out well for me. You will find out things for yourself as time goes on and decide what you are comfortable with. You may also want to invest in some watch repair books such as BEGINNING WATCH REPAIR, PRACTICAL WATCH REPAIR by Donald de Carle and also you may want to pick up a copy of the CHICAGO SCHOOL OF WATCHMAKING which is on a CD and can be purchased for a very low cost. If you watch Bob’s videos, take note of the tools he is using on the first one; tweezers, screwdrivers, an inexpensive movement holder and an eye loupe. This is pretty much all you will need to get started.
    david

    #54600
    secondsout
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 1
    • Total Posts: 4

    Thanks David,

    Believe it or not I’ve just ordered the B&L loupes and the Stella tweezers earlier today !
    Appreciate the advice.

    Col

    #54601
    steadypin
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 1
    • Total Posts: 13

    Hi SecondsOut, All of the above post have given you great advice. Especially about starting out with a working pocket watch. Other than what has already been said I would like to offer you something else that will greatly help your endeavor and that is “PATIENCE”. When you find yourself getting frustrated or in a hurry you are surely going to make a mistake or break something. When this situtation occurs the best thing to do is walk away from your work area and after you relax for awhile come back. It happens to all of us, you will find you will have a clearer view of what you are trying to do. Also, since you are just starting get into the habit of using good watch practices when working on your pocket watches. Such as, watch paper or rubber finger tips when handling movements and other parts to prevent moisture from you fingers which will in time discolor the plate or bridges. In the beginning it may take you alittle longer using good watch practices but your speed will pickup and you will be better in the long run. Good luck I sincerely hope you go as far as you want with this great hobby, SteadyPin

    #54602
    david pierce
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 90
    • Total Posts: 1360

    Seconds Out,
    I just thought of a few more low cost items to get started.
    1) Small bamboo Shish Kabob skewers available from any supermarket.
    2) Caps from plastic milk bottles to hold and organize parts. Wash them in the dishwasher first.
    3) Rodico: available from Lancaster Horogolical Supply. Go to Ebay and type in BERGEON and they will come up. I don’t know of any other way to bring up their site.
    4) Very small fine sewing needles
    5) An inexpensive clamp type movement holder. You can find them on Ebay for about $5.00. Type in WATCH TOOLS.

    The skewers are useful to hold things down while you are working on the movement. They can also be sawn into two inch lengths and drilled into the end with a small drill bit. Then cut off the eye of the needle and push it into the hole. You can make up several of these and heat and bend the sharp tips to various angles. You cannot imagine how useful these can be.
    david

    #54603
    tmac1956
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 171
    • Total Posts: 1259

    Seconds Out:

    If you haven’t seen this fellow on YouTube, you might want to look at this video. He uses the bottle caps to store his parts like David recommended. In this video, he goes over his basic tools. He pretty entertaining too. However, be forewarned… in some of his vids, he occasionally uses a few choice expletives. I mean, none of us have ever done that. ;)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0YBVTvdfJHE

    Just a disclaimer… Bob’s videos show you the correct way of doing things.

    Enjoy.
    Tom

    #54604
    david pierce
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 90
    • Total Posts: 1360

    Tom,
    That is where I got the idea from. I run them through the dishwasher first. They work great. The one and only Bunn Special BLATT!!!!!

    #54605
    secondsout
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 1
    • Total Posts: 4

    David / Tom,

    Thanks for the further advice and video link. I’m still very much in prep mode at the moment so this is very useful.
    I’ve got a load of stuff on order but it’s likely to arrive at various different times over the next few weeks and with holidays fast approaching who know’s when I’ll actually get hands on but theres no rush. I bought a couple of pocket watches for starters both of which look good from the photos provided and both confirmed to be in good working order. I have a job lot of wrist watches also, but will probably leave them alone for now.
    Keep you posted with progress.

    Thanks

    Col

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