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March 30, 2013 at 2:57 am #48563
Just starting out… trying to put tools together…
What are the best screwdrivers for working on wristwatches/pocket watches, and what sizes are most commonly used?
Better to buy a set, or individual screwdrivers?
Bergeon sets usually start at 0.50MM, whereas the French sets start at 0.60MM. How important is the 0.50MM?
What are the working differences between chromed brass and stainless steel blades?
Are blades interchangeable between manufacturers? Example Horotec hollow ground stainless steel blades in a Bergeon driver? (I am guessing you can turn over sized ones down, if you have a lathe.)
How often do blades twist/break? Looking at sharpening stones (80-100) vs $15 for a complete set of refills….. I can buy 5 complete sets of blades for the price of one stone. Or is the point of the stone to “custom fit” a screwdriver blade to a screw head that someone else buggered?
What would be a basic set of tools to get started to tear down, clean, lubricate, and reconstruct a wristwatch/pocket watch? Cost for that set?
Which would be best to buy used, what should absolutely be bought new?
Thank you..March 30, 2013 at 8:54 am #53337willofiamModerator
hey corton1, welcome to the forum, sounds like you are really excited about getting started, that is awesome!!!! I know gathering tools is a HUGE task and I see you have many questions about them, if you can please look up past posts, I know there has been alot of discussion on tools in the past, yes, screwdrivers do have to be addressed or resharpened, at least for me as I have been working on some abused pocket watches and the very tips of the blade can be broke if there happens to be a stubborn screw, to have extra blades is a good idea, and I think Bear had some issues with these at one time. I have the bergeon set that comes with 9 sizes and cost some where around $100.00 with one extra set of blades. I think Jim on here had bought the bergeon blades and fit them into a cheaper handle set and he saved alot of cash, great idea but I cannot remember what he got. I am happy with the set I purchased, I think it was worth it, but I do not think I would spend any more than that. I like the hardened blades and have not used the softer ones you describe. @corton1 wrote:
What are the working differences between chromed brass and stainless steel blades
, it is possible they have their place but I am not sure…..If you are going to be working on smaller watches I think you are going to want the .50MM. keep looking for stones, they are handy to have but It sounds like you are looking at a really expensive one, I bought a new coarse / fine india stone for $10.00 somewhere. after cheacking out the previous posts on tools let us know if you are needing anything else, also I think somewhere on the coarse Bob has more info on tooling. have a fun time, WilliamMarch 30, 2013 at 10:28 am #53338tmac1956Participant
Clearly the Bergeon tools are amoung, if not THE best. Yet, you can spend substantially less and still have a very good set of screwdrivers. There is a nine-piece set made in France that are just fine for starting. They come in sizes 0.60mm to 3.0mm with changable blades. Many suppliers carry them, but here’s a link just for you to look at:
I hope this helps.
tmacMarch 30, 2013 at 11:40 pm #53339
Both brass and stainless are non magnetic which is good for watch work. Brass is soft and stainless is much harder. The Bergeon set that was mentioned in a previous post is a good set that works well and is affordable. There are more expensive screwdrivers for sale but in the end all it does is turn a screw. If you are on a budget you can purchase a less expensive set and buy the Bergeon tips. I bought a set from FINDING KING on Ebay, retapped the clamping screw holes and replaced the screws with small set screws. If you don’t want to do this go ahead and get the Bergeon’s; they work. Dumont tweezers can also get expensive but I found a different set on Ebay called STELLA that was excellent, non magnetic and very inexpensive ($ 30.00 for the set). VIOLA tweezers are also excellent and cost less than DUMONT. DUMONT tweezers are excellent and cost a lot. There is no reason to go overboard with the loupes either. The Bausch and Lomb 5x and Bausch and Lomb 10x double lens are all that you will need to get started. The last items I can think of for a starter kit are a set of inexpensive plastic ring movement holders some pith and cheap bamboo skewers (from the local market).
davidMarch 31, 2013 at 12:46 am #53340
To get an idea of what tools are needed to service a watch just watch Bobs videos and write down what you need as you watch them. It is only through seeing the job done you will get a proper idea of what is needed. There are a million tools out there for watch and clock repair and if you dont do your research you can end up with a lot of stuff that becomes “bench decoration”.
Paul.April 1, 2013 at 9:45 am #53341
Paul is spot on with his post. Get what you need when starting out. You can always get more tools later as your intrests expand and you wish to do more complex repairs down the road. There are many ” Swiss designer label” tools that in my view are overpriced and, in the end, do the same job a less prestigious tool will do. There are also a lot of not so good inexpensive tools out there. I can’t remember the exact price for a set of Bergeon tweezers but it was several hundred dollars. For $ 30.00 a set, STELLA tweezers are beautifully made and pick up small watch parts. There are Swiss designer label loupes that cost hundreds of dollars but the Bausch & Lomb loupes are just fine.
In addition to watching Bob’s videos there are numerous books available from Ebay and other sources. One of the most useful books, especially when starting out, is PRACTICAL WATCH REPAIRING by Donald de Carle. There are also numerous videos on Youtube showing watch repair.
davidApril 1, 2013 at 2:30 pm #53342willofiamModerator
Just wanted to let David and Paul know that they give great advice and are a wonderful asset to this forum , are you guys brothers???? or twins??? or just really kind and helpful people??? in any case we are blessed with your presence!!!!! THANK YOU…. WilliamApril 1, 2013 at 4:01 pm #53343
Thank you for the kind words. I feel that anybody who puts up a post is an asset to the forum even if they are dead wrong. I would like to see more people posting ideas up here but I feel that many are afraid they are going to be criticised if they offer a different perspective. In my view there is no “correct” way to do something if in the end the result is good. Looking back to my TIME ZONE WATCH SCHOOL days a student wrote in and asked Michael Kalif (the Swiss trained instructor) how to fix a broken pivot. His answer was “purchase the entire balance cock assembly” and simply replace it. From his perspective as a professional watch technicion with 20 plus years in the watch repair industry this was the correct solution as this will have a watch with a broken pivot up and running in about 15 minutes. A professional must maximize profit and minimize time in order to make a living at this. From the perspective of someone who is simply interested in learning about watch repair and restoration (me), it seems like a copout. Because of his Swiss watch school background and certifications, companies like ROLEX will sell parts to him. What do you think ROLEX would tell either of us if we wanted to buy a balance cock assembly from them?
Paul has far more hands on bench experience and many more years doing this than I have. I have a tremendous respect for this and will always consider his perspective even though it is often different than mine. His way of doing things may or may not be the direction I wish to go but it certainly does not mean that I feel his direction is wrong. My background is very different than his and in the end I want to use the procedures and techniques that I feel comfortable with. Your direction may be very different than either of ours but if it works well for you than that is what you should do.
davidApril 1, 2013 at 9:27 pm #53344achipoParticipant
Here’s a second opinion: i bought Bergeron screwdrivers (the $90 set), a top quality pair of #2 and #5 tweezers new, and would recommend doing the same. I also bought a bunch of other stuff ( ~$500 worth) that I wish I’d gotten on eBay. The problem is when starting out you don’t know what you don’t know, so the key is to get a few basics, then keep watching eBay while butchering practice movements to find what you really need and its value.April 2, 2013 at 10:54 am #53345
Well said David!
The diverse backgrounds of people that come to this forum add to the value of it. All too often we think we know the best way or methods to achive something only to be shown differently by someone who is new to horology.
I love this forum, by helping newer members it also helps us to learn and along the way we make new friends and meet like minded people who dont fall into a coma as soon as you start talking about clocks or watches. I think you are right David, I am sure there are members who for one reason or another don’t want to post but I am sure they still learn from this forum and that is what its all about.
Bob told me a while back that he started this forum so there was some support for people after they had watched the videos. This was a great idea on his part and I for one (and I am sure all other forum members) appreciate the time and energy he spends on making sure it works as it should and for answering posts when we get stuck.
I have been on a few other horology forums and they can be a nasty place, safe to say I no longer bother with them, life is to short to be arguing about who makes the best cleaning solution or who uses the best forms of lubrication.
To those of you who read the forums and dont post, please dont ever feel if you do have a question that it is going to receive a bad reply, we all had to start somewhere and please belive me when I say I have asked more than my fair share of “dumb” questions. There is nothing “dumb” about asking a question, it is only dumb if you dont ask
As per what tools to buy, I use the cheapest screwdrivers I can find and stone the tips to the sizes I need, they work for me and one day I will buy better quality. My tweezers are used from e-bay, I had to tidy some of them up to make them serviceable but they work and parts dont fly out of them, well not unless I am being clumsy.
Horology is no different to any other pastime, You get your top notch (usually over priced) equipment, mid range, which is normaly more than adequate, and cheap, which you can take a gamble on and try but it might not come up to scratch. Dont be frightened of buying stuff used, you can then get quality tools at lower prices just because they dont come in wrappers. Do do your research, a guy who teaches me the stuff I cant do thinks that horology books are written by writers and not by horologists. Not true in every case but every now and again I do read stuff that makes me laugh. Dont just read one book and take it as law, just as it is on this forum, there are different views and just beacuse you have read it in black and white dont think it must be right, cross check it with a different author ,and see what they have to say on the subject.
Enough for now, I am sure I am boring everyone rigid!
Paul.April 3, 2013 at 1:53 am #53346
I appreciate all the responses so far… (keep them coming…)
I’m still doing research, but at least have a few more directions to go… I’ll post back with what I ended up with..
Corton1July 27, 2013 at 6:37 pm #53347
Thank you for your suggestions…
Finally have a set of tools to begin with… I ended up getting a set of Eurotool (French) reversible blade screwdrivers… I am not starting out with AP or Rolex watches (first one will either be a Baumgartner 866 or AS 1187/94, as I have spares for both)… so these screwdrivers should suffice for now.
I did get a genuine Jaxa opener (used fleabay), and a new pair of Dumont tweezers (#1)… those items along with (new) a movement holder, covered parts trays, etc. should get me started…
Thanks again for all of your help and suggestions…
Corton1July 28, 2013 at 6:25 am #53348
Very valuable tools not previously mentioned are a digital camera and a pad and pen/pencil, a photograph of something is worth a thousand words and helps if you are not sure you are going to remember how something goes back together. On things I am unfamiliar with I take pictures as it comes apart and will also make notes, it saves a lot of heartache when you put the thing back together and find you have stuff left over!
Good luck and let us know how it goes.
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