Should I start repairing watches?

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  • #47952
    silverbackmg
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    • Topics Started: 3
    • Total Posts: 7

    I started repairing watches about 3 years ago. I began repairing my own collection. Just little things here and there. New crystals, stems, crowns. About a year ago, I became 100% disabled due to a tank accident in the US Army. I was trying to find something for my hands and mind to do. I considered jewelry repair. I decided on watch repair and then went into clock repair. I have been doing this for 9 months now. The first thing that you should do is get a few cheap pocket watches either off the computer or out of the dresser drawer. I went to a few pawn shops and was given two shoe boxes full of pocket and wrist watches. I went to town trying to fix every single one of them. I gave watches to everyone in the family. Getting a few basic tools was second and Tascione Watch repair videos was next. I was consumed with watch repair.
    Tools-You will need a good set of Bergeron Screwdrivers, a movement holder and two or three pair of Dumont tweezers. I have tried off brand screwdrivers and tweezers. First turn with a screwdriver and the blade either twists or breaks. A few sources for tools are: Uncle Larry’s Watch Shop, Cas-ker, Merritt’s, Murrays, Livesay’s, and otto frei. Get the Bergeron set of 9 with the rotating stand. Dumont 6C tweezers, and an adjustable movement holder. You will figure out very quickly if this is for you. I have a full blown set of tools now. It won’t take long for you to know what tools to buy next.
    The instructional videos are, without question, the best tool that I bought. I started with a Illinois 12s, 17jewel pocket watch. I took it apart and put it back together about 4 times. I happened upon two old watchmakers near my town. One is 83 and the other 86. They were so pleased when I contacted them and went by to visit. One has the most unbelievable clock and watch shop that you could imagine. Every tool at arms length. He gave me two lathes, one Boley and one Levin 8mm lathe. I went home with hand removers, movement holders, gravers, hand broaches, set of bestfit books, books books and more books, etc… The next tool that I bought was a K&D Inverto 600C staking set (invaluable tool). Complete with all stumps and punches. A cleaning machine(L&R), eye Loups 4x, 6x and 10x. A lamp, brass hammer, pliers set, case back openers, mainspring winders, on and on. I then started on clocks.
    Watch repair is so satisfying to the mind. When an old watch comes back to life it is such a thrill. As you all can see, I am totally hooked. If you have any questions at all, please email me. If I cannot answer a question, I will find the answer. Bob was great about taking my calls and calling me back. I think I bothered the stew out of him. I now have a shop beside my house. In one week, I brough in $520.00. I have no signs out yet, I put an add in the paper after I was confortable with repair. Remember to not take on a job that you are not comfortable with. Take it from me, you can really get yourself in a bind.
    One thing to remember is to practice, practice and practice with staffing and hairspring work. The balance is a delicate little part but don’t be afraid. It gets easier. I found that most problems are broken staff, mainspring or pivots, cracked jewels can be challenging. Wade in the water slowly. One thing that I have found is that a broken pivot stuck inside of a jewel can cost you lots of time. Check each jewel and pivot closely. Be careful not to break those pivots when putting the bridge plates back on. You can do it.

    Good Luck, Ric

    #50257
    les458
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 9
    • Total Posts: 22

    Hello Ric, So glad you have found your niche in Watches & Clocks; I too was looking for something to
    Keep the old brain box on the alert, I found Bob Tascione, s courses, I have only been at it for a few months,
    But I wish I had started years ago, it’s a fascinating subject , unfortunately I’m a bit long in the tooth now to
    Start paying out big money for some of the tools, I shall be 81yrs this year, you where very lucky to have picked up the lathes, I don’t think there are any watchmakers left here, over on this side of the pond they want big money for them, old watches not working are going for all sorts of fancy prices, so I have got to be a bit choosey, anyway glad to have made your acquaintance even if it is only by cyberspace, Wish you Well in your new endeavour, All The Best Les

    #50258
    Bob Tascione
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 38
    • Total Posts: 1553

    Hi Ric,
    Happy to hear you’re doing so well. All excellent advise! I remember talking with you about your watchmaker friends and how fortunate you were to have found them. It’s good to know that there are still some great, super knowledgeable watchmakers out there who enjoy passing on their knowledge (and also in your case…their tools) to the rest of us.
    Also…your calls didn’t bother me at all. Your enthusiasm and energy on the phone and on the forum is contagious and I enjoy that.

    Bob

    #50259
    zach
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 1
    • Total Posts: 5

    Your story is quite motivational thank you for posting it. I too am trying to begin a career in watchmaking. While I am only 17 as of about a week ago I have great ambitions for my future in watchmaking. My genuine fascination with watches drew me in now it is my passion. I have been at it for about four months but after reading outdated books that were hard to find. I stumbled upon Bob’s videos now I have a bit more confidence and a lot more knowledge. I must say you got really lucky finding those watchmakers. I contacted one in my area but he has not emailed me back. I live next to Houston so theyre are watchmakers about in my parts. But they are mostly hardcore business men not wanting to bother with apprenticing a kid. I will continue my search for a master to take me under his wing but for now I will keep on learning on my own.

    Thanks Ric stay well and good luck with everything!

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silverbackmgShould I start repairing watches?