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  1. #11
    Member chévere's Avatar
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    Re: Getting Started: Guide to Watchmaking Tools

    This was a huge help. I just ordered myself some A-F screwdrivers and tweezers. I look forward to seeing your setup and tools.
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  2. #12
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    Re: Getting Started: Guide to Watchmaking Tools

    Subscribing

    I just ordered a basic set of tools. I have two focuses in mind:

    1. Inspect new acquisitions (auction watches).

    2. Between the wife and I, we still have 5-6 quartz watches. I would like to be able to do the batteries and very basic inspection/maintenance myself.

    3... WAY down the road, I would like to learn cleaning and oiling. I mean waaaaaaaaaay down the road. Baby steps. It will be YEARS before I think of tinkering with one of my autos.

    Thanks for the great thread!

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    Picture Re: Getting Started: Guide to Watchmaking Tools

    Ok guys and gals, time for some pictures.

    Let's start with the basics. I strongly believe that having a proper work space is critical for watchmaking. When I was starting out, my back used to hurt from hunching over the movement. Fortunately, this desk is as close to the real thing as can be without breaking your wallet (especially if you don't have to pay for shipping. ). Unfortunately, these desks' finish may be very inconsistent, but mostly on non-work surfaces. Not great aesthetically. O. Frei lady had to open 3 boxes for me so that I could choose the best. If you order one and can't personally select, ask them to check it before shipping.

    The lamp (on picture 2) was bought in IKEA. You need light to work! Also, take a look at covered part trays. These are inexpensive and excellent.
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    Last edited by vbomega; May 23rd, 2012 at 20:00.
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  4. #14
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    Picture Re: Getting Started: Guide to Watchmaking Tools

    Movement holders. As I stated earlier, Bergeon 4040 is what I use. Mine is slightly more expensive (plastic). It is durable, and holds movements up to 13 ligne (or maybe even slightly larger). I find it frustrating at times, but the key is never to have to force anything. If your movement is slipping out of the holder, it is because you are pressing too hard with a tool. DON'T DO THAT.
    I also purchase a cheap large movement holder, which is convenient for casework and for, eh, large movements. For a few bucks I paid for it, it is more than adequate.
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    Picture Re: Getting Started: Guide to Watchmaking Tools

    Loupes and headband. Mandatory! B&L 4x is fine, and 10x is adequate. If you want to treat yourself to a much nicer (but still not a top-of-the-line), buy a Horotec 10x.
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  6. #16
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    Picture Re: Getting Started: Guide to Watchmaking Tools

    Tweeeezers! So the 2 main styles are 2 and 5. Just get Dumont Dumoxel and move on. Don't bother with Chinese/Indian stuff. For serious work you need excellent tweezers, and Dumont is generally considered to be industry standard. I absolutely love them, and even bought 2 more - one brass and one #5 Dumostar, which is very expensive, but gives me the "feel" I was looking for. I still use both #5 style tweezers I have. Also look at the picture comparing a Chinese-made Vetus "Style 5" and the real thing. You can see the difference. I can't use Vetus #5 for taking apart shock protection devices, it is too thick! You get what you pay for.Name:  Dumont Tweezers.jpg
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  7. #17
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    Re: Getting Started: Guide to Watchmaking Tools

    One thing I would say is not to give up on the idea of getting a watchmakers bench.

    When I started out working on watches, I QUICKLY realized that I could not work hunched over at the table in a standard chair. There was no way to see and work at the same time. I took the opposite approach from vbomega's - instead of raising the work, I lowered the worker. I used an old ottoman to sit on which placed the table top at mid-chest height. This made all the difference! But I had to clear off my work area periodically for dinners, and there were many other issues.

    One day, completely on a whim, I searched the local Craigs List for 'Watchmaker Desk', and by golly, THERE WAS ONE!



    We went and got it for only $265 - way less than the price new from Frei!. But it needed to be refinished to achieve Spousal Acceptance. It had been badly re-stained and refinished. Darn thing looked like it had been in a fire!



    With that done, it has taken its place in the living area, and I no longer have to worry about things getting pushed off the edge when the kids clear the table for dinner!



    EDIT: Oh, and most of the things that vbomega recommends can be found used for cheaper than Frei charges, if you're willing to search, and wait. Everything except, oddly enough, screwdrivers. I still have to get me a good set of AF Switzerlands for the smaller sizes - the bigger ones only get used once during disassembly and once during reassembly at most.
    Last edited by GeneJockey; May 23rd, 2012 at 21:18.
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  8. #18
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    Picture Re: Getting Started: Guide to Watchmaking Tools

    Lovely bench.

    Ok, moving on to screwdrivers. What I was just starting out I didn't want to buy uber-expensive screwdrivers, but to get a set that would be reasonably priced and satisfy my needs for a long time. I still believe that I made the right choice with AF Switzerland. There are nicer choices out there, but unless you are a professional you probably won't need anything else. I bought 1 Horotec screwdriver recently to check them out. It is nicer made, and I like it a lot, but I am not limited by AF Switzerland in any way. So...


    I do prefer the Horotec blades though. They are compatible with AF S, and well worth the extra $.
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  9. #19
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    Re: Getting Started: Guide to Watchmaking Tools

    Quote Originally Posted by GeneJockey View Post
    ...most of the things that vbomega recommends can be found used for cheaper than Frei charges, if you're willing to search, and wait. ....
    Indeed. In fact, certain tools should be bought used, like a staking set and mainspring winders. The caveat is that you need certain watchmaking experience to be able to buy the right stuff in adequate condition. I remember buying inexpensive mainspring winders without knowing that hooks may just not be there anymore after decades of use. You live, you learn. I just prefer to learn watchmaking with a basic set of quality tools. I don't think you would save much by buying used tools a la carte and paying separate shipping charges and deal with potential problems. But I would leave this decision to the readers.

    Either way, happy watchmaking!
    Last edited by vbomega; May 23rd, 2012 at 22:42.

  10. #20
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    Picture Re: Getting Started: Guide to Watchmaking Tools

    And finally (for today), a Crystal Lift! It is needed for removing/replacing crystals on mostly vintage watches with plastic crystals. It will be your only option to access the movement in certain watches. Pictured here is the Anchor lift, made in India. Seems to work well.
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