Watch Repair Tools You Need to Do Easy Repairs (Complete Guide)
18th July 2021
Watchmaking is a fascinating form of art. But at the end of the day, we must remember that our timepieces are basically machinery, and just like any mechanism, require maintenance and occasional repairs.
Watch repair is a fairly vast study on its own but can be an incredibly rewarding and satisfying experience. It’s not always necessary to go to a watchmaker to fix a malfunctioning watch. Sometimes, we gotta let curiosity guide and educate us. Once we understand the basics of how a movement works, all we require are the tools to get the job done.
Getting interested in the field of watch repair? Or just want to dip your toes in it as a result of curiosity and interest? Or do you prefer to perform basic maintenance on your watch by yourself? Do check out our list of essential watch repair tools that can help you get going!
The tools you would require to get started would be
1. The Eye Loupe
What is a Loupe?
A loupe is a small magnifying glass used by watchmakers to observe intricate details like the minuscule parts of a watch movement.
What is the Loupe used for?
Loupes are a necessity when it comes to watch repair as sometimes, certain parts of a watch like screws and jewels can be too small to keep track of with the naked eye. Also, they make the process of diagnosing a watch movement much easier.
What are the different types of Loupes?
Loupes come in all kinds of magnification ranges. But we would require 2 main types. One with a standard magnification of x3 or x4 for general work such as overview, assembly & disassembly of the movement and another with a higher magnification like x10 or x12 for more intensive diagnosis or working with smaller parts such as jewels, extremely small gears, and pivots.
It’s advisable to get a loupe with a higher focal point as it allows you to work at a longer distance, making it more convenient and easier for your eyes.
When and how should Loupes be used?
The loupe is worn like a monocle, gripped by the muscles around the eye, to ensure hands-free magnified vision. This allows the watchmaker to use both hands to work on the movement.
Which brands of Loupes are the best?
Many brands manufacture Loupes. Examples are Bergeon, Horotec, Bausch & Lomb, AF, etc. But it’s widely recommended to choose a high-quality Loupe and never cut costs. It’s an investment that can last a lifetime. Horotec is a great choice, but one can never go wrong with Bergeon. They are Switzerland’s most well-known and well-established toolmakers in this department.
Loupes at the best prices:
Bergeon Biconvex Air 3.0 (x3.3) $33 – Buy at Amazon
Bergeon 1458-A-12 (x12) $39 – Buy at Amazon
2. The Spring Bar Tool
What is a Spring Bar Tool?
Spring Bar Tool is a tool with a forked end, used for releasing the spring bar from the lugs of a watch to change the strap.
What’s the Spring Bar Tool used for?
Spring Bar Tool is a tool anyone can obtain and use because it has a very basic and practical purpose. It can be tempting to use alternatives to remove the spring bar, but this tool is recommended because it ensures we get a good grip on the spring bar and remove it properly without scratching or causing damage to the case and lugs. This is important, especially for high-end watches.
What are the types of Spring Bar Tools?
The spring bar tool usually comes as a combination of either multiple ones with a single forked end or as one where both the ends have forks of different sizes for different types of spring bars.
How are Spring Bar Tools used?
The watch must be turned around to expose the lugs and the spring bar. The fork of the tool must be used to catch the grooves on the spring bar and when it is slid out, the spring bar comes off, along with the strap. In case the watch has drilled lugs, the sharp end of the tool can be inserted into the hole to release the spring bars.
Which brands of Spring Bar Tools are the best?
It’s always recommended to purchase high-quality spring bar tools. It’s because, in a lower quality piece, the small forks can get distorted easily, rendering the tool useless. As a result, we recommend high-quality, Swiss-made Bergeon spring bar tools.
Spring Bar Tools at the best prices:
Bergeon Springbar Tool 6767-F $28 – Buy at Amazon
3. Movement Holders
What is a movement holder?
A movement holder is a tool that holds the movement in place while you work on it.
What are the different types of movement holders?
They come in different sizes depending on the sizes of the movements to be worked on. But they are fairly universal overall. Exceptions are there for some specific movements which require specific types of holders.
How is a movement holder used?
The movement is wedged onto the holder by adaptable screw threads.
Which brands for Movement Holders are the best?
For movements that require a specific holder of their own, we recommend Horotec because they’re more affordable. But for universal sizes, Bergeon is the better option due to its slightly higher quality.
Movement holders at best prices:
Bergeon Movement Holder 4040-P $37 – Buy at Amazon
4. Case openers – The Jaxa Tool & The Case Knife
What are case openers?
To get to the movement, we have to open the case. If the watch has a snap-on case back, we use a case knife and if it has a screw-on case back, we use a Jaxa tool.
How are case openers used?
The case knife is a thin and sharp knife that can easily slide into the opening gap between the case back and the watch case to pop out the case back. The Jaxa tool latches onto the grips on the case back to help turn the case back counterclockwise to remove it and clockwise to fit it back.
What are the different types of case openers and the best brands?
The Jaxa tool comes in multiple sizes, but it’s advisable to get a more universal size from a high-quality brand. The case knife is made by a variety of manufacturers such as Victorinox, Bergeon, etc.
Case openers at the best prices:
L-G Jaxa Tool 2819-08 $88 – Buy at Amazon
Bergeon 4932 Case Knife $37 – Buy at Amazon
5. The Blower
What is a Blower?
A blower is a tool in the form of a rubber bulb or a plunger that is used to blow off the dust from a movement or the exposed dial.
When and how are Blowers used?
The blower is to be utilized whenever the movement or the dial is exposed. It’s used by pressing the rubber bulb to blow away any minute particles from the movement or the dial that can cause issues later on.
What are the types and best brands for Blowers?
There are many cheap blowers out there, due to the virtue of being made of rubber. But getting a high-quality one is better. As the saying goes; “Buy nice or buy twice”. Also, it’s better for the environment if we reduce waste by getting higher quality products, such as a Bergeon Blower.
The best blower at the best prices:
Bergeon 4657 Blower $35 – Buy at Amazon
6. The Hand Lifters & The Clear Dial Protector.
What are Hand Lifters and Clear Dial Protectors?
Hand lifters are a pair of tools used to remove the hands from the watch face. They also come as a single tool that does the job. The clear dial protector ensures a smoother removal process and no damage to the dial.
How do they work?
Hand lifters are 2 wedges that operate from either side to gently prise off the hands from the watch. The dial protector is a thin sheet that cushions the process and protects the dial
How are they used?
Firstly, all 3 hands are aligned together. Then, the protector is laid on them. Then, the lifters are used to gently pop out the hands
Which are the best types and brands?
We must never skimp on the quality of the lifters because the hands are fragile units that can be damaged easily. Bergeon makes dial protectors in multiple sets, while there are a large number of affordable manufacturers for hand lifters.
Best Hand Lifters and Dial Protectors at the best prices:
Bergeon Dial Protector 6938 (Set of 3) $11 – Buy at Amazon
FILFEEL Compression Spring Hand Remover Tool $8 – Buy at Amazon
7. The Set Of Screwdrivers
What are Watchmaker’s Screwdrivers?
The watch movement is an intricate mechanism held together with a large number of screws. To disassemble the movement, a good set of screwdrivers are paramount.
What are the types of Screwdrivers?
A high-quality set of screwdrivers are an asset that’ll easily last a lifetime. Screwdrivers must be had in multiple sizes to cater to the multiple sizes of screws used in various areas of a watch movement.
Which are the best brands?
The best brands for high-quality screwdrivers are Bergeon, AF & Horotec.
Best Screwdrivers at the best prices:
Bergeon 6899-P05 Set of 5 Screwdrivers $87 – Buy at Amazon
8. The Tweezers
What are Watchmaker’s Tweezers?
Once we undo the screws with the screwdrivers, we require a good set of tweezers to handle them. Not just screws, but every part of the movement. The smaller the part, the finer the tweezer has to be.
What are the different types and brands of Tweezers?
It’s recommended to get multiple sizes and styles of tweezers as different parts require different methods of handling. The best brands are Bergeon, AF, Horotec and Dumont. But there are many affordable alternatives.
Affordable Tweezers at the best price:
SE Professional Quality Non-Magnetic Tweezers Set with Wooden Storage Box (6 PC.) – TW-6WB $17 – Buy at Amazon
9. Pegwood & Putty
What is Pegwood & Putty?
Once a watch is disassembled, the parts require cleaning. Pegwood is a small hardwood stick that happens to have a very consistent grain, making it effective in cleaning out watch parts, pivots, and holes of the movement.
The Putty being referred to here is Bergeon’s trademark Rodico. It’s a substance with multiple uses.
How to use Pegwood & Putty?
The Peg Wood is a thin dowel that is sharpened like a pencil with a knife to reach into areas like grooves and holes to clean them.
The Bergeon Putty is used to clean movements and parts, remove fingerprints, and even act as a grippy holder for delicate components.
The best brands and prices:
Meipa Time Watchmakers Pegwood Bundle $5 – Buy at Amazon
Bergeon Rodico 6033 $12 – Buy at Amazon
What is Polywatch?
Polywatch is a polishing compound for watch crystals. It has micro-diamond particles that allow it to be used on acrylic crystals especially.
When and where is Polywatch used?
Polywatch is ideal for vintage pieces as well as iconic timepieces like the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch with the Hesalite crystal.
Some of us dislike scratches on our watch crystals and want to keep the new feel for a long time. For that, Polywatch is a great choice.
How is Polywatch used?
Just take a little amount on a microfiber cloth and rub it around the crystal in small circles to polish out any scratches.
Polywatch at the best prices:
Polywatch $7 – Buy at Amazon
11. Cape Cod Metal Polishing Cloths
What are Cape Cod Metal Polishing Cloths?
There are some of us who like to maintain our watch cases completely spotless and free of scratches. For that, the Cape Cod Metal Polishing Cloth is a great tool.
It’s a piece of cloth, saturated with a special metallic polishing agent that comes sealed in small bags.
What are the different kinds?
While in essence, it’s the same product, they do come in a variety of buying options, like a single pouch of one, 6 in one, or a full, classical styled tin with a massive supply.
How is it used?
It’s used by rubbing the cloth on the case evenly in small circles till the scratches disappear. Mind you, it’s to be used sparingly because it’s fairly strong.
When is it used?
This is a great tool for restoring vintage watches to pristine conditions, even though admittedly, some of us prefer a few scratches or a few marks of existence. But it’s a personal choice. It can also be used occasionally on our everyday timepiece as a way to keep it looking fresh. But again, not too much.
The Cape Cod Metal Polishing Cloths at the best prices:
Cape Cod Metal Polishing Cloths (Case of 6) $26 – Buy at Amazon
12. Lubrication: Oils, Oil Pots & Oilers
What are Oils, Oil Pots, and Oilers?
A watch requires lubrication to function smoothly and accurately with minimum wear and tear. Thus, watch oil is essential for a healthy movement. Watch oil happens to be extremely low in viscosity to allow the extremely small parts to function properly. An oil pot is used to store small amounts of this oil to be used readily while keeping it contamination-free. An oiler is a small tool with a needle whose end has a small pocket that picks a small amount of oil from the pot and deposits it in the part of the watch that requires oil, like the jewels for example.
What are the best brands?
When it comes to watching oils, the most widely used brand is Moebius from Germany. For oil pots, the brand doesn’t matter too much. They just have to do the job of holding oil properly. For oilers, we can resort to Bergeon because they have a fairly affordable set of plastic oilers that are of good quality.
Oils, Oil Pots, and Oilers at the best prices:
Watch Oil (Moebius)
- YUYTE Watch Oil Pot & Cleaner $29 – Buy at Amazon
- Bergeon Oilers (Set of 4) $19 – Buy at Amazon
Initially looking at a movement can be pretty daunting, especially when you see all the tiny, intricate parts and acknowledge the fact that master watchmakers know where each one of these parts goes. But that’s the beauty of it. When we put effort to learn about the way these work, the rewards can be massive and satisfying. Hopefully, with these tools, you too can indulge in a hobby known not to too many, but prized by all who do