17 Crucial Watch Tools Every Watch Enthusiast & Watchmaker Needs
Are you a watchmaker, watch enthusiast, or just a collector looking to learn more about watchmaking and the inner workings of a watch.
The art of watchmaking is extremely interesting. A watch can often consist of hundreds of parts, and these parts are then assembled with extreme precision, creating a functioning movement.
But whether you are aspiring to become a professional watchmaker, or just want to learn more, knowing a thing or two about watchmaking and how to handle watches can come really handy.
This also includes more simple things such as replacing the battery, changing the strap, adjusting the bracelet, polishing the case, and so on.
Regardless of what your aspirations and goals with watchmaking is, you need to have the right tools for the job. There are many different watchmaking tools out there that are made for various usage areas. Of course, if you are just starting out, you don’t need to invest in every single watchmaking tool out there. You can begin with the most commonly used tools, and then continue to build on this.
To help you get started, we have listed the most common and necessary watchmaking tools you need. As you go, you will get a sense of what additional tools you may need to add, but all of these tools in this list will be more than enough in the beginning.
Top watch tools you need
A loupe is an important watch tool that everyone needs. A loupe helps you see small details of a watch up close, and most importantly makes it easier to work on them.
When working on a watch, you need a loupe so you can handle all the small details and parts with the required precision. The most common loupe type is a small and round loupe that can be placed in the eye. Normally, watchmakers also add a headband in order to keep the watch steady at the eye and to be able to work with both hands free. Different loupes have different magnifications. 10X is common, but for smaller parts and details, an even more magnifying loupe may be necessary.
Screwdrivers (of many different sizes)
Screwdrivers are probably the most important tool when working with watches. Most aspects require screwdrivers, so make sure you have the necessary ones. You will need screwdrivers of different sizes so you can work on different watches and screws. There are screwdrivers of all qualities, but we would advise not to choose the cheapest ones. The issue with these is that the top tends to change shape and can also risk breaking. These lower-quality screwdrivers will ultimately increase the risk of slipping and potentially damaging the watch.
A good tip is to buy a set of screwdrivers. This will give you a wide variety of screwdrivers of the most common sizes you may need. It can also come in handy to buy screwdrivers with interchangeable tips. But again, if you buy low-quality screwdrivers, there’s not much point in buying ones that are replaceable as the screwdrivers themselves may break as well.
Tweezers are necessary for many different tasks when working on a watch, including removing or moving watch parts.
There are many different tweezers to choose from. Cheaper ones have a greater risk of damaging and scratching the movement or watch, so it may be worth investing in a better one here. A tip is also to buy antimagnetic tweezers so they don’t magnetize the watch you are working with.
Case back openers
A case back opener is necessary to access the watch and its parts. Most watches either have a screw-down case back or a ”pop-down” case back.
To get access to the movement, you need t remove the case back. Since there are two common case backs, it is advised to have the tools for both.
The most simple and easy-to-use case back opener is a rubber ball with which you simply apply pressure against the case back and then unscrew it. There are also other more advanced tools for doing this.
For pop-down case backs, you need to pop open the back. These are slightly more difficult to work with as it means you have to bend open the back. In doing this, it is important that you are careful so you are not damaging the case back. There are several different case back knifes you can use to remove the back. Be careful, and don’t bend harder than necessary.
An ultrasonic cleaner is something all watch enthusiasts should have in their possession. Not only people who work with watches professionally.
Ultrasonic cleaning is the most effective way to clean a watch, primarily the bracelet.
Now, we want to emphasize that you should not put the whole watch in the ultrasonic cleaner when functioning. You should put the bracelet, or the watch completely disassembled inside, with the exception of some sensitive parts.
An ultrasonic cleaner really cleans in-depth and accesses places that may be difficult to access with a brush.
Professional watchmakers use ultrasonic cleaners to clean watches and the movement when servicing it.
Note: if you are just getting started, you’ll probably be fine with just a regular ultrasonic cleaner. However, if you want more professional tools and equipment, it can be good to know that there are more advanced cleaners made specifically for watches – simply called watch cleaning machine
These generally have different cleaning chambers and sometimes a drying chamber, for cleaning of different parts.
Spring Bar tool
A spring bar tool is a necessary tool for any watch enthusiast and watch owner. Spring bar tools are used to remove the spring bars of the watch, attached to the lugs, in order to remove the strap or bracelet. The spring bars are, as the name suggests, springs inside bars that are retractable when compressed. With a spring bar tool, you can easily access these spring bars and remove or insert them.
There are different spring bar tools you can use. The most basic is the pen-shaped spring bar tool. These work, but they increase the risk of scratching the inside of the lugs. We advise you to opt for a tweezer-style spring bar tool which minimizes the risk of scratches or slipping.
With a timegrapher, you check the performance and accuracy of a movement. This machine is really helpful for many different purposes. Not to mention in order to check if a watch is performing well or if it is in need of a service. But a timegrapher is also helpful if you have just serviced a watch so you know if you have done a good job or if it needs to be adjusted or regulated.
A timegrapher gives information about: the amplitude, the beat rate, and the beat error.
The more expensive timegrapher you choose, the more information it will be able to display (generally speaking). It will also be able to measure the watch more accurately.
Watch tool kit
Now, we have already discussed some tools above, many of which are included in a watch tool kit. But the fact is that a watch tool kit can be a great start to any watch enthusiast’s tools. A watch tool kit includes much of what you need when getting started.
The catch is that overall, watch tool kits tend to be cheap, and made for beginners, hence the tools included tend to be of lower quality. But don’t worry, there are also better and higher-quality watch tool kits on the market. It’s just our advice that you shouldn’t opt for the cheapest alternative.
Another watch accessory and tool you need is a demagnetizer. One of the biggest enemies of mechanical watches is magnetism. Yes, manufacturers have worked to develop technologies that can withstand magnetism and ensure a watch keeps its accuracy despite being subject to magnetism. But the fact is that magnetism is generally never good for a watch. Of course for the majority of watches which are affected immediately and negatively by magnetism.
The consequence of a magnetized watch is that the hairspring sticks together, thus causing it to lose its accuracy by many seconds or even minutes. This can be solved relatively easily, but it requires a demagnetizer.
Watch demagnetizers are quite cheap and easy to use. Here, they all do the job well, so you don’t have to pay too much attention to the brand. That is, of course, unless you want a more powerful one, as these are often a bit more expensive.
Another tool for watches that can come in handy is a pressure tester.
Of course, you want to check the water-resistance of the watches you own and work with. This is particularly important for dive watches that are meant to come in contact with water. But it is also important for any watch. By pressure-testing watches, you know if the gaskets are applied correctly, and if all of the other parts such as case back and crystal are sealed properly and don’t let in dust or especially water.
As you know, water can be detrimental for a mechanical watch, and therefore, a pressure-tester is a tool that is well worth the investment.
A movement holder is a small but important little accessory that is really handy when working on a watch movement. The movement holder holds the movement safe and secure so it is easier to work on, but also keeps it protected as it may get damaged if you simply place it on a flat surface.
This is a simple yet convenient watch tool. A dust blower, as the name suggests, blows dust away. In the context of watches, it is mainly used for the dial, crystal, and the movement. You should use it before fitting the crystal so you don’t have any dust on the dial.
This is not the most crucial watch tool and accessory you may need, but it can come in handy.
Firstly, if you are just getting started, there is no need to invest in a whole polishing machine. Therefore, you can simply start with polishing cloths.
Polishing cloths are easy to use and can be used for polishing polished surfaces. If you want to give a watch a little refresh, you can polish it with the help of a convenient cloth.
Watchmakers can sometimes be seen using finger cots – gloves for the fingertips. These are important when working on a watch and when you need to use your fingers to touch it.
Finger cots prevent fingerprints and other dirt from the fingers to get stuck on the movement, crystal, or dial, for example.
Oil and lubricants
Oil and lubricants are used for lubricating the movement. Lubrication is crucial for a mechanical movement’s proper functioning, and it reduces the friction of parts that are subject to a lot of friction.
To keep a movement working properly, it needs to be lubricated. Do note that the art of lubricating aa mechanical movement is a difficult one. To get it right, and to keep the watch running for a long time, and doing so accurately, you need to get the oils right. Firstly, you need to know that different oils are needed, and then you need to know that different movements need different much lubrication.
Tools for removing the watch hands
When working on a watch, you need to remove the hands. You need to remove the hands in order to remove the dial of the watch. And to remove the hands, you need a special hand-removal tool. This type of tool helps you remove the hands without damaging them or the dial.
Watch parts and dirt or dust are not best friends and should stay away from each other. To keep the watch parts protected and free from dust, invest in lids and covers where you can place them when you are not working on them.
There are countless of watch tools you need when working on a watch. But it all depends on your ambition and what you are doing. The tools above should be well enough to help you get started, but as you go, you will learn about the tools that you may be missing and that you can complement with further on.
There are basic and generic tools, and there are professional, high-quality tools from manufacturers such as Bergeon, which are dedicated to making watchmaking tools and accessories.
Ultimately, cheaper tools will do the job, but generally not as well as the more premium tools, depending on the type of tool of course.
It is up to you if you wish to invest in high-quality tools with greater quality and precision, or if you want to start with cheaper tools, and then upgrade as you get more skilled.