Being a professional watchmaker requires a set of watch repair tools to correctly take care of all the tasks you will face while on the bench. Whether it is simply changing a watch band, the watch battery or servicing a watch, you will need the proper tools.
However, if you are a beginner looking for some watch repair tool kits to perform basic operations, this article will also be useful. You may also be looking for the right teacher, in that case we recommend to get a course from No BS Watchmaker, one of the most recognized instructors out there. This might lead to a career change!
All the watch repair tools a watchmaker will ever need
Like with most choices, there is a cheap option and a more expensive one. The cheap option would be to go for one of those inexpensive watch repair kits. While this can help you getting started, you will end up realizing at some point that you need to upgrade your tools.
In this article, we will rather focus on more higher grade watch repair tools. This definitely represents a budget, but there isn’t really something in between. There is one brand that is highly praised for watchmaker tools, it is Bergeon & Cie.
Bergeon was established in 1791 in Switzerland and have become the benchmark in the watch industry for tools to manufacture, adjust and repair watches. If you visit a watch manufacture of any brand, you will see most watchmakers using Bergeon Swiss made watch tools.
For that reason, you won’t be surprised to find a lot of Bergeon tools in our watchmaker tool kit recommendations. All those tools have they own numeral references, quite similarly to what you would find with watch references!
Such a list could be endless, we have included what we believe are the must-haves for all watchmakers. Feel free to add your own favorite tools in the comment section below.
If you are in a hurry, you can head directly to this Amazon list including all the watch repair tools detailed below but we would highly recommend reading the article before ordering.
Building a complete watchmaker tool kit
Start with a loupe. A lot of watchmakers enjoy the classic Bergeon 2611-TN loupe (don’t forget the wire holder!), while others prefer using an OptiVisor Headband Magnifier. Usually you don’t perform the same type of work so you could get both.
Get a knife case opener such as the Bergeon 4932 for snap-on watch case backs usually found on vintage watches. Cautiously place the blade in the space found on the side of the case and press it firmly until you feel the blade going under the back. Move the knife up and down to remove the back.
You will need a watch case opener for screw back watches. The Bergeon 2533 is made of rubber to avoid scratching cases or crystals and providing safety. You just need to place the tool above the watch back, press down to create suction and twist to unscrew the back off. This tool is perfect for waterproof watches with their screw back cases.
A less fancy option would be the Bergeon 8008 Rubber Ball.
A spring bar tool is a must to replace straps. The most trusted one is the Bergeon 6767-F. Again, there are cheaper options but going for higher quality will minimize the time spent removing spring bars. This then reduces the risk of scratching a watch.
Sometimes the head length of the spring bar tool won’t be enough. You need to get a pin remover such as the Bergeon 7230.
With a watch holder, such as the Bergeon 4040, you will be able to secure hold the watch while working on it.
A high-quality crystal lift is required for replacing crystals. Here as well, we recommend taking something high grade such as the Bergeon 4266 Crystal Lift unless your intent is to destroy all the crystals you can.
A set of screwdrivers is mandatory. You can either start with a Bergeon 6899-P05 set of 5 or spend more with the Bergeon 55-614 and its luxurious box. Another good set is the Bergeon 55-603 on its rotating stand, really conveniant on the work bench. Also pick a set of non magnetic tweezers.
Depending on the desired viscosity for each component, you will need different kinds of watch oils. However, to get you started you can go with the Moebius synthetic oil 9010. While you’re at it, you can pick a watch oiler set.
For cleaning parts, you will need a good ultrasonic cleaner like the Quantrex Q140 Ultrasonic with timer and heater.
Use some Bergeon 7033 Rodico for cleaning wheels and removing fingerprints from plates, bridges etc. and also for removing superfluous oil from jewels. There are so many ways of using Rodico. Speaking of cleaning, you will also need a Selvyt cloth.
We previously discussed the negative effects of magnetism on a watch. You will therefore also need a proper demagnetizer. Plug it in and place the watch on top the demagnetizer. Simply press the button and after 10 seconds remove the watch before releasing the button.
A timegrapher is a central piece for any watchmaker. There are many references available on the market, the Weishi 1000 is a good starting point and the MTG-9900A would be a more advanced option which also includes a printer.
Often forgotten, a digital caliper is such a useful tool. This will allow you to measure all sorts of things with your watch such as the exact lug width, diameter or thickness.
A UV flashlight is also a great little tool that you can use to check the lume on vintage watches.
For those interested to learn the craft of watchmaking and watch repairing, again we recommend taking a course from No BS Watchmaker, but also reading books such as The Joseph Bulova School of Watchmaking Training Manual or Practical Watch Repairing which are considered as bibles!
If you are a beginner, it is very important that you do not start with a watch that you like. The first one will always be ruined. We rather advise you to start with a non-working but nice antique pocket watch. The movements and the parts will be bigger making it easier but the principles remain the same.
A good pocket watch movement to start would be the ETA 6497 or its cheaper Chinese equivalent, the Seagull ST3600. If you are feeling more confident, you can try a normally sized movement with the Sellita SW210-1 Movement.
Now if you have read all along, we have included a gift with a link including all the items listed above for you to shop directly on Amazon. Please review the items before ordering as it includes all options, you might not need to add to cart two timegraphers!
If you were here to find a quick simple gift for a watch geek, the Bergeon 7812 is an 18 pieces tool set, perfect for carrying out minor repairs on your watches.
It will be useful to open watch cases, replace watch batteries along with all you need to size, install and remove bracelets like a link remover. It comes with a carrying case which is always convenient.
Final pro tip: get yourself a label maker! They are cheap and will help you remain organized.
By now you should be all set, time to fix some watches!