A well-equipped workshop is really important for the repair and restoration of watches. Special tools are needed for many tasks. I have a comprehensive set of hand tools and equipment set up in two workshops so that I can work efficiently. Below are some examples of the equipment that I am able to use when repairing or restoring a watch.
A well set up bench is probably the most important tool for a watchmaker. My bench is adjustable for height so I can reposition it for different tasks. The padded arm rests make it much easier to work on watch movements, providing both comfort and a consistent working position.
I use this zoom stereo microscope for a range of tasks including oiling and hairspring manipulation. The microscope has its own illumination source providing excellent visibility when inspecting or adjusting a movement.
A watch timer is really important for diagnosing faults and accurately regulating a watch. Mine is a an e-timer sold by Delph Electronics. It is a fantastic piece of kit and provides a readout which is similar to the old paper-based timers.
Opening watch cases without damaging them is much more difficult than it sounds and a range of case opening tools are needed. Pictured here is a Bergeon opener for screwback cases. Bergeon produce tools of the highest quality and I use this case opener an awful lot.
This is an example of a specialist tool that is needed. It is a micrometer specially designed for measuring the dimensions of balance staffs. Balance staffs are commonly broken if a watch is dropped or mishandled. If this happens to an old pocket watch then it will probably be necessary to make a new staff by hand. Dimensions of the original staff are needed, and this tool allows very accurate measurement of critically important dimensions.
This is my favourite piece of equipment. It is a lovely (second hand) Star Geneva-type lathe. It is used for a multitude of tasks, including making balance staffs, bushes and replacing broken jewels.
To fully utilise a watchmaker's lathe a range of accessories are needed. I have accumulated these accessories over many years, mainly from auctions and ebay. This is much more cost effective than buying phenomenally expensive new accessories.
Quartz watch tester
This is the quartz-equivalent of the e-timer used for mechanical watches and is used to diagnose faults of electronic modules in quartz watches.
Pictured here are ultrasonic and mechanical cleaning machines. I use the one on the left for cases and bracelets. The ultrasonic cleaner in the middle is used only for pre-cleaning movements before they are placed in the trusty Elma watch cleaner on the right. The cleaner allows you to clean, rinse and dry watch parts before assembly. The combination of ultrasonic pre-cleaning followed by use of the Elma provides fantastic cleaning power.
Polishing and lapping
If a case requires refurbishing then a polishing machine is needed. This is a variable speed Ray Foster machine made in the USA (a supplier of dental equipment). The superb quality of the machine makes polishing a pleasure. The left side is used for polishing and the right side has a lapping disk for polishing flat surfaces.
This is an image of some of the mainsprings that I stock. There are some great suppliers of watch material (e.g. Cousins, Jules Borel, Northern Watch Parts) but it is good to have a selection of commonly used material available in the workshop. A watchmaker can never have enough mainsprings!