Ok, so you are interested in learning watch repair. What are the 7 watch repair tools you need as a beginner? You can get overwhelmed by all the tools and options available. What do you buy and what do you need right first.

You definitely don’t need to spend a lot of money on an interest or hobby right off the bat and you don’t need to buy everything at once. By concentrating on just the basic watch repair tools needed to start learning watch repair with, you can see what works for you without breaking the budget.

Watch Repair Tools for Beginners

There is no question the two most important tools that you’re going to need are going to be tweezers and screwdrivers. There’s a million different options as far as tweezers go, so I just want to concentrate on the four most popular styles with the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Tweezers

The first style of tweezer we are going to talk about are the carbon steel. Now just like the name implies, they’re made out of steel, so I typically wouldn’t recommend carbon steel, unless you have a demagnetizer, because then you have to worry about magnetism. The second type of tweezer you’re going to see is going to be stainless steel. Now there is two types of stainless-steel tweezers.

Tweezers are one of the first 7 tools needed for watch repair beginners
Brass and Stainless-Steel Tweezers

There’s the anti-magnetic, which is what you should be using, and there’s the ones that are not. The ones that are not are typically going to be two or three dollars, so when you’re shopping for a set of stainless-steel tweezers, make sure they’re anti-magnetic.

The third type of tweezer is going to be brass. Now I particularly fond of brass for a couple of distinct reasons. The first reason is because brass tweezers is softer than steel, you can handle steel parts without having to worry about scratching them. A pair of brass tweezers could be picked up for a little bit more or about the same price as a pair of stainless steel, you know, about four or five dollars. If there’s a downside to brass is that because the metal is softer than stainless steel or carbon steel, it takes a little more work and you have to be a little bit more careful about the tips to keep them in good shape.

And then you have bronze. Bronze happens to be my tweezer of choice. It won’t scratch steel, but it’s a little bit harder than brass, so it’s easier to maintain the tip. The downside to bronze is that a pair of tweezers like this is going to cost about 50 bucks to 80 dollars, which is a lot for a watch repair tools if you are a beginner. So if you’re brand new to watchmaking, I would definitely recommend that you either invest in a pair of brass or a pair of anti-magnetic stainless-steel tweezers.

Screwdrivers for Watch Repair

 Now there’s a lot of different opinions on what type of screwdriver you need. There’s no doubt that you can get a set of screwdrivers like this for less than 20 bucks. I would probably recommend getting a full set so that you have all the screwdriver sizes, but when starting off your watch repair, you don’t necessarily need a 200-dollar set of screwdrivers.

Watchmaker screwdrivers is one of the first 7 tools needed for watch repair beginners
Basic Screwdrivers & Bergeon Screwdrivers

So, there is a quality difference between the two, let me show you what I’m talking about. One of the big differences is going to be in the quality of the steel on the actual screwdriver tip. Quality screwdrivers are going to have a hardened steel tip, and this means it’s going to be. less likely to get damaged or broken handling screws.

The other big difference between screwdriver manufacturers is how well the screwdriver pivots while you are holding it. This is typically how you would hold a screwdriver, with your finger on the top, pushing down and twisting to unscrew the screw.

Higher quality screwdrivers just feel a lot smoother in your hand. Just remember, when picking out the two most important tools you’re going to be using, in the beginning it doesn’t matter so much about the quality, what really matters is that you’re able to sharpen the tips of the screwdrivers and the tips of the tweezers so that they are in the best possible condition.

A set of 20-dollar screwdrivers with perfectly sharpened tips will work for you better thana set of 200 dollar screwdrivers with jacked up tips.

Sharpening Stone

 The next tool you’re going to need is a sharpening stone. This is often overlooked as one of the first watch repair tools for beginners, but to me is very importent.

A screwdriver sharpening Jig is one of the first 7 tools needed for watch repair beginners
Screwdriver sharpener & holder

Now this one is by Horotec, it has an India stone that sits a little bit proud of a wooden block. As long as you can sharpen an inexpensive set of screwdrivers, they’ll work perfect for you. You can also just get the screwdriver holding jig and use your own sharpening stone if you already have one.

A sharpening stone is one of the first 7 tools needed for watch repair beginners
India Stone

You can also pick up an India Stone for about thirty dollars. This will also work if you get one wide enough, it will still work with the screwdriver holder while you are doing your sharpening. With either one of these sharpening stones, you will also be able to dress your tweezer heads.

Movement Holder

The next tool you are going to need is a movement holder to hold the movement while you’re disassembling.

A Movement holder is one of the first 7 tools needed for watch repair beginners
Small & Large Movement Holder

I typically would recommend an adjustable movement holder. This is a size for most wristwatches, this is a size for pocket watch or larger movements. An adjustable movement holder like this can be picked up for about five dollars. The larger size goes from anywhere from 20 to 70 dollars depending on the manufacturer.

Loupe

Now that you have the movement in the holder, now you have to be able to see what you are working on.

A Loupe
Eye Loupe

So, you’re going to have to get an eye loupe. Loups come in varying sizes of magnification. Loops are typically called out by the working distance, meaning how far away the loop is from the actual work surface. Most people find that about a 4-inch working distance works best for them. It is something that you will just have to play around with. So, at a minimum, I would start off with a 5 inch working loop.

Eye loupe for glasses

If you wear eyeglasses, there’s a couple different styles of eyeglass loops you can wear. This is an Ary set, I think these run about 80 dollars. When starting out this style of clip-on eye loupe works well if you have glasses.

Parts Containers

And the last thing you are going to need is something to hold the parts in. Now it really doesn’t  matter if you’re using a piece of Tupperware. You just want something to contain the parts because believe me, all it’s going to take.is a sneeze and you’re going to have parts launching off into the millennium.

A container for holding watch parts
Parts Container

You’re never going to be able to find it. So no matter what you use, just put your parts in something so that you can contain them. Parts holders like this are pretty inexpensive and keep your parts orginized.

I like these because it has a lot of compartments and there’s also big and small ones. Also the top rotates, which helps to keep the parts dust free. And then you have some parts holders that have as many as 40 slots in them.

Now this is typically not going to need something like this when you’re starting off. This would be if you’re working on a very complicated movement, perhaps like a chronograph.

You have to be careful with these because the trays are very shallow and a lot of times the wheel will stick up above and if you’re not careful when you close the lid you could crush the wheel and you definitely don’t want to start breaking parts.

What tools do I need to start watchmaking

If you’re serious about getting started in watchmaking, its best to start off with just the basics.

  1. You’ll need a set of screwdrivers.  You don’t the most expensive, just get the best you can afford.
  2. Tweezers.  A good pair of Dumont Tweezers runs about 30-40 dollars and is really worth the investment.
  3. loupe for handling the small components. Most people like a 4x or 5x loupe for general work.
  4. A movement holder is necessary to secure the watch movement while you work on it.
  5. Parts Holder- It’s important to keep your parts organized and secure.
  6. A Sharpening Stone. You need to be able to adjust the size of your screwdriver blades to accommodate different size screws. Yu will also need it to sharpen and maintain your tweezers.
  7. Screwdriver Jig. This is for holding your screwdriver when sharpening it.

There are other tools and supplies you will need in the future like cleaning tools, which include a cleaning solution, ultrasonic cleaners, and a drying machine.

 And last but not least, you’ll need specific lubricants such as watch oil and grease to keep watch movements running smoothly.

Keep in mind that these are just the basics. As you progress may need to invest in more advanced tools.

 It may seem overwhelming, but with the right tools and practice, you can become a skilled watchmaker.”

Is it hard to repair watches?

Repairing watches is not for everyone. It’s a challenging craft that demands skill, patience, and attention to detail. The complexity of a repair will vary depending on the type of watch and the extent of the damage. Let’s break it down further:

Specialized knowledge of servicing a watch is needed before learning watch repair. It requires an in-depth understanding of watch movements, components, and lubrication techniques.

Watch movements can be intricate, and even the smallest error can lead to significant damage.

Handling small components is a crucial part of watch repair and totally un-natural. Watches are made up of incredibly small and delicate parts that can easily be damaged.

 Watchmakers use specialized tools such as very sharp tweezers, very small screwdrivers, and high magnification to work with these parts.

Patience and attention to detail are essential traits for any watchmaker.  It can be the one thing that derails even the best intentions.

Availability of parts is also a consideration. Some watches may require replacement parts that are hard to find or no longer available. A skilled watchmaker should have a good network of suppliers to source the necessary components.

In summary, repairing watches is a challenging but rewarding experience. It requires a combination of skill, patience, attention to detail, and specialized tools. To become a skilled watchmaker, it’s recommended to invest your time in good Watch repair tutorials like the ones we do here.

How do I start watchmaking

Starting in this field can be both a rewarding hobby and a high paying career. But let me tell you, it’s no easy feat. Here are some essential steps you need to take:

When learning watch repair patience is key. Start by getting a good foundation of the basics of watch service, which is disassembly, cleaning and lubrication.

If you want to go professional, find courses or workshops offered by horology schools or watchmaking organizations. These courses can provide hands-on experience and instruction on the skills and techniques necessary for watchmaking.

If you want to learn as a hobbyist, watchrepairtutorials.com has free video courses to get you started with the basics.

Acquiring the right tools and equipment is vital to your success in watchmaking. Start with the basics, such as screwdrivers, tweezers, and a loop. Gradually build your tool collection as you progress and take on more challenging repairs.

Practice, practice, practice! Find old or broken watches to practice on. Start by disassembling and reassembling the watch to familiarize yourself with the parts and how they work together. As you progress, attempt more challenging repairs.

Network with other watchmakers! Attend watchmaking events and join watchmaking groups to connect with other watchmakers. They can provide guidance, feedback, and support as you learn and grow your skills.

To become a skilled watchmaker requires a combination of study, practice, and hands-on experience working and studying watch movements.

It’s not something you will learn in a week or two, it takes time and patience.

Is watch repair a dying trade

 The watchmaking industry has undergone a lot of changes over the years but make no mistake about it. there is a huge need for watchmakers.

Although the industry has moved towards the use of service centers, there’s still a need for skilled independent watchmakers who can repair and restore vintage timepieces.

 And let’s not forget about the many collectors and enthusiasts who appreciate the artistry and history behind these watches and actively seek out skilled watchmakers for repairs.

Moreover, the rise of online platforms like eBay and Etsy has created more business opportunities for amateur watchmakers.

Collectors can now easily find and purchase vintage watches, which has created a growing demand for repairs and restorations.

As a result, many watchmakers have adapted to the changing landscape of the industry by specializing in a particular brand like Seiko or in a category like pocket watches.

The demand for skilled watchmakers and watch repair services is still strong.

How long does it take to become a watchmaker

Becoming a professional watchmaker takes time, dedication, and a whole lot of effort. The length of time it takes to become a watchmaker can vary depending on the path you choose to take. Here are some general guidelines:
First off, apprenticeships. They are not going to be easy to find but if you can, expect it to take anywhere from 2 to 5 years to gain the necessary skills and knowledge to become proficient in the craft. You’ll be learning hands-on, under the guidance of an experienced professional.
Watchmaking schools like Hayek Watchmaking School and the Lititz Watch Technicum offer programs that last 2 years. These programs offer hands-on instruction in the skills and techniques necessary for watchmaking. You’ll be learning in a structured environment, alongside other aspiring watchmakers and most of these schools offer free tuition.
And if you’re self-motivated and dedicated, you can learn the basics of watchmaking through self-study. However, it can take many, many years of study and practice to become as skilled as a student coming out of a watch school. You’ll need to have a good understanding of watch movements, components, and tools, and be willing to put at least 4000 hours to develop your skills.
Overall, the length of time it takes to become a watchmaker depends on several factors, including your learning ability, the amount of time you dedicate to learning, and your level of dexterity and natural aptitude.
Regardless of the path you choose, becoming a skilled watchmaker requires patience, persistence, and a passion for the craft. It’s not for everyone, but if you’re willing to put in the work, it can be a truly rewarding hobby or career.

Is watchmaking a good hobby?

Watchmaking can be a really cool and fascinating hobby for those who have a genuine interest in the workings inside a mechanical timepieces.
It allows anyone to gain a deep understanding of how their watches work and gain an appreciation for the craftsmanship and engineering that goes into making even the cheapest of watches.
Watchmaking is a creative and hands-on hobby that provides a great sense of accomplishment and satisfaction as you service and repair watches.
It does requires a lot of precision work and patience, along with attention for detail, which can also help to develop other important skills like problem-solving and fine motor skills.
However, it’s important to know that watchmaking is definitely not the cheapest hobby to get involved in and requires specialized tools, equipment, and supplies.
It’s not a hobby for everyone, and the learning curve can be steep when learning at home. It requires a significant amount of study time, practicing on working movements, and tons of patience to become proficient.
So, whether watchmaking is a good hobby for you depends on your interests, goals, and resources.
If you have a genuine interest in mechanical watches and are willing to invest the time, effort and money to learn a craft, it can be an incredibly fascinating and rewarding hobby that provides endless opportunities for creativity and self-improvement.
However, if you’re not willing to commit to the required investment of time, money, and effort, it may not be the right hobby for you.”

Conclusion Watch repair tools for beginners

You may have noticed my list is different from others. That’s because I know you are going to love this hobby and I want you to have the best start as possible.

When you learn on a new movement like the ST36 , you don’t need case openers and all the other tools yet. These are the first 7 watch repair tools. There will be many others down the road.