Why would you alter your Movement Holder

There’s lots of choices when looking at movement holders and they all have their advantages and disadvantages. Some are cheap, some are expensive.

You have size specific holders like these stackable kind as well as higher quality ones made out of stainless steel. These will hold the movement but there’s nothing really securing them so  if you have to apply a lot of torque to undo a screw you know that the movement can come flying  out and potentially damage a part like the balance wheel.

plastic Stackable Movement Holders
Plastic Stackable Movement Holders
Stainless Steel Movement Holder
Stainless Steel Movement Holder

Then you have the universal holders which are often considered cheap, because a lot of them are inexpensive, but mostly its because people struggle with the movement flying  out when you try to hold it in the upper part of the jaws.

Universal Movement Holder
Universal Movement Holder

The problem with this upper area is that there is very little metal to hold the movement securely and it’s especially a problem if you still have the plastic movement ring attached to the plate.

Problem Area on Universal Movement Holder
Problem Area on Universal Movement Holder

Now there’s no issue securing the movement when its in the lower part of the jaws, but because the jaws are so tall, when you are trying to remove or replace a bridge, I find that it’s harder to get a good angle on the bridge because the movement is sitting so low in the jaws. 

This video was really inspired by a conversation I was having with a couple of my patrons Paul and Ray on our reddit sub and the answer is really so simple.

To start with, I screw the jaws all the way in and then just use a file to remove the top part of the jaws. Since these are made out of aluminum.

Filing Movement Holder With File
Filing Movement Holder with File

You could also do the same with sandpaper or a flat sharpening stone but a metal file does it really quick. All I’m doing is removing the top part of the jaws, reducing the height and eliminating the useless top part that really doesn’t work and just get in the way.

Sanding Movement Holder Flat
Sanding Movement Holder Flat

After the filing work I just rinsed it with hot water, ran it through an ultrasonic  cleaner to get any filing dust off. .I then applied a very thin film of grease, like you might do on a mainspring and it’s good to go.

Now with the upper section gone, I can now securely hold the movement with plenty of access to the top bridges. And that’s it, you can turn an inexpensive movement holder into one that you can trust and count on every time and if you can prevent just one damaged movement you will be one step closer to being a better watchmaker.

Movement Holder Before
Movement Holder Before
Movement Holder After
Movement Holder After