One thing I think we can all agree on, is that being able to see clearly while working on a watch movement is key to doing quality service work.         

When it comes to inspecting escapements, lubricating jewels and picking up the tiniest of parts, being able to see clearly is key.      

When it comes to old guys like me, being able to work in a comfortable sitting position makes a world of difference especially when you are doing this for long period of time.           

Today I’m going to show you 3 different magnification systems, all with their own advantages and disadvantages that will help you level up your watch service game. 

By the end of this video, you will literally see the one tool that will make watch repair more enjoyable and increase your ability to perform a more exact and thorough watch service.             

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The first type of Microscope that many of you may be thinking about is a digital microscope. This is going to be an entry level option that will give you the ability to inspect parts close up.

7” LCD Digital Microscope

Now microscopes like this are not going to allow you to work under them, but when it comes to inspecting parts, they will definitely do the job.             

Digital Microscope for Watchmaking
Digital Microscope for Watchmaking

The first issue is going to be the working distance between the movement and the lens.  

The second issue with digital can be the lag time between your movement and what you are seeing on the screen.    Let’s look at some parts from a Bulova movement.

Bulova Balance Jewel under digital microscope
Bulova Balance Jewel under digital microscope
Teeth on a 3rd wheel under digital microscope
Teeth on a 3rd wheel under digital microscope
Jewel On a Mainplate under a digital microscope
Jewel On a Main plate under a digital microscope

As you can see this is more than adequate for most inspection although maneuvering in certain positions is going to require some patience           

Amscope SM-3T Triocular  7x X 45x

The Amscope Head SM-3T Triocular  7x X 45x is a stereo microscope with a dedicated 3rd port for a camera.

If you don’t need a dedicated port, cameras can also be inserted into one of the eye pieces          

When you are looking at microscope magnification levels,  anything over 45 is not going to be overkill and really starts amping up the cost considerably              

Lets start with the main head. The first thing you would do is set the eyepieces to get your view correct.

Amscope Head SM-3T Triocular  7x X 45x
Amscope Head SM-3T Triocular  7x X 45x

One thing to realize when looking into a microscope like this you dont put your eyes on the eyepiece inself, but you keep them about an inch away. This is really important if you are wearing glasses like me.             

One this microscope each ocular tube is individually adjustable for any variation in vision between your eyes       

This microscope has an ocular lens or eye piece that is pretty standard at 10x magnififcation

The objective lens in the head is 7x X 45x

Lets see what that looks like       

So you can see that this jewel looks like at 7x magnification and then out to 45x magnification.     

7x Magnification under SM-3T
7x Magnification under SM-3T
45x magnification with no barlow lens
45x magnification with no Barlow lens

This is all well and good except that we have a limited field of view          

The key to this type of set up for watch repair is adding a Barlow lens.

0.5x Barlow Lens

A Barlow lens is simply an addition lens that goes between the the objective lens and whatever you are looking at.               

0.5x Barlow Lens
0.5x Barlow Lens

Barlows come in different powers but the one we are interested in is the 0.5x lens           

This lens is going to do 2 things.

The first thing it does cut the magnification in half. So on this microscope, instead of having a range of 7 to 45 x , we end up with a range from 3.5 to 22.5 x which is still more than enough for anything you may need to do.  

3.5 x magnification
22.5 magnification
22.5 magnification

The main advantage is the fact that it allows you to move the head up higher, which gives you a larger field of view and working area under the microscope.          

LED Light Ring

You also need a light source. The LED light rings are what’s typically used and can easily be sourced.

They LED Light Ring just fit around the lens slot  and have adjustable screws to hold it in place. 

LED light ring
LED light ring

Camera

Lastly for the camera, I use a Hayear digital microscope camera that I hook up to my laptop. I have found that the Microsoft camera app on my laptop works just fine. It’s what all the close ups in this video were recorded on.

Hayear Microscope Camera
Hayear Microscope Camera

Camera Adapter

To install it onto the viewing port i use this 0.35X Microscope Adapter. It has the right size threads for the camera and keeps the camera at a lower profile than some other adapters I’ve seen.

Cameras Adapter
Cameras Adapter

For me working under a microscope not only makes the work more comfortable and therefore enjoyable, but  i find that my accuracy in working with small parts like springs, I am less prone to having them jump away from me   but when it comes to accurately lubricating and inspecting the train jewels and especially the end stones and pallet jewels there is almost no way to be more accurate.