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Tools! Everybody wants tools, but nobody is sure about what tools they want or need!

We have a list below, and if we can figure out a way to do links we will do it.




Buy the best you can afford of these tools! They are listed in order of importance (according to us.)

  • LAMP  - We love the Bemelux LED Desk Lamp with Clamp. You are going to need a lamp or light source that provides adequate lighting so you can see the wee parts. We have several of these lamps in our classroom space.

  • MAGNIFICATION - Donegan OptiVisor in a 3.5x power (listed as their #10 lens). For our classes we use these and they work well; these can be worn over glasses. You can also invest in an eye loupe, however they are harder to get used to as they are monocles, as opposed to binoculars. But if you do want a loupe, Bausch & Lomb 3.5, 5, and 6.7 are good options; make sure you also get the holder so you can strap it to your head.

  • TWEEZERS - Dumont Dumoxel Anti-Magnetic Stainless Steel; we use a 0A, 3, or 3C type for general work, and a #4 and #5 for fine hairspring work. We cannot stress this enough: buy the best tweezers you can afford. You will be so much more pleasant to be around if you have a good set of tweezers. 

  • SCREWDRIVERS - Horotec or Bergeon, in sizes .60, .80, 1.0, 1.20, 1.40. These are the most-used sizes for watches, but are also available in larger and smaller sizes. If you are going to be working on pocket watches, you may also want the 1.6 and 2.0.  Make sure you get the kind with the replaceable tip... and buy extra tips!

  • MOVEMENT HOLDER - Bergeon #4040 will do the job on almost every size of wrist watch. For pocket watches, the aptly named "Large Watch Movement and Case Holder" is a good choice.

  • RODICO - it's a gummy substance used for lifting debris off your dials, removing fingerprints and oils, or picking things up when you can't with your tweezers because you bought the cheap pair.

  • CASE OPENER - Jaxa Style case wrench for screw-down backs.

  • CASE KNIFE - 4.5" case knife with wooden handle. Sturdy, reliable, blunt. You can also use a razor blade, butter knife or screwdriver, but don't come crying to us when you've cut off your finger.

  • HAND LEVERS - Bergeon #1 Presto Hand Remover, or a set of hand levers. The Bergeon costs about 5 times as much, and it is our go-to tool, but we used the levers for many years quite successfully.

  • SPRING-BAR TOOL - Bergeon makes the best, but there are many to choose from. Just make sure you get a replaceable 2mm (or about) forked tip on one end, and a replaceable point on the other end. Replaceable tips, people!

  • ISOPROPYL ALCOHOL - for cleaning movements without the benefit of a machine, rubbing alcohol works pretty well as a degreaser, and does not take the finish off or harm jewels. 


Almost all of these tools are available on Amazon, of course, or you can support a local business like, which is better for your karma if not your pocketbook. 




  • CLEANING MACHINE - you can get by with hand-cleaning many old watch movements, but your results will be much better if you invest in a machine and some cleaning solution to help you. Because machines specifically designed to clean watch are so bloody expensive, we'd suggest getting a 2-2.5 liter ultrasonic cleaner with heat from Amazon. The cleaning solution can be something as simple as hot soapy water (make sure you rinse!), or as complex as the Zenith watch solution and rinse from Esslinger. You will still probably need to hand-clean parts of the movements, but the heavy lifting will be taken care of. If by some chance you stumble across an old L&R cleaner for a decent price, GRAB IT. 

  • SCREWDRIVER SHARPENER - there are several kinds, but we use the rolling jig over a 1000 grit diamond grinding wheel.

  • BENCH MAT - green anti-static mat, or a by-the-foot piece of black rubber mat from Menards. You'll want about 15" x 20".

  • HAND PUSHERS - Horotec hand pushers, set of 3.

  • PIN VISE - this little tool is very handy for holding stems while you cut and file them.

  • FILE - #4 file for steel.

  • CALIPERS - you will need one with metal tips, and that measures in millimeters, because that's how God intended us to measure things.

  • FINGER COTS - cover up those digits and you will be amazed at the amount of dry skin that doesn't end up on your watches.

  • FLUSH WIRE CUTTERS - we like the 4 inch ones. These do not need to be fancy, just functional.

  • CHAIN-NOSE PLIERS  - again with the 4 inch ones. You don't need serrated edges on these, they are for holding, not squeezing.




  • STAKING SET - a nice K&D staking set is a great addition when you are ready to start replacing balance staffs. Find a vintage one on Ebay.

  • OIL CUPS - you can get a very nice agate cup set by Bergeon, or you can get a plastic set; either will work, and the plastic cups are approximately 1/20th the price.

  • DIP OILERS - we almost exclusively use the "very fine" black oiler. This size keeps the amount of oil you use down to a minimum, and wastes less oil due to over-zealous oiling, as well as providing great control. The Bergeon oilers are very nice, but any of the "Made in Switzerland" oilers will work. We like the plastic handled ones, but there are also metal handled versions available if you like a bit of heft in your dip oiler.

  • PITH WOOD BUTTONS- don't get pithed, but you'll need this stuff to clean off your dip oilers.

  • MOEBIUS OILS - if you can get sample sizes in a kit (again, off Ebay) they are a great place to start, because this stuff is EXPENSIVE. For the love of all that is holy, DO NOT use WD40 or other household oil. If you are going to oil a watch, do it with the proper stuff, please.

  • LATHE - lathes are fun! You can make balance staffs, stems, and if you are smarter than we are, you can even make gears with the right math and tools.



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