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The most important feature of a watch repair shop is the work area. This area must be located in good light and be comfortable.
While working on a watch it is important to be seated at your bench so that your work is armpit height. The area must be wide enough for you to rest your elbows on the top of the bench as you work. You need a chair that will keep your back straight so you don't tire.
The reasons for this arrangement are as follows:
1. As you will be working with loupes or other magnifiers you want to be close to the watch. For most work I recommend a 4x magnifier. By having the work area at armpit height the watch will be near eye height and your neck won't get tired from looking down.
2. By being able to rest your elbows on the bench top your hands will be steadier when handling small parts plus your shoulders won't get tired.
3. Most watchmakers' tools are made to be used at eye height. The lathe, staking outfit, jeweling tool and others work much better when they sit higher.


Lighting:
I use a 3 tube fluorescent lamp because I need lots of light for my old eyes. Fluorescent light is better than incandescent because it is a whiter light and it isn't hot. Because you will be working close to the lamp you want it to be cool. A fluorescent desk lamp would work as long as you can reposition it for different jobs.


Bench mat.
It is handy to use a soft bench mat to work on for many reasons. I have found that I like the foamies that are sold in craft stores.
I buy mine at Michaels. $.99 for a large one that can be cut in half. Use it until the side closest to you gets grubby than turn it 180 degrees. Flip over and do the same and you get 4x's the use out of it. I use a light green colored one as I find it cuts down on the glare. Parts don't roll off or bounce as hard with a foamie.
Because they are soft you can stick parts in it to hold them so they don't get away from you.


Movement holder
There are various gadgets to hold your movement while you are working on it. There are the metal ones that you tighten the movement into or plastic rings in various diameters that support the watch or even pith wood buttons. Use what you feel comfortable with.


Screwdrivers
One of the biggest sins committed by amateur and even some professional watchmakers is damaging the screw heads in the movement. Much care goes into the finish on the movements and nothing detracts from it like the slots in the screws damaged.
The way to prevent this is as easy as using the right screwdriver.
ALWAYS USE THE LARGEST ONE THAT WILL FIT INTO THE SLOT EASILY. NO BIGGER AND NO SMALLER. You will learn how to keep your blades sharp and how to use them.
I recommend the following sizes
.60, .80. 1.00, 1.20, 1.40


Tweezers
I recommend a 3C and a #5 Dumont style and anti-magnetic
The 3C have a fine enough point to handle small parts but beefy enough to work with. The have a more tapered pointed end than the #3
The #5 is the one your mother wouldn't want you to run with. They are very sharp and should only be used for hairspring or other extremely fine work. You have to very careful not to bend or damage the tips.


Case back wrench
I recommend a Jaxa style. It has 3 adjustable jaws with interchangeable tips. Works with many types of backs. They can be had fairly cheaply.


You might want to purchase one of those rubber balls to remove odd-shaped cases.
You will also need a case knife. I use one that has a rounded edge and not too sharp for most backs. I also like the Citizen style for stubborn ones that need a bit of persuasion. For those of you who are fearless (read that crazy) a single edge razor blade is the handiest tools for removing backs and bezels.


For oiling the movements I use dip oilers. I have a set of 4 and use the finest one (black the most). We will cover lubricants soon.


A case press is handy and you can get a cheap one on the bay for around $20.00. You use to press crystals in, bezels and backs on.


You will use a small rubber blower to remove dust from the dial and movement.


I use Presto style hand pullers. I have been using that style for 30+ years and am very comfortable with them. You can use what you feel comfortable. I will tell you how to remove hands without damaging the dial or losing the hands.


Hand setter. Handy tool to push the hands on. Double ended for hour and minute hands


I will stop here for tonight and continue tomorrow.


Please ask any questions or make any comments you need to. We need feedback and active participation to make this work.
Also. I realize that this is an international forum so I need to know if everyone understands my ramblings. I can be quite talkative at times so tell me if I am too wordy.
You will find that I will use terminology that you might not have heard before. The same part can have different names depending where you are from or how old you are.


Thanks for showing interest. I think this can be fun for all of us.


Ken
 

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Two thoughts:

Case Press: Harbor Freight sells case presses for $13. It seems to work pretty well. I believe they also sell the Jaxa style opener and the case knife. So if you have one near you it's a one stop solution.
Screw Drivers: If you buy screwdrivers off eBay, make sure you get the kind with replaceable tips. You can use the Chinese tips until they need replacement and then replace with Bergeon tips.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Great suggestions. This is the kind of involvement we need.

Wachulookingat said:
Two thoughts:

Case Press: Harbor Freight sells case presses for $13. It seems to work pretty well. I believe they also sell the Jaxa style opener and the case knife. So if you have one near you it's a one stop solution.
Screw Drivers: If you buy screwdrivers off eBay, make sure you get the kind with replaceable tips. You can use the Chinese tips until they need replacement and then replace with Bergeon tips.
 

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I stopped by my local Harbor Freight store and picked these up:

item # 91555 Watch case opener $ 4.99 <-- JAXA style
item # 91621 watch case press $12.99

They offered an 8-pc watch kit for ~$8 that contained:
Philips driver, slot driver, 4C tweezer, AA tweezer, magnifying glass (hand held), spring bar tool, 2-jaw adjustable caseback opener, caseback knife, and folding pouch

There was a 5 or 6 piece loupe set for < $5 (IIRC).
 

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Just read this for the first time, today. Thanks for the info you guys :)
 

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DROP CLOTH off the front of your bench;:)

working for other people(I'm a watchmaker by trade) and other times I've done watchmaking for myself I've never had one. I thought I'd have one made up last year and very glad I did.

Mine is dark blue (dark colour = easier to find parts) and hangs beyond my knees and is the length of my bench and sits on my knees.
Its just thumb tacked to the front of my bench.
I've found numerous parts in it that would've gone on me or the floor and so been harder to find or lost.
Its also useful to sort stuff like batteries on etc.
 
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