Have you been interested in starting a new watch making hobby?
Watch making is a complex and very hands-on craft. You can be interested in the history and the “how’s” of a watch all you want, but it’s a craft that you won’t really be able to learn through videos and books alone. To get into watchmaking and even discover if you really enjoy it as a hobby, you have to sit down with a watch and spend hours tinkering with it. To do so, there are a few tools and pieces you will need to invest in first.
- Precision tweezers
- Precision screwdriver (1mm is great to start with or a set that ranges from ~.8-2mm)
- A loupe or standing magnifying glass
- A movement holder (preferably)
- An old watch or a movement to tinker with
When you have all the tools, make sure you also have a clear desk space you can work on. Make sure it’s not over the carpet as pieces can get lost very if they spring off. A clean surface that’s elevated closer to your eyes with clear lighting is best. The idea is to just get started and tinker around and have fun. Try disassembling the movement or watch you have and reassemble it.
When you have all the tools, make sure you also have a clear desk space you can work on. The idea is to just get started and tinker around and have fun. Try disassembling the movement or watch you have and reassemble it.
When you start disassembling the watch, make sure to take your time to familiarize yourself with the pieces and how they function within the larger movement. To make sure that you can disassemble and reassemble the watch properly, it’s a good idea to take a picture of the movement before you remove a piece, and after you remove a piece. That way, if you create your own guide to look back on to make sure you are reassembling the pieces together correctly. For example, before you start, take a picture of the entire movement, and then try to remove one screw. When you take the screw out, screw it back in, and repeat that a few times. Part of watch making is teaching your muscles the feel of assembling a watch. Then when you finally take out that screw and put it aside, making sure it won’t roll off the table somewhere, take another picture of the movement and what it looks like without the screw.
Another good tip is that as you take off more pieces, put it all back together again and check that the watch is still running. Once you get to the very end of disassembling the entire watch and reassembling it, you want to make sure the watch still works, so checking if it’s running at every step of the way is a good habit to form.
Make sure to be patient with yourself and take frequent breaks. Watch making requires a lot of focus and time, and it will strain your eyes to look at small pieces for an extended period of time.
Taking the time to find and purchase all the tools you need to get started with your new watch making hobby can be an obstacle that prevents you from getting started in the first place. If that is the case, you can purchase a movement kit that comes with all the basic tools you need, plus a complete movement to start tinkering with! Movement kits like this one come with a full mechanical movement, movement holder, screwdriver, tweezers, magnetizer tool, pliers, leather case, and even a guide and support team for extra help. So if you want to save some time and start tinkering with a watch movement right a way, I recommend getting a kit especially created to help enthusiasts like you get into watchmaking.
If doing an entire disassembly and reassembly of a watch or movement sounds a little daunting to you, and would like to ease into watch making a little more, there are watchmaking kits out there like this one which don’t require you to put together an entire movement piece yet, but allow you to still put together an entire watch that you can wear everyday when you’re done! These kits come with all the tools and pieces you need, and a guide and support team that can additionally help you through the making process.
Again, watch making is a beautiful craft that used to be very difficult to get into. But now that it’s fairly easy to find anything you need online, and that some companies even sell complete watch making kits for hobbyists like you, there’s never been a better time to start a new hobby in watch making!