Just like any piece of mechanical equipment, your watch needs a good tune-up from time to time. Watch enthusiasts and collectors know that just like their favorite timepieces, not all watch tools are created equal. We’ve outlined the most common watchmaking tools below to help you build a custom repair kit that you can use for a range of issues, from simple battery changes to more complex restoration projects. These are the same tools used and recommended by the best watch repairers and jewelers worldwide.
The key to choosing the best and longest-lasting watch tools is to shop for your accessories the same way you shop for your timepieces: look for the Swiss-made label. These tools are made with the best-quality materials and are often precisely monitored in production, ensuring that they’ll last a lifetime with the proper care.
Choose devices made in Switzerland by brands like AF Switzerland, Bergeon and Horotec for reliable quality. Steer clear of any made in China or India. Everest Bands is happy to help you find the right tools and accessories for your watches.
- Watchmaker Screwdrivers — Perhaps the most versatile and essential of all watchmaker tools, screwdrivers provide access to the components behind the case. These are specific, smaller-scale screwdrivers designed for unscrewing watch fasteners. There are useful watchmaker’s screwdrivers guides online that will help you identify the best options for your watch and its needs.
- Watchmaker Tweezers — If you observe your jeweler closely, you’ll notice that he or she very rarely touches the small parts of the watch. Holding them with a pair of tweezers ensures that you don’t drop them and provides you with the precision you need to work on the components. Watch tweezers are commonly used to insert or remove screws. An eye loupe like the one your jeweler wears will also help you see and install small parts.
- A Spring Bar Tool — A good, multi-use spring bar tool will go a long way in watch maintenance and repairs. With interchangeable and replaceable spring bar heads to work with various timepieces, these tools allow you to screw in replacement spring bars on your watch’s bracelet. Choose a high-quality spring bar with adaptable heads or opt for one that’s specifically made for the make of your watch.
- A Watch Case Opener — No good repair kit is complete without a watch case opener. These tools accomplish just what you’d expect — help you open the case of your timepiece. You’ll need to be able to remove the case in order to access the watch’s internal components.
Some watch cases are fastened with screws that can be removed with a specially designed screwdriver, but others require a special tool called a case opener knife. These knives have a short, blunt blade, which is inserted into the back of the case and twisted in order to pop off the case.
- Hand-Lifting Levers — These tools are generally designed for a single purpose: removing the hands from a watch. They are precise in helping you lift the hands, providing you with a safer way to protect these fragile components in the repair process.
They’re available in two common styles, with the standard style featuring a tapered flat edge and a small V-cut center, so they’re best for smaller watches. Presto hand-lifting levers are similar but have a spring-loaded mechanism.
- Movement Holders — Universal movement holders are essential if you need to remove or handle the mechanical movement of your timepiece. You should never use your fingers to handle the caliber, so these tools are helpful when you need to safely secure it while you’re working. Generally, these devices are reversible so that they will suit various different sized movements. In some cases, though, you may need a specific style for your timepiece.
- Maintenance Tools — If you’re looking for tools that you can use to maintain your watches rather than repair them, you’ll want to invest in utensils such as oil pots and oilers, which allow you to precisely lubricate small and difficult areas of your watch as needed.
A watchmakers’ blower is also a handy tool for removing dust, air and small parts, as it will safely project gentle airflow into the unit. You will also want a good, quality watch cleaning cloth made with soft material to clean dust, dirt, body oils, and fingerprints to keep your favorite investment in top order.