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Thread: So my son wants to assemble his own watch…

  1. #1

    So my son wants to assemble his own watch…


    What is the bare minimum quantity and quality of tools required and what should he look out for (good/avoid) regarding parts?

    Also - are there any UK sources of this stuff or is he fine browsing aliexpress?

    I’m happy for him to discover that you get what you pay for and finally feel the wrath of nasty bracelets - but I’d rather he not outright fail.
    "Bite my shiny metal ass."
    - Bender Bending Rodríguez

  2. #2
    Grand Master Sinnlover's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    What about one of the kits you can buy, they have all the parts and tools needed, if he wants to take it further he can replace the tools as needed and when funds allow?

  3. #3
    Master unclealec's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Quote Originally Posted by Sinnlover View Post
    What about one of the kits you can buy, they have all the parts and tools needed, if he wants to take it further he can replace the tools as needed and when funds allow?
    I'm watching this thread with interest; any chance of a random link to "the kits", or what/where should I search?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Zummerzet inum
    Blog Entries
    I'm far from an expert but I've had a bit of fun over the years putting stuff together and taking it apart, with varying degrees of success. I've found that the following we're quite useful;

    For taking the back off cases, which are either threaded (in which case a 'sticky ball' is useful) or if push fit, then a watchmakers knife (looks like a metal butter knife) and a crystal press for putting it back on again ( or get friendly with your local Timpsons).

    For attaching dials to movements, a set of watchmakers screwdrivers are good, although there will be only one size you need for that job, I expect. A dressmaker's pin is useful for releasing the stem from a movement.

    The same screwdrivers are useful for messing about with straps. I bought a Burgeon strap tool and it's rather good, with a forked end of two different sizes.

    Oh and the most useful thing I've got has been a tool for attaching hands, it's like a pen with an acrylic tube at either end (for attaching) and a set of tweezer things for removing the hands, not sure what the correct name is.

    Have a look at Cousins, they used to be quite good value.

    Have fun! Hope that's some help?


  5. #5
    All helpful so far…….

    Sounding like movement holders and gasket lubricating pots are not needed as I suspected.
    "Bite my shiny metal ass."
    - Bender Bending Rodríguez

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2022
    South Wales
    What a great start your lad is having into our watch hobby. Once he’s built a few he’ll realise the madness of spending thousands of pounds on so-called Swiss made watches, and how the difference between a £200 self-chosen, self-assembled, self-regulated beauty, and a luxury brand is nothing like the price difference suggests.

    If he wants a kit these look ok. I’ve not used either, but I believe the second one below exhibited at the recent British Watchmakers Fair, and if I’ve got that right, the 36mm Oyster Perpetual similar job looked very nice indeed.

    Alternatively, why not buy the components seperately? Your son can then browse web sites and put together something he really likes. To start, I recommend focusing on Seiko NH38 (no date) NH35 (date) or 36 (day date) movements. They’re all interchangeable and your choice will depend whether you want a date or not. The NH series are robust and are great for starters. Adjusting precision is a bit hit or miss, and will test his patience, but it’s “fun” to do.

    Namoki has been round for ever and is a stalwart of the modding scene:

    Seiko mods is UK based so delivery is quicker.

    Seiko mods also has some useful tutorials

    I’ve used both and they’re both excellent. Seiko Mods delivery is quick.
    You’ll need a case, movement, dial, hands, exhibition case back if you want to see the fruits of your work, and a bracelet or strap. A strap is easy to start with because a bracelet will need adjustment. The NH34 is a GMT movement, and because 4 hands are used the setting can be more difficult. Perhaps try this later on.

    Cocktail sticks
    Watchmakers Rodico
    Eye glasses cleaning wipe
    Microfibres cloth to polish the finished watch.

    The following are cheap tools, that will be fine for your first attempts:
    Screwdrivers: look for the following in Amazon at less than a fiver

    Precision Screwdriver Set Watchmakers Screwdrivers for Watch Eyeglasses Jewelry Repair,0.6 0.8 1.0 1.2 1.4 1.6mm Glasses Ergonomic Watch Repair Screwdriver Set

    Simple tool kit: again, Amazon is convenient. This kit comes in a nice zip-up case and costs about 12 quid
    New YUSHI 185pcs Watch Repair Tools Kit,Watch Tool Set,Back Case Removal Tool,Strap Link Removal Repair Tool,Watch Band Bracelet Pin Remover Adjustment Kit,Spring Pin Bar Watchmaker Tool Bag

    Pushers for hand setting: Amazon, around a fiver:
    3 PCS Watch Hand Pressers, Watch Hand Pusher Fitting Set Kit Watchmakers Repair Tool Watch Repair Tools Watchmakers Wristwatch Repair Tool Kit

    The tool kit includes a generic movement holder. A better one would be a nylon one specific for the movement. Search on Amazon or eBay for nh35 movement holder and you’ll find one for less than £9. Because he’s starting off, I’d recommend a nylon/plastic/3D printed movement holder rather than a steel one.

    Some silicone grease to lubricate the case back and crown seals.

    I haven’t recommended Cousins because they’re a trade supplier, and the above are all cheap, easily available tools which will give your lad a feel for this new potential hobby. If you’re the sort who doesn’t like cheap tools even for one off use, then the above can be bettered, but at a higher cost.

    Good luck
    Last edited by YCymro; 3rd June 2024 at 14:19. Reason: Tutorials added

  7. #7
    Parts and chinesium tools ordered………
    "Bite my shiny metal ass."
    - Bender Bending Rodríguez

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