Here We Go... HOROLOGY (the study of time)
Updated: Jan 26
Stepping into the world of Watchmaking.
Today is the day I have decided to go full forward on a curiosity I have had for the past year or so. I have spent hours watching YouTube videos of experienced and novice watchmakers disassembling, cleaning, repairing, and reassembling watches. At first glance, it looks very intimidating. All those gears, all those tiny, tiny little screws, all those confusing parts that I have no idea what they are or what they do... "Sure, I can do that," I thought.
After hundreds of hours watching these videos, I began researching what is needed to start Horology. Tools, LOTS of tools. Where to begin? What are the most essential tools? What is the least amount of devices it would take to get a watch apart, cleaned, and back together again? The list wasn't short. I watched many videos of other watchmakers with their top 10 list of watchmaking tools. Some had very different ideas of what is "Necessary," so I decided to do my best to pick and choose these tools of the trade. The common factor I heard was "Don't go cheap" if you can afford it. You can find specific tools, such as a Main Spring Winder Set, on eBay and Amazon, for less than $50, but a proper set will cost you about $300. You can buy watchmaker Screwdriver sets for under $20, but a great collection of Bergeon will be about another $279. The point is, how do you decide when to go BIG and when to go cheap.
I decided to go as best as possible regarding the tools. I also decided to get every tool I could think of to improve my learning curve. I purchased: Screwdriver set, Gel Cushion, Pegwood, Probe Sticks, Watch Crystal Press, Rodico, Watch Hand Installing tools, Watch Hand Removal Tools, Optivisor, Loops, Tweezers of all sizes and shapes, Watch Back Removers, Main Spring, Winders Set, Oils, Oil Applicators, Timegraph, Movement holders... Get the point? You need a bunch of tools just to take a watch apart.
Now that I have all these expensive tools, I can't just grab a Rolex or an Omega and start tearing into it. No, I need to start with a watch that if it all goes to hell in a handbasket and I ruin it, I am not so crushed. So after spending quite a bit of money on tools, it feels really dumb to buy a few $20-$50 watches (BROKEN) on eBay. But you gotta start slow and small. So I picked up 3 wristwatches to practice on and see how my first experience goes.
Seiko Automatic Luxury Men's Wrist Watches Antique Formal
Bulova Accutron Watch 218 movement with JB Champion Bracelet
Bulova Mens Watch Automatic Selfwinding 1965 M5 23 Jewels 11ALAC 10K RGP
These are the 3 starter watches I choose. I am a fan of Bulova watches as a collector. I have many of their Precisionist models as I am a Large Man, so average men's watches look like women's on my wrist. So I choose two Bulovas to work on. The 11ALAC I am most excited to get into; it was a lovely watch in its day. Also, I love that it is 10 years older than I am. I wonder whose wrist it was on? How far across this earth did it travel before ending up on my new watch bench? Will I do it justice and bring it back to life? I will probably do this one third.
The Other Bulova, the Accutron, I wanted to work on different styles of watches. This is a battery-operated watch Wirth their signature Accutron Movement. Still learning about this and how different it is from a mechanical watch. This one also was a very classy men's wristwatch back in the day. It's the late 70's, so far as I can tell.
The first one I will work on is the Seiko. I only paid $4.25 Plus Shipping for this one. So it will be my "I don't care if I screw up majorly" Starter Watch. It looks like it is in rough shape, indicating my confidence in "how bad can I screw this up?" But we will see how it goes soon, and I will keep you updated.
Then there comes the part: do I want to share this whole experience with anyone, or do I just keep it all to myself? Obviously, since you are reading this on my website/blog, I decided to share my journey with the world. So As a Web Designer/ Social Media Manager by profession, I decided to create Wristwatch Overhauling' a channel and place on the internet that will allow others to see my experiences with testing the waters of watchmaking and repair. By the time you read this, I will have set up an entire network of social media outlets for you to follow me on. This website will have some content, but much more to follow as I dive into working on wristwatches. And I may have a slight grasp of what I am doing in this new world. Wish me luck, and follow along if you like.