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A Watchmaker’s Tools

by J.Peter

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A watchmaker has lots of nifty tools and we are very attached to them. I acquired mine while I attended the Lititz Watch Technicum. I (like most watchmakers) don’t really like it when co-workers pick them up or use them. You see when your livelyhood depends on these little tools and you use them 8 hours a day they become like additional appendages.

I can tell instantly if I pickup a co-workers tweezers, they just don’t feel right in the hand. Today there was a construction crew in my shop installing a new vent hood over our cleaning machine, and while they weren’t using my tools just having them there was uncomfortable.

Look for future posts about specific watchmaker’s tools, today I’m going to type about my Tweezers:

For ordinary people tweezers are for removing splinters or plucking eyebrows. But watchmaker’s tweezers aren’t like the ones in your swiss army knife. Once a watch has been cleaned (and before) no part of it can be touched by hand because the oils on the skin cause corrosion and because miniscule parts of the skin flake off and cause problems in a watch. A watch must be perfectly clean or it won’t work properly. We therefore handle everything with tweezers. A. Dumont is one of the premier tweezer manufacturers in switzerland. I do enjoy their tools. I have 8 pairs of tweezers that I use on a regular basis.

My nickel #12s are the most common. They are big (in watchmaking terms) and soft, so they don’t scratch parts. I have larger tweezers made of brass but I only use them if I am struggling to remove a large part. I have #2, #3, #4, and #5 stainless steel (non-magnetic) tweezers each one sharper than the previous for manipulating small parts like screws and springs. They aren’t great for bridges because they are hard and might scratch. I have some #7 angled tweezers for when I have to use two pair of tweezers next to each other (the angle keeps my hands from bumping into each other). I also have plastic tweezers for handling power cells (batteries).

Images courtesy of the TZToolShop hosted by Otto Frei.

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  1. tk422
    Posted January 17, 2008 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    Bronze tweezers are great too for medium work, and then there’s brass for when you really can’t afford to leave a mark.

  2. jpficklin
    Posted January 17, 2008 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

    Yes, I’ve been meaning to get some bronze tweezers as well, but I haven’t broken down and done it yet. ­čÖé

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