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Bergeon’s new screwdrivers

by Jordan Ficklin

I’ll be the first to admit that the standard Bergeon screwdrivers are not the best screwdrivers available. They were a part of my school tool kit and I still use them, but with just 4 years of use on them they’re showing wear. I suspect I’ll be buying new ones pretty soon. Ever since I was in school I have wanted the Horotec set with ball bearing heads because they work so smoothly. I think I found a new screwdriver for my next purchase.

First, I should say that besides my personal set of screwdrivers I probably have 4 or 5 different styles in my shop, including a few screwdrivers from the Horotec Set. The problem with my Bergeon set is that the tops keep coming off. They are kept in place by a springy split top but the spring loses tension and the tops seem to slide off. They also aren’t terribly smooth.

At the AWCI Convention I received one of Bergeon’s new 6899 screwdrivers and I will admit it’s nice. Here’s what I like about it: It has a larger diameter and a good gripping surface. It really does feel nice and the larger diameter gives just a little more torque for the stubborn bracelet screw. The rotating tip is now made out of some fancy new material, but best of all it is difficult to get off and goes on with a nice snap. It doesn’t require any lubrication and it rotates smoothly. I have been using the one size I received (1.60mm) exclusively the past month.

Some of the downsides are that it’s larger diameter keeps it from fitting well in my old base which means I’ll have to buy the set with the base, (The base (with extra tips) seems to run about $75 extra over the wooden box) and it is now the most expensive set of screwdrivers in any tool catalog I have.

All in all — I like it! I expect when my current set really starts to bug me, I’ll be getting a set of these.

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7 Comments

  1. Michael O
    Posted September 2, 2008 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    I priced those Horotecs out and they are roughly three times the cost of the Bergeon set. Yow!!! Hope they are tax-deductable for pro watchmakers.

  2. Gnargoudious
    Posted September 2, 2008 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    How does the rotating top compare to the Horotecs? I’d imagine it’s a huge improvement over the old Bergeons (the French AF ones have a nicer feel, though they have a habit of coming apart even when they’re new). It would be cool if the plastic allowed bearing-smoothness without bothering with bearings.

    The rubber grips seem like a solution to a non-problem, though, and they’re enough more expensive than Horotec that I’m not tempted to buy them. The nicest thing about both of them is that they’re stainless; flaky chrome is unbecoming of a watchmaking tool. ­čśë

  3. J.Peter
    Posted September 2, 2008 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    Michael,

    Add about $30 or $40 more for the new Bergeon ones above and beyond the Horotecs.

    Gnargoudious,

    I found that the top rotates just as smoothly as the bearings do. The material is some kind of self lubricating material. It doesn’t spin freely like ball bearings but it rotates extremely smoothly. It’s not so much the rubber grips that I like as it is the extra diameter it offers. You really do get more torque with them when you need it.

  4. Prem
    Posted September 3, 2008 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    Hi guys,
    I have been using ‘Horotec’ products for quite some time now, and an absolute must have is their screwdriver range, frankly I haven’t gone back to Bergeon since. Thanks to Jp for highlighting the scredriver issue, it seems to me that Bergeon need to do some radical thinking on their product line, for whoever I speak to in Switzerland now use Horotec.
    Ps- A big secret is their ‘MaxiPress’ an indespensable all-in-one caseback opener and tool/ opens virtually any watch.
    Cheers,
    Prem

  5. Prem
    Posted September 30, 2008 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

    Hey JP,
    Thanks a mil for the ‘Bergeon’ new type screwdriver that you sent me! Yes, it does compare favourably against the set given to me by Horotec, I liked the virtually new look to their screwdrivers, as in the futuristic grip-made in rubber, and also the ball bearings are smoother- likely that the production was made via CNC machinery (For the ball bearings as well as the screwdriver itself)
    Cheers for that mate!
    Prem

  6. J.Peter
    Posted September 30, 2008 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

    Prem, thanks for the review. If you were in the market for new screwdrivers and they were priced the same would you use the Horotec or New Bergeon?

  7. Prem
    Posted October 1, 2008 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    I’d use a set of both mate!! Almost the same, except for the fact that now I am used to Horotec for most of my screwdriver tools- Bergeon has some catching up to do, in the 1970’s and 1980’s Bergeon was the only big watchmaker supply house. Now there is 21st century competition, with several players including Horotec- Vaucher-etc, so Bergeon got a little sidetracked. With the new screwdrivers will also come some advancements in different tools and shapes., Cheers for that one Jp..
    Prem

One Trackback/Pingback

  1. […] back in 2008 I got my hands on Bergeon’s new screwdrivers and wrote a little review. Well lets update the review. I’ve downgraded the Bergeon screwdrivers to a Don’t Buy. […]

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