Over the past few months I have had a number of customers ask me how I do my job, what tools do I use etc. I thought it might be interesting for my customers to see what my workshop looks like and all of the specialized tools that I use everyday.
My workbench is 42 inches tall, 40 inches wide and 17 inches deep. This is the standard working size for most watchmakers. My Dad built my first workbench when I started working at Sirianni Brothers Jewelers in 1977. This bench is in my home shop and I still use everyday. I built my son Tom’s bench and also the one that I have at my uptown shop. I like the idea of building the bench, so that it is “just right”. Since I spend so much time working, I want my bench to be comfortable and practical.
When you are working, you need to be able to find the proper screwdriver or tweezer without looking, so everything is always within easy reach.
You will notice the the outside border of the bench contains lots of Family pictures. This serves 2 important purposes. First, I enjoy looking at pictures of my wife, kids, Mom and Dad while I work everyday. It makes things a bit more peaceful. The second is a bit more practical. I want a tall border around the outside to deflect any parts that may want to escape my work area! Every watchmaker will drop or “twang” something from their tweezers, and these pictures add a bit of extra height to keep any stray parts confined to my desktop where I have a better chance of finding them.
Here are 3 different movement holders that I use most. The black one on the bottom is my original from 1977 and I still use it everyday. Most watchmaking tools will last a long time if you take good care of them
My tweezers are mostly all Dumont brand made in Switzerland. I only use Non Magnetic tweezers for basic assembly work. Nothing worse than magnetized tools!
Screwdrivers are a personal preference with watchmakers. There are lots of different styles and lengths. They are color coded to tell the difference in blade size. I use the black and yellow size on just about every watch.
This is my Dads oil holder that I still use everyday, it is at least 70 years old and still working well. It has two jeweled cups of oil. The oil on the right is standard watch oil that I use for the train wheels etc, the left cup has stem grease that I use to lubricate the winding and setting parts.
Here we have the different types of oil and stem grease that I use on just about every watch. It also shows the silicon gel that I add to the stem/crown to help keep out moisture. It is also used on case gaskets.
Pictured are my hand removers and also 2 different sizes of pin vises. They are used to hold small parts when grinding or filing is needed
These different finishing stones are used for lightly sanding parts, reshaping my screwdrivers or just about anyhting that needs a light polish
This is a small bottle of “One Dip”cleaner that is always on my bench. Some parts are just too small or delicate to go through the cleaning machine, so they are cleaned by hand in this solution. You just dip anything that is oily into the bottle, and then you carefully dry it and you are good to go.
Flashlight and Magnet
The two tools that are within my easy reach are a good flashlight and magnet. No matter how experienced you are in this job, EVERYONE drops something from time to time. A good magnet and flashlight have saved me from disaster on more occasions than I care to talk about. We have all spent a good part of our time crawling around on the floor with a magnet hoping and praying to find that dropped part. Seems like you always drop the one part that can’t be replaced!!
Next week we will talk about the cleaning, timing machines that are in my shop.