The world is set up for right handed people, that is just the way it is. Unfortunately there are a lot of “lefties” out there that need to make their way in a right handed world. My son Tom is one of those people. He is a natural lefty and does everything with that hand. That is a common trait in our family, my brother is left handed, Jan can use both, her mom is left handed as is her sister. Normally this is no big deal, but learning how to fix watches as a lefty has its challenges.
Another issue that Tom battles is he is right eye dominant. Most people don’t really know what this is Here is a brief test to see where you are. Next time you look in a telescope or if you hunt, a rifle scope, which eye do you use?? Most people that are right handed are right eye dominant and lefties are left eye. Tom is the exception to this rule. He is left handed and right eye dominant. You might wonder what the big deal is.
This picture shows how Tom works, left hand with a screwdriver looking through his right eye. He needs to cross in front of himself in order to work, a bit more difficult to master, but he has figured it out.
When Tom was first learning the art of watchmaking, the first thing we needed to deal with was how to use a loupe and what style we would use. There are 2 options, the loupe that attaches to your glasses, or a standard head band loupe. Both are fine, just a matter of preference. For me when I started, I did not wear glasses and wore a head band loupe for about 18 years, then my eyes started to change a bit and I needed to wear glasses so I switched to a a glasses loupe.
Toms problem is he wears glasses, but prefers to wear contacts all day. He did not like a headband loupe, so now we were challenged on how to wear a loupe with glasses and contacts!! Along with our eye doctor, we came up with a simple solution. We bought a pair of glasses that used a lens with no prerscription, just a clear piece of glass. In this way, he can wear his contacts and also a loupe that is attached to his glasses. Simple solution to a complicated problem.
One issue that both of us deal with is trying to find a set of glasses frames that will work with our loupe. Most of the current cool glasses have side pieces that are too thick and wont work. You need a thin set of metal frames to hold a loupe.
Now onto the issues of actually fixing a watch as a lefty. Sounds easy, but even watches are set up for the right handed world. Listed below is a clear example of how difficult it is to simply remove a dial screw on a rolex. The way the watch is made, it is set up for the screwdriver to come in from the right, no way for a lefty to loosen this screw.
Tom figured out a solution, he needs to flip the movement upside down, then he can loosen the screw coming from the left side!
Another problem for Tom is opening a snap back case. Most case backs have a slot in the back so you can get a bench knife under the back to remove the back. This slot is located in the upper right hand corner of the back, perfect for a right handed person to open it. Unfortunately, it is just about impossible for a lefty to reach around with his left hand and get enough pressure on the back to pop it off.
Overall, Tom has made all of the adjustments needed to become a very good watchmaker. He has lots to learn but is well on the way of mastering his craft, a little thing like being left handed won’t slow him down!