In this 3rd part of my blog on the “tools of the watchmaking trade” I will show you some of the machines that I use everyday in the watch shop.  Lets get started with the heart and soul of my shop, my cleaning machine.

Cleaning Machine

I have been using the RM-90 German made cleaning machine for the past 10 years.  It is a true workhorse of my business. It is completely automatic, I put in the watch basket and push a button and the machine will take the watch through a cleaner and then 2 rinse solutions. It then goes to the dryer.  After abut 20 minutes, the watch is cleaned, dried and ready to reassemble.  To be honest with everyone, the cleaning machine solves about 80 % of all problems concerning most watch repairs.

cleaning basket full
a watch taken apart in the basket ready to clean
cleaning basket
Basket read to go into the machine
cleaning machine
compact cleaning machine ready for work

Watch Timing Machine

Here you can see a rolex movement on the microphone portion of my electronic timing machine. The stand is movable so that i can check the timing in any position that I want.  I check it in at least 4 positions, dial up, dial down, stem up and stem down. I try and get all 4 positions running at the same speed, that is the hard part during any watch repair….

timing machine 2
Rolex movement on the timing machine
timing machine
Rolex running at 3 seconds fast a day, not bad for a 50 year old watch.

Buffing Machine

This is the dirtiest and least favorite part of my job.  The right side wheel has the cutting compound that takes out scratches, buffs crystals etc.  The left wheel has “rouge” that puts the high polish back on a case.

buffing machine

Ultrasonic cleaner

This is my small ultrasonic cleaner that I use everyday.  After a case is buffed, it goes in the ultrasonic for about 5 minutes. The cleaning solution removes most of the buffing compound and dirt in the band etc.  After this, it is scrubbed with soap and hot water to remove any leftover dirt.  I then dry the case and we are finished and ready to install the movement.

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Staking set

My staking set is used to replace a balance staff on a watch. It is also used in a variety of different jobs when you need to punch or tighten a part.  It is a very precise tool and will last a lifetime if cared for.  This one is mine from 1977.   Still going stong.

staking set

Replacing a balance staff










Poising Table

The poising table is used to check the balance after a new staff is installed.  The balance wheel must be adjusted to make sure there are no heavy spots on the wheel, the poising table is used to check this.



Pressure tester

This pressure tester is used to check the water resistance of a Rolex. A watch case is installed in the tester above the water.  The it is pumped up to pressure and left to sit for a few minutes.  The watch is then lowered into the water and the pressure is released. If there are any leaks, they will show up as bubbles of air escaping from the case.
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Watch this short video of a Rolex leaking during a pressure test.


One of my most useful tools, is this small but very powerful demagnetizer. Nothing worse that a movement or tweezers that are magnetized.

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