Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Watchmaking 1.0 class every Tuesday night


I'm glad to report that another Tuesday watchmaking 1.0 class went well.  Our focus was on probably the most famous Swiss quartz mechanism of all time - the ETA 955.412.  We got deeply into movement disassembly and the students had a unique opportunity to handle some of the smallest watch components.   Again, we stayed till late but the students who put in extra effort managed to even get their movements assembled with surprisingly little assistance.


Staying still for over an hour and a half, heavily focused on a task, was not easy but the ultimate reward is newly acquired skills and knowledge.  One thing is certain: the more time you spend behind the bench, the more you will appreciate your watch.  And for a watch enthusiast this is a priceless reward in itself. 

For those of you who missed our March course, good news.  On 2 May we are starting the next round with 5 new students. The cost of the course is $400 for four Tuesday night sessions plus the cost of the tools (see below).

While this is not a pre-requirement, we would like to give priority to students who are particularly keen to set up their own work space at home.  If this sounds like you please reply to this email and tell me about your skill level, your age, your interests, and what you would most like to achieve out of the course.

Those of you who are already asking about Watchmaking 2.0, this project is well underway but I'm not quite ready yet to announce it.  All I can say is we will be working on a Seiko diver's automatic watch and you will love it!                

You shouldn't suffer for horology

There is nothing more annoying than a short leather strap!  It's unsafe, ugly and unsophisticated.  If you are cursed (or blessed?) to have an XXL body or wrist, then you are fully aware that 'custom made' is often your only option when it comes to buying shoes, clothing, belts - and leather watch straps.

Occasionally we get asked to add links to a 20cm full size bracelet.  We know there are some big wrists out there and we don't want you to miss out on these beautiful straps. So last month we asked our leather craftsman, James Young from Alice Springs, to help us expand our range of fine hand-made kangaroo straps to include not just XL straps but XXL straps.  And a parcel of 10 pieces arrived yesterday: black, dark brown and tan. The good news: our monster straps are offered at the same price as standard length stock - only $140.

Width: 24mm suitable for all rebelde Titanium models and the newest NH 'manufactured in Australia' model. Of course, this strap would also be a perfect choice for any other watch with 24mm spacing between the lugs such as Panerai or IWC .  The buckle end width is 22mm.



Send me an email to to place your order                   

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Hello machinists

We love our machinist and engineer subscribers and we love sharing with them, and the rest of you, our workshop project updates.  And we have got a beauty today.

A silicon extrusion die for an Australian manufacturer.  The slot is 3mm wide with the radius on the points is 50 microns, cut with 100 micron wire.  Completely manufactured in our Brookvale workshop.  Again, we are not chasing jobs outside the watchmaking industry but when someone knocks on our door in desperation we are only too happy to help.  This is the fourth job for the same company and they now want us to do their entire die production for 2019/2010.  Unfortunately we had to decline.  Our focus must remain on watchmaking.

For more workshop updates follow our Instagram:

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Watchmaking 1.0: the basics

Last night's class was like going through a mincer.

The planned 1.5 hour session went for 3 hours. A small group of five students got their first taste of the decasing of a watch mechanism; they learned what makes a watch tick, and even undertook some minor repairs.  Andrew, Michael, Gemma and myself were at their disposal;  we allowed the students to sit behind our workbenches and even use our own tools. In one word: we have created a very unique atmosphere - turning our workshop and office into an educational facility - like no other in this city of five million.

For those of you who are unable to join us: some basics about watchmaking.

1. Ability to see

A watchmaker’s bench/work space should be located in well lit room, ideally with plenty of natural light. In addition, a bench lamp is essential.  Since you are going to deal with very small and expensive components machined to perfection, you should be able to see them properly.

- bench lamp
- at least two loupes, one with medium magnification and one with higher ( #3 and #1 )

2. Ability to disassemble

A set of quality screwdrivers is absolutely essential.  Go for the best you can afford.  A basic set of 5 screwdrivers is sufficient for a student.  Even more importantly, shaping and sharpening screwdrivers is the first task a student must master.

- set of screwdrivers
- sharpening tool
- sharpening board with abrasives
- movement holder

3. Ability to handle

Quality professional grade tweezers are other essential bench tools. Tweezers come in a variety of shapes and sizes. A student of horology would need at least 3 pairs: medium, fine and sturdy tip. Again, with medium and fine tweezers the only option is to invest in high quality Swiss tools.

4. Practice, practice, practice! 

Get yourself a junk pocket watch movement, or a wrist watch, and start disassembling,  observing and figuring out what each component does and how it is related to others.  Don’t worry about breaking or destroying parts - just practice as much as you can and in a few months you will be ready to take it to the next level.
In order to make your life easier, I have put together the Watchmaker's Tool Kit 1.0.  

It consists of the essential quality watchmaker’s tools . It is a fully 'upgradeable and expandable' set.  Most importantly, it represents value for money, and - unlike cheap tools found on eBay - the Kit 1.0 has even resellable value. Finally, each tool is available individually as a replacement so your kit will remain complete - forever.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Watchmaking on Tuesday

Tonight is our second 'instalment' of Watchmaking 1.0. To say that our small class of 5 students is diverse would be quite an understatement: a medical doctor, funds manager, mysterious 'office worker', a lady locksmith, and a barrister. Yet all of them simply love watches and love learning more about what makes them tick.

Last Tuesday we set our goals, talked a lot, tooled up, had fun - and tonight we are getting into it. Each student will be provided with a watch with a task to research, then pull it apart in a methodical and professional way, under our supervision.  The end goal is to answer just one question: what makes a watch - a watch?

Of course, and as you may have guessed,  I have been already accused of 'prostituting the trade'  by letting 'total outsiders' acquire the tools and 'fiddle with watches'. Some of my colleagues are clearly stuck in the 1930s’ mentality of secrecy and deliberate restriction to keep the trade 'pure and unpolluted'.

Workshop Update

Two pieces of news to report: first, more custom collets for our Citizen lathe are arriving from Germany. The collets are made by the tool specialist Schlenker, and are simply a work of art. This particular one is to hold a 1.2mm diameter screw, long nose construction, for fully automated turning in a sub-spindle. Cost:  around 500 Euros. We now have 5 in the set for various diameters.

Second; you have heard this so many times: "there is no such thing as a broken rebelde/NH watch". And not just for now, or for a decade or two: we intend to look after your watch for generations. For that to happen, we need to keep training young watchmakers and keep stocking spare parts. The box in the photo contains every single component (actually at least seven of each!) for our NH1 calibre: from our own bridges, crews, Swiss gears, pallets, down to the smallest jewel. You bring your broken watch, we say – "no worries, your part is in stock" - and an hour later, your watch is ticking again. How cool is that?

By the way, here is the question: who makes storage boxes to last for 100
years? Well, the company which has been in business themselves for 300 years - Bergeon.     


Thursday, March 7, 2019

"You cannot get them landed in your letterbox any cheaper than NH prices"

They were the very words in an email from one of our subscribers and shop purchasers recently.  In his own words he "wasted nearly 90 minutes trawling the net for Town Talk polishing cloths!    On face value, some look cheaper, but they are the small size.  Or if they are the large size, postage kicks the price right up there!  Or if postage is free, then the Exchange rate kills you!"

John has done the research for you so you don't have to.

What is the price of watch oil per litre?

Just over $25,000.  Luckily, 2mls watch escapement oil will last for a couple of years - even in the busiest repair shop. The amount of oil applied in each ruby jewel is minuscule, however, a re-lube on a mechanical watch would require at least 4 different lubricants.  Watchmakers buy their oil in a 'set' consisting of various grades.  Moebius is the leading watch lubricant supplier, based in Switzerland and owned by Swatch Group.

Applying the oil is an art form - but when using the right tools this task can be mastered even by amateurs and hobbyists.               

Bergeon assortment of oilers Ref. 30102-PO4

Bergeon oilers with protective caps in an assortment of sizes.

Swiss Made.

Price:  $19

Bergeon automatic precision oiler Ref. 7720-5

Drop injection oiler. For train wheel pivots, cup bearings, everywhere the oiler has to be positioned before depositing oil.

Can be used for general work.

Swiss Made.

Price: $150

Moeius lubricant kit for mechanical watches Ref. 8500-KIT-MEC

9104/5 ml Train, frictions steel/steel

9415/2 ml Escapement

9504/5 ml Very high frictions

9010/2 ml Train

9501/5 ml Frictions hand setting

Price:  $250


Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Let's get the ball rolling

Before I even made the decision to start importing and selling Swiss Watchmaker’s tools, I also decided that my tool prices, whenever possible, will be at least equal to the prices of the largest US tool dealers. Not because I have money to burn or a big heart - being competitive means being
better, not equal to.

Enough talk: let’s get the ball rolling:

Bergeon Swiss made plastic tweezers, USD $4.50. My price: AUD $5. Plastic tweezers are used to handle watch batteries: obviously, you can't handle them with metal tweezers (shortcut!) or by hand (leaving a corrosive acid layer). Great tool for any work bench.

Bergeon 7024-1: Stainless steel, non-magnetic and anti-acid watchmaking tweezers. Length: 120mm. Ideal 'all around' tweezers for fine general work. From handling spring bars, bracelet pins down to gears, stems and screws. AUD $35 only.

Bergeon 7024-3 Stainless steel, non-magnetic and anti-acid. Finer tips, a typical professional tweezer priced at a hobbyist's level.

Bergeon 7025-SS Same as above but, my goodness: long (135mm), fine, slender and handsome! Think the Mercedes AMG of Swiss tweezers. AUD $48

AF Switzerland: the famous model #27. Another all-time watchmaker's
favourite. General work. Springy and sturdy, on the heavier side than 7025SS.
AUD $35

Finally a magnificent set of 8 Bergeon tweezers, Ref 7026. US price
converted to AUD: $398 + $30 delivery + $40 GST which totals to over AUD
$470.  My price: $395 plus $9 for next day delivery. GST already included in price! Yes, cheaper than in US!

Stay tuned for more tools soon.   

Bergeon plastic watchmaker's tweezers ref. 6460

Length: 125mm.  Flat, non-corrugated and very fine nose.

Price: $5      



Bergeon anti-magnetic watchmaker's tweezers Ref. 7024-1

Length: 120mm.  Stainless steel, non-magnetic and anti-acid watchmaking tweezers.

These tweezers are for general work.

Price: $35

Bergeon anti-magnetic watchmaker's tweezers Ref. 7024-3

Length:  120mm.  Stainless steel, non-magnetic and anti-acid watchmaking tweezers.

Price: $35

AF Switzerland tweezers Ref. 164.704.27

Length: 135mm.  Weight: 0.2kg.

Stainless steel, non-magnetic and anti-acid watchmaking tweezers.

Swiss Made.

Price: $35

Bergeon anti-magnetic extra long watchmaker's tweezers Ref. 7025-SS

Length:  140mm.  Stainless steel, non-magnetic and anti-acid watchmaking tweezers.

Price:  $48

Bergeon stainless steel anti-magnetic, anti-acid tweezers Ref. 7026

A set of 8 Bergeon tweezers all resistant to corrosion, acids and alkali.

Price:  $395

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

The best investment I ever made

I bought my first Rolex case opener tool from Smith & Smith at 149 Castlereagh St in 1995 for $240.95 which was $40 more than the weekly rent for a brand new 2 bedroom unit.  It was a Bergeon Ref. 5537 which is still as good as new and we use it daily. That single tool has made me thousands - perhaps hundreds of thousands of dollars - and was the best investment I've ever made.

The Bergeon case opener for Rolex watches ref. 5537 is once again available in Castlereagh Street - for your pleasure.  I'll sell you the tool, you write your own history.

*** Bergeon case opener for Rolex waterproof watches Ref. 5537

Bergeon key for opening and closing waterproof and grooved watch cases

Price: $385

*** Bergeon bench vice for waterproof Rolex watch cases Ref. 5700-RO

Total height: 300 mm. Diameter of wheel: 160 mm. Made of die-cast alloy.

Contents: 1 vice No 5674 /  1 set of 6 rings No 5538 with intermediate holder (18.50mm / 20.20mm / 22.50mm / 26.50mm / 28.30mm / 29.50mm) / 2 sleeper screws / 2 wing nuts.

This is a tool for a professional watchmaker or a Rolex second-hand watch dealer.  You will be able to open any Rolex case effortlessly without scratching the watch case back. 

Price: $1,450

*** Bergeon assortment of milled rings to open Rolex Oyster cases Ref. 5538

Bergeon assortment of 6 milled rings with intermediate holder for waterproof grooved cases Ref. 5538.  These rings are used in conjunction with presses 5700.

The same as ref. 5537 except instead of a handle it comes with the adaptor, enabling you to turn your bench press or vice into a case opener.

Price: $350

Monday, March 4, 2019

The easiest thing ever - the only tool you will ever need to adjust your Rolex bracelet

On almost all Rolex Oyster bracelets the bracelet links are held together with a simple screw and if you have the right size screwdriver, shaped correctly, you should be able to remove your links easily. 

For Jubilee models the correct size is 1.4mm.

For Oyster sports models the correct size is 1.6mm.

$18 each

The screw drivers are Swiss-made, top quality Bergeon.  An essential tool for any Rolex owner and, if you will allow me to, at no extra cost I will reshape your screw driver's blade for the job, to perfectly fit the Rolex screw. 

It takes (at least) two

Vacuum part holding: in-house work holding design

Our Kern Pyramid Nano was a custom built machine: the vacuum holding was added on as a special 'watchmaking' accessory. And, until now, we simply had no need to use it.  However, for the past couple of months Josh has been 'secretly' working on a vacuum fixture prototype which he showed me today. I got a lesson on air/oil separation, a Kern custom built compressor and pump, the new 9 mainplate holder - down to asymmetric seal. The first prototype is working fine, and he is now ready to scale it up. 

I've learned a lot – and, once again, it was obvious that neither a watchmaker nor a machinist can make a watch. It is a collaboration and collective effort of two completely different trades and tradesmen that creates a little miracle of mechanical engineering. 

Life is not fair: it is always the watchmaker who takes the credit for it all; it is his name on the dial - where a great deal of credit should really go to the clever, hard-working CNC machinist behind the scene. 

Congrats to all machinists - be proud and keep working hard- you are priceless!

Made in vs. Manufactured in?

Last week we got couple of emails from subscribers wondering why we don't sign our watches as 'Made in Australia'? After all, there are at least 3 other watch brands who do exactly that. And, in addition, 'manufactured' is neither as powerful nor as common to the average watch buyer.

The answer is simple: 'Made in Australia' has lost its relevance and true meaning a few years ago when the Government outsourced the management of the accreditation process to a non-Government agency.   You can import a 100% assembled watch from China to Australia, fit in a battery and strap with a $5 tool on your kitchen bench, and apply for the Made in Australia label. It's a joke.

We prefer to stick with the facts. Manufactured in Australia means that a number of crucial components in our watch have been designed, manufactured, hand finished and assembled in our own workshop. And if this is not impressive enough: we even design and manufacture our own tools and work holdings.

Our customers are not gullible newcomers to horology but knowledgeable enthusiasts who can tell the difference between cheap imitations and the real deal.  "By their fruits you will know them; thorn bushes do not bear grapes, and briers do not bear figs" - or as a modern translation puts it: "you will know them by what they produce".

Thursday, February 28, 2019

The second most intimate watchmaker's tool: screwdrivers

Screwdriver blade - before and after polishing

Today our focus is on screwdrivers - the second most intimate watchmaker’s tool. (We'll talk about THE MOST intimate tool some other time).

What is the big deal?

1. Your mechanical watch contains at least a dozen different screws. They vary in size, shape and purpose. The range of screw sizes found in a typical watch goes from 0.50mm to 3mm so your set should contain all sizes.


How To Use Screwdriver

2. The width of the screw head slot varies greatly from calibre to calibre.  Therefore, before disassembly can commence, the screwdriver’s blade must be shaped to fit the exact screw slot.

3. Blades are made of hardened carbon steel, and even with utmost care, they can chip. Being able to restore them to new condition is essential.

4. Using an incorrect screwdriver blade will cause permanent and often irreversible damage to screws. This is a sign of extremely poor craftsmanship. This is why properly trained apprentices spend weeks learning how to perfectly shape and sharpen screwdrivers - before they even attempt their first disassembly.

Bottom line: if you just bought a fine Bergeon or AF screwdriver set but don't know how to shape and sharpen your screwdrivers - you've made an amateur mistake.

Good news: here is what you need to do:

- Get yourself a proper, genuine Swiss made screwdriver's sharpening tool.
We sell Bergeon sharpening tool Ref. 2461

- Get a fine polishing stone OR 3M lapping film sheet in a range of grades
While a polishing stone is traditionally the abrasive of choice, my suggestion is to go for 3M lapping/polishing abrasive sheets. This is a cost saving solution, a practical and quick alternative to stones. The sheets come in a variety of grades (40 microns down to 1 micron, even as fine as 0.05 micron!. Some of the lapping 3M sheets are used in optical, electronic and other industries and are considered a military strategic product, not available to the general public. Getting the sheets imported to Australia from the US took 3 months, plenty of frustration and considerable cost, but we are pleased to be able to offer the 3M sheets to our customers at just $9 per sheet, GST included.

We use 3M daily - not just for screwdrivers but for anything - from deburring to screw head polishing. It is also a popular choice for knife blade polishing.

In stock: grades 40/30/12/9/3/1/0.05 micron, A4 sheet size. The sheets come with PSA (pressure sensitive adhesive) so they can be glued on perspex/glass plates.

What is the best size for you? That would depend on the application. We have 'developed' our own board consisting of 6 stripes (20 x 3cm) of various grades, to be used with a Bergeon screwdriver roller. Only $19.
Available at:

3M film is not just your ordinarily 'sand paper' - it can be cleaned and will last you for a very long time, even if used daily.         
             Bergeon Assortment Of 10 Screwdrivers With Spare Blades

Bergeon Screwdriver Sharpener

             Watchmaker Screwdriver Sharpening Board In 6 Different 3M Lapping Strips         
     3M Lapping/Polishing Film with PSA 1 Micron          

             3M Lapping/Polishing Film with PSA 40 Microns         

             An Assortment of 7 Papers          

Need a watchmaker's loupe, screwdrivers, tweezers or a bench mat?  Visit our online shop: -

The Banjo Paterson Test

The $10 Australian polymer note bears the portrait of Banjo - and makes a perfect tester for the mirror finish of our screws. When Banjo is placed under a certain angle over the perfectly hand-polished screws, one can see the reflection of his country house with the windmill. "Land of plenty, land of one".

As you already know: our Australian manufactured screws are designed, machined, deburred, hardened, hand polished and tempered in Brookvale.