About Watchmaker tools
Tools for maintaining your luxury watch
Owners of luxury watches are quite often watch enthusiasts in general. They know that simply changing a strap can require special tools. A pin remover for example, is essential for removing links on a steel bracelet, thus shortening it to the right size.
A watchmaker's tool kit comes in handy when it comes to doing minor maintenance like replacing a battery on a quartz watch, changing a gasket or cleaning a case. It includes the essential tools, namely the aforementioned pin driver, screwdrivers, a watchmaker's knife (which is notably used to open clipped backs), tweezers to grip small components and a case opener. Indeed, you need a special key to open the case back of a waterproof mechanical watch. A watchmaker's cup is also always welcome, as the components of a watch are so tiny.
Kits to get excited about movements
More and more people are interested in what goes on inside a watch case, and are looking to learn more about movements, especially mechanical movements, and their complications.
Watching or learning how to assemble all the parts of a watch, from the caseband to the movement, to the dial and its hands, to the bezel if there is one, or to the glass can quickly turn into a consuming passion. And this is even more true when we are interested in the components of the movement, all the more numerous as the timepiece includes complications.
The movement of a simple mechanical watch contains an average of 130 components, including in particular the barrel spring, balance wheel, escapement, gear train, winding stem or rotor depending on whether the timepiece is manually or automatically wound. But the number of components can climb much higher as soon as functions such as the date, chronograph, a chime, or great complications (moon phases, astronomical data...) are added.
Enthusiasts - or those who are destined to become one soon - then need more watchmaking tools, which can also be found in the form of kits.
The most complex watches ever made
For example, it should be noted that the most complex Swiss watch ever marketed, in a limited edition of 30 pieces, is the Blancpain 1735, with 740 pieces. Other watchmaking Houses have gone much further. With 33 complications, the Calibre 89 pocket watch from Patek Philippe contains 1728 pieces. It was designed in 1989 and in four examples, on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the House.
In 2005, Vacheron Constantin unveiled its Tour de l'île wristwatch, with 834 components (for 16 complications) housed in a 47 mm diameter case. The brand announced at the time that it took 10,000 hours of research and development to develop it. Five years later, the Franck Muller manufacture somehow smashed that record with its Aeternitas Mega 4, 36 complications, 25 of which are visible, and 1483 components.
Finally, when Breguet presented its Classique Grande complication Hommage à Nicolas G. Hayek, in 2010, the Swiss House announced that this masterpiece had taken 8 years of work. This pocket watch features 36 watch complications for nearly 2000 components.
The history of watchmaking is thus marked by permanent feats, and trying to penetrate its secrets is certainly an exciting adventure.