Amateur Watchmaking :

Introduction :


Here is a little presentation of the different steps of disasembly of a mechanical movement the FM 96, following the excellent book of Per Torphammar "Amateur Watchmaking" : "A beginner's guide to understand how a watch movement works and a start for learning watch repairs"

This excellent book can be bought on-line on Per's Site : I highly recommand this book to anyone who would like to start in Amateur Watchmaking :

Per's Website




Required tools :

Here is a list of tools I highly recommand in order to start amateur watchmaking : thoses tools came from Bergeon a Swiss supplier of watchmaker's tools . They can be found at local distributors or directly bought on line on Otto Frei Website :

Bergeon Tools Website

Otto Frei Website

Srewdriver Set : (do NOT use low quality small srewdrivers you can find in any local shop ! buy the Bergeon ones !) : Bergeon part number 5970(9 pieces)

Good loupes : I personnally use B&L x4 and x10 but any other good brand will be OK , I recommand the use of headband (for non eyeglass wearer)

Tweezers : #2 and # 5 from Bergeon

Movement holder : Bergeon part number 4040

Movement cover

Dust blower : Bergeon part number 5733

2 covered compartment parts trays

2mm pegwood bundle


Rodico cleaning putty

Lint free watch paper

wood toothpicks

Theses are the basic tools if you want to work on movement only , if you want to deassemble a watch you will also need :

A case opener knife

A case opener wrench (for srewed casebacks)

Hand removers

Case Holder

My advice would be first work on a raw movement without the problem of dial and hands

The bench :



You have probably notice if you have visited your watchmaker that he is not working on an average table : the most distinctive feature of his bench is the height of the table : this is a NEED if you want to work comfortably ... the luxury and costly solution is to buy a ready made bench ... but it is expensive ! or built you own one , very simply and that is what I have done ;-)

I have choosen a ... kitchen table as a bench this kitchen table is fixed on the wall , and therefore can be ajusted to the height you want : my personnal ideal position is at 95 cms from the ground but this may vary depending of your tastes : the kitchen table I have used came from Ikea , as the wood trays you can see on my bench.

The Ikea kitchen table is particulary well adapted if you have a lack of space : it can be folded down on the wall when you do not use it ... and it cost only 29 Euros.






And now ... Action !

WARNING : This article do not intend to replace Per's book ! do not try to start to diassemble a movement without training !

Click on images to get a higher resolution picture

Here is the poor FM 96 manual wind movement ! just before disassembly on the back side
The same movement on dial side, before starting ....
Action : we are working here on dial side and let us unsrew the very first srew , unfortunatly the smallest one of the movement ! it is the first step of deassembly of the motion works
Keyless work apart : a VERY interesting and complex part of the movement : as you can see it is composed of 7 pieces
We now turn the movement upside down and work on the mainspring system we are faced here to a VERY small spring ! the challenge is not loosing it ;-)
The barrel bridge is removed (at last a big piece !)
And it is time now to carefully put the pieces in the tray : note that step by step are grouped together
And this is now how looks our movement : still a lot to do ...
A great moment ! the diassembly of the shock absorbing system : on this movement the Kif system not the easiest one ! (I personnally prefer the Incabloc) : this is the most delicate procedure of disassembly with extremly small parts
Time to remove the most fragile part of the movement : the balance
The wheel train bridge is unsrewed : you can relax with one of the biggest part of the movement (but not the easiest one to re-assemble !)
The wheeltrain is removed
One of the nicest part of the movement : the pallet lever and bridge
Did I mention to you that we are dealing with ... small ... parts !
And here it is ! the bottom plate
Finally all the different parts in their respective trays

I hope you like theses pictures and will give you the idea to start in the fascinating world of amateur watchmaking !

It is not THAT difficult so if you really want to do it GO FOR IT

I would like to thank you VERY much Per Torphammar which help me so much turning a dream into a real hobby , without his book and his precious advices I would probably not start amateur watchmaking