Newbie - buy tools at NAWCC event?


Registered User
Jan 2, 2011
Richardson, TX
I have become bitten by the old watch repair/collect bug. At an estate sale I met an NAWCC member who advised me of a regional event in my area (Dallas) in March. I just joined NAWCC and look forward to this event. Being a newbie I need tools. I'm learning the importance of screwdrivers already since I have yet to get a screw out with a cheap set of "precision" screwdrivers (I have a few pocket watches, I think I need to try one of them instead of wristwatches). Anyway, would you advise I buy tools at this event instead of online? At least I would see what I am getting and get free advice too. Thanks,


Registered User
Nov 26, 2008
It is a slippery slope you are approaching-- most of us have slid a LONG way already!;)
I would highly recommend buying tools at NAWCC events, either regionals or local chapter meetings. Be patient--sometimes it takes time to find just what you're looking for. Buy quality, too.
One or two things I would not buy used, unless the condition is very good, and these are :
Screwdrivers. Stay away from Asian or Indian cheapies and stick with Swiss or the French sets. You might have to swallow hard when it comes to spending $75-$100 for a set of screwdrivers, but the first time your cheapie driver skips out of a slot and across a gold case or high grade mvt you'll wish you had spent a little more for quality. And pick up a sharpening jig and stone to keep your screwdrivers in top form. You'll never regret it.
Tweezers. Again, unless you get a set you know to be good, buy new. And no Indian or Asian here, either. The quality is just not there. I would recommend two sets of "3-C", and if you can find them, I recommend brass ones. They do require more care, but are gentler on some of the more delicate parts. I use them most of the time, and prefer to manipulate bridges, etc with them. A pair if No.5's are good for hairspring work, and I use a set to work with roller jewels as well. But the ones I use for hairsprings are used ONLY for hairsprings.
A very good source for tweezers is Dashto Horological . He has a great website and is very fair with his prices. If his tweezers are described as excellent or new manufacture, they're good.
Loupe or Opti-Visor for magnification
A good light and a stable, comfortable place to work
I could go on, as you can tell, but you'll learn as you go. Join a local chapter or two and get to know the folks there. You'll be pleasantly surprised at how helpful everyone is. Good Luck. George (in Pa., that is)


NAWCC Member
Feb 1, 2007
Rolling Hills Estates, CA
Regarding screwdrivers, the first thing you're going to have to learn is how to re-grind them to suit the screws at hand. Even if you go out and spend the $$$ on the very best Swiss set they will not fit the screws in your 1930's Waltham right out of the box. (They will, sort of, fit the screws in a current manufacture Swiss movement.) So when shopping for screwdrivers what you are really buying is a nice set of handles.
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