Pivot tools ?.


Registered User
Oct 17, 2016
Hi All
New to game , having a go at reseating a pivot that is out on an old pocket watch I have . I lifted the plate to try and replace it and guess what , the other pivots slipped out :mad:.
Now can anybody tell me if there are any special tools I use to get in whilst holding the plate on to slide the pivots in . I have seen a
Clock watch repair tool pivot locator for bigger clocks but is there any for pocket watches ?.


NAWCC Member
Nov 15, 2009
Williamson County, Texas
Patience, tweezers, and GENTLE pressure to keep the ones in place that were already in place. A good supply of swear words and profanities also comes in handy. Did I mention patience? :) We who fix these things have all been there. Happy learning!



NAWCC Member
Jan 7, 2011
Breamore, Hampshire, UK
Hi micky0121,

One trick is to use rubber bands to apply light pressure to the plates, just enough to stop pivots slipping out, but not enough to cause any damage. Then use fine tweezers to juggle the pivots into place. Another thing is with full plate movements it's safer to assemble them with the pillar plate upwards; less chance of damaging the lever pivots.





Registered User
Mar 14, 2008
What type of watch are we talking about? Picture might help!
If it is a valued hairloom you might want to consider getting some help.....

Some thoughts that comes to mind are:

- Remember to make sure the mainspring is let down.

- Removing the balance and fork may give better access to some trainwheels.......

- Some are easier to assemble upside-down.......

- The winding mechanism may cause some problems.....

- Why was the pivot out of position in the first place? Broken?


Registered User
Oct 17, 2016
Let the hairspring down , Will check pivot never thought of that . And watch is a practice item so I can practice with it .


Registered User
Apr 15, 2005
Loxahatchee, Florida
When I use to only repair clocks I recall looking at a watch thinking, "Oh heck no!". The real issue was that I couldn't really see what I was doing.

I compare vision with watch repair allot like fishing. When I am using a low magnification like a lighted magna-visor it's like casting a line out in the water and dangling the bait in front of the fish. You can't really tell what's going on till the fish bites or you get the desired response, like for example a screw that starts to catch the thread correctly. You don't really need to see as much as feel.

The next level of magnification is the loupe. The loupe is great and it is like swimming down next to the fish. You get to see them eat the bait up close and personal. Understand though that this is not always desirable. The more magnification you have the closer your head/eye has to be to the object. At one point I use to try to use my loupe when turning things on the lathe. My nose use to rub on the lathe pulley and get a rub burn. But I was dedicated...

I currently use a 15x and sometimes have to switch to 10x or the magna-visor (about 4x). Another problem with high magnification is the spread of visual distance is compromised. You may have a loupe on that allows you to see real well the pinions on a gear when out of the movement, but when it's in the movement since you have to have the piece real close to the eye you might not be able to get far enough into the watch to see. For example, if you where using a 15x then anything greater than about 1/2 inch away is too much out of focus.

The next step in my exploration of magnification came when as mentioned that I would get rub burns on my nose from the watchmaker lathe pulley. So I had to find a solution but in my budget. My first attempt to conquer this situation was to purchase a set of stereo magnification loupe.

They actually work well in magnification terms and I could wear them on my glasses and see great. That is I could see great till my head swayed ever soo slightly. The higher the magnification the more sensitive the focus. This was something I had not considered.

I tried real hard to maintain steadiness with my head while I was turning on the lathe but quickly realized it was a poor solution.

Finally I decided to spend the bucks and I got the correct solution to the magnification problem with the lathe. The Binocular Microscope. Tada...!!!

The binocular microscope gives nearly the best of both worlds. It allows you to see up close and personal, has steady support so that the object stays in focus and it's not did-orientating. I got a stereo model meaning a lens for each eye and mine has 10x to 60x magnification capability. The binocular microscope unlike a regular one has WORK SPACE CLEARANCE. So a person can use tools under the lens to operate on the object.

But I tell you, it has not replaced the loupe or the magna-visor. It is job specific to the lathe or the turns. Most of the time I use my Magna-visor and my 15x loupe. Others here say 10x is good enough magnification for them.

One really good point about being able to see is to actually see the pivot tips sticking out of the jewel holes on many movements. You really have to establish if the pivots are in the proper location before you screw the plates down or else "tink". The tiny noise of a pivot snapping.

Especially lever pivots. For those it's usually a combination of see, test and then screw down.

There was once somebody who said here "If you can see it, you can do it". I am a firm believer in that.

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Registered User
Apr 11, 2004
St. Albans, UK
With full plate American pocket watches I assemble gearing on the back plate and lower the pillar plate over. Centre and 4th wheel pivots are longer and can be located relatively easily. Then it remains to locate the third, escape and lever pivots only. Also, the lever needs to be located on the back plate before assembly with the fork end in place through the gap above the balance lower jewel housing and lined up between the banking pins. I agree that often much patience is needed with several re-starts on occasion. It also helps to fit the plate screws and very gently move in a few turns whilst teasing the last pivots into place. Never never tighten though or pivots / jewels will be damaged. When I think all pivots are located I use a piece of pegwood on the centre wheel to test and then progressivly tighten the plate screws and again test before final tightning.


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