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Noob question and couldn't find anything through search for tool kit. Pretty much all of the watches I own were purchased online. So if something is on a bracelet I have to go to a jeweler to size it because I've never done it myself, nor do I have tiny tools.

As I look at watches and think "hmm, i'd like to swap that bracelet out for a strap" or "guess I'll have to go get this one sized one it comes".

Is it worth it to get a watch tool kit? if so, which one? Amazon seems to have several relatively cheap kits, but i'd wager the large majority of tools will never get used and I don't even know what I would need for basic sizing/strap swaps.

I see some of the folks modding their seiko's orient's etc, but i can't say i'd likely go that far anytime soon as it looks to be much more involved when swapping out bezels etc..

Do you have tools to do things yourself, or do you have everything done by a pro?
 

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You will need a spring bar tool to remove spring bars, and a couple of small screwdrivers for screw bars such as on a Panerai, good advice is don’t buy cheap as they will burr off very quickly, and is a false economy.

If you want to size bracelets then a pin removal tool is required, again they come in a variety of prices, and cheap is not necessarily a good idea.

As you say the tool kits contain a lot of things you will never use, and if you get a cheap one all the tools will probably be one use before they fall apart.
 

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Yes.

Whatever you do, do NOT go get the cheap-o Amazon or Fleabay "all in one" kits. Nearly everything inside them is junk, even the case they come in.

If you're US, I highly recommend stopping by esslinger.com and snagging each tool you need, piece by piece. My favorite brand is Bergeon.
 

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I bought one of those tool kits when I first started. It's mostly junk. Here's what I use:
- Bergeon spring bar tool (6767? I have to double check). Comes with two tips, a forked end to grab onto the spring bar shoulders, and a tip for bracelet links (or cases with lug holes)
- A set of Bergeon pliers. 7825? I'd have to double check. This really makes removing steel bracelets, where you have to decompress both spring bars at once, much easier. They're a bit more expensive but will save your watch case from unnecessary scratches
- Painter's tape. Lots and lots of painter's tape. Even now, after hundreds of strap changes, I still cover up the lugs almost every time.
- Fancy toothpicks. No, seriously. I use this both for my watch with lug holes, but also when putting the straps back on, as I'll use the fat end of the toothpick to push in the spring bar. Can't scratch your watch with a toothpick. Why take the chance if you don't have to?
- Patience. Lots and lots of patience. And maybe a beater watch or two to get better with. There's a level of precision in your movements that you just naturally get better with over time. Please, do strap changes on your Rolex or Patek. Just start off with a Seiko or Orient first*.

*Not that there's anything wrong with Seiko or Orient, of course.
 

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As with others here I build my tool kit a bit at a time. I have more faith in myself to resize a bracelet without scratching it than I have in other people. A spring bar tool, a couple tiny screwdrivers and a pin pusher or too will allow you to do many jobs.
 

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I guess I'll be the voice of dissent here. I bought one of those super cheap watch tool kits from Amazon, like $15 or $30 all-in. Yes, it is crap. But I've found it to be quite servicable for simple things like sizing bracelets and changing out straps. I even used the watch caseback tool a few weeks ago to change out my own batteries on a couple of quartz watches.

I've also accumulated a few different spring bar tools with various strap purchases over the years. Some work better than others.

I suppose it depends on just how much you're planning on using it. If you're in this for the long haul and plan on doing a lot of work on your watches it might be worth the investment for a set of proper tools. For me, the cheapo kit has paid for itself many times over on savings from doing it myself vs. going to a jeweler for a watch strap adjustment. At the worst, the cheapo kits will help you to figure out what you need and what you don't. I've ended up using most of the included tools at one time or another, which surprised me.
 

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Buy any old tool kit and a good springbar tool like the one below. As you use the kit you’ll soon realise which tools are sub par and want replacing with good ones. Don’t scrimp on the replacements even if you think it’s not worth getting really good stuff because it’ll not get enough use.

4CFC8BEC-B71D-4375-9C64-F27900DB3CB5.jpeg
 

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Buy any old tool kit and a good springbar tool like the one below. As you use the kit you’ll soon realise which tools are sub par and want replacing with good ones. Don’t scrimp on the replacements even if you think it’s not worth getting really good stuff because it’ll not get enough use.

View attachment 14710819

I would have to agree with this. I got an all in one kit, not a super cheap one but one that has the basics in it. The most common thing you will use is a spring bar tool and or a bracelet pin removing tool.

Go on to esslinger.com pick up a tool kit and as noted and upgrade as needed. Also depending on your collection get one of those rubber case back balls they can get most case backs with out scratching. I am not recomending removing case backs unless it is for a battery change out.
 

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I bought a Bergeon 3153 spring bar tool with a couple of straps a few years back and I'm very happy with it. If I'm ever in the market for different tools, I'd probably go for Bergeon again.
That said, there's a bunch of guys on Youtube who do a bit of tinkering with the eBay kits. They admit to the quality being so-so, but if you're just tinkering with test watches and not your grail, I think one of those kits might be a good start.
You can always get the pricey stuff as and when you need to replace the cheaper stuff.
 
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Buy any old tool kit and a good springbar tool like the one below. As you use the kit you’ll soon realise which tools are sub par and want replacing with good ones. Don’t scrimp on the replacements even if you think it’s not worth getting really good stuff because it’ll not get enough use.

View attachment 14710819
Completely agree. Also, get yourself some good Gaffer tape, it comes in handy for any part of the watch you want to protect from scratches while doing just about anything to it and not leaving any nasty sticky stuff behind. The only cheap tools I do use is a little hammer with "punch" tools and a bracelet holder. It's cheap but works very well for sizing certain types of bracelets. The Bergeon mentioned is a must. I personally like Wiha screwdrivers for those bracelets that require screws to be removed, just be sure to get the proper size depending on the watch.
 

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I have the Amazon set, the only part that was junk was the bracelet pin tool. Swapped it out with an all metal model. The zippered case is nice too.

Sent from Capt Kirk's Communicator
 

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I do, but pretty much the only thing I use it for is changing straps/bracelets

Tried my hand at playing around with a cheapo aliexpress watch when I got my kit, and now I know I don't want to experiment with a more expensive watch, now I know that:

1. if I try to remove the case back, using the case back wrench...I'm guaranteed to leave marks on it
2. if I try to remove the dial from the movement, I'll dent it
3. if I try to remove the hands from the movement, I'll dent them trying to put them back on
4. if I try to remove the movement, I'll strip the crown stem putting it back in

although it did make me appreciate just how much care goes into making these watches
 

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I guess I'll be the voice of dissent here. I bought one of those super cheap watch tool kits from Amazon, like $15 or $30 all-in. Yes, it is crap. But I've found it to be quite servicable for simple things like sizing bracelets and changing out straps. I even used the watch caseback tool a few weeks ago to change out my own batteries on a couple of quartz watches.

I've also accumulated a few different spring bar tools with various strap purchases over the years. Some work better than others.

I suppose it depends on just how much you're planning on using it. If you're in this for the long haul and plan on doing a lot of work on your watches it might be worth the investment for a set of proper tools. For me, the cheapo kit has paid for itself many times over on savings from doing it myself vs. going to a jeweler for a watch strap adjustment. At the worst, the cheapo kits will help you to figure out what you need and what you don't. I've ended up using most of the included tools at one time or another, which surprised me.
I've had the same experience. I started with a cheap 19-piece kit from Amazon in 2011 and still have most of the tools. A tip or two have broke or were bent but none have damaged my watches and the majority of the tools are serviceable. I've used them on countless watches over the years. The main items in the kit I won't use are the spring bars.

Now if I had to start over, I might do it differently since I don't use all the tools. In that case, I'd buy some higher quality ones to begin with.
 

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I agree with posters above. I started with a $20 kit, knowing what I was buying. Some of the stuff I still use, and it kept me from buying the better quality more expensive duplicates. .Shortly after I bought a good springbar tool and have been slowly collecting quality tools since. The good ones are expensive, so this way you can buy only what you know you need.

I am really getting into the tinkering part of watch collecting. I bought a $20 bag of watches on Ebay to practice with, all quartz. Learning just how to remove a crown and movement and put it back successfully really wasn't that hard(after destroying a few watches), and extremely gratifying. I would only start on quartz movements and watches I don't care about, though. Keeps me from constantly surfing the sales forum and online shops.
 
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