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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello guys,

Continuing my recent inquiries regarding the right tools, I was wondering what are some decent and not expensive watchmakers loupe to purchase?

Right now I am using cheap Chinese made loupe, they magnify as they should. But I want to know if I am missing something for not using a more higher grade loupe ?

What is your opinion ? Any advice will be much appreciated.


Many thanks,
Db1


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Bausch & Lomb my friend. I've tried others through the years but they've been the best for me. What you're missing with the cheap loupes is clarity. I've got cheap loupes, I use them to carry around with me when I'm out at shows or whatnot so that if I leave one laying somewhere it's no loss. But for working at the bench you need GOOD magnification as well as a loupe that's comfortable to use for longer periods of time. I'm sure others will be along with their favorite brands and you'll get several good choices to pick from. One thing to consider is how well they fit your eye, unless you're planning on using spectacle loupes. I tried those as well but always ended up with glare between the loupe and my glasses, so when I sit down at the bench the first thing that happens is my glasses get taken off and put in the corner of the bench so I can use my eye loupes. Your mileage may vary.....;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Thank you for the in-depth answer!

And what magnification levels do you use more for movement work?

I was considering a stereo microscope for movement work but they are a little pricey for what I do right now. Any comment on that?




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Hi,
For loupes that attach to glasses, I prefer Behr loupes. Some people will get a pair of reader glasses, remove the lenses and use a loupe that attaches to glasses. I've used Behr for close to 40 years and wouldn't switch. I use 4X for general work. http://www.behrloupes.com/
Samantha
 

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Behr makes good quality stuff too, Samantha's right about that. You'll want some different magnifications for different jobs, the 4X that she recommended is a good compromise loupe to get you started. A stereo microscope? I don't think you'll need that anytime soon. I've been doing this for 25 years and I don't have one....;). Of course if my eyes get any worse it might end up being an option...
 

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Like Samantha I also use a Behr loupe on my reading glasses for general assembly work - very handy to be able to just flip it out of the way to look at the timing machine etc. while I'm working on something at the bench.

For more detailed loupe I use a B&L 10X loupe, but you should make sure it's not the very cheap style. You will want the aplanatic loupes that give full clarity right to the edges of the lens - this will reduce eye fatigue considerably.

And yes I use a binocular microscope as well for specific things like oiling co-axial escapements, which you simply can't do using just a loupe. I also use it for inspecting parts for wear, checking adjustments on chronographs, some balance spring work, etc. I can't imagine being without a microscope of some kind...

Cheers, Al
 

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I'll be referring mostly to loupes of the 10x variety,not all loupes are good.Sometimes you get lucky and end up with a single lens that gives a good image- but you can't rely on that.Bausch & Lomb even manufactures one that has built-in illumination... very useful.
 

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I had decent experience with Horotec 10x loupe. Less distortions than B&L single lens 10x, and brighter. One thing I need to find is a proper headband that would hold it - it is a smaller diameter than B&L and the standard Bergeon headband doesn't work with it.
 

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If you like the idea of a double loupe that attaches to glasses, but are on tight budget, here's one tip:

Cousins sells this double loupe for £3.95: https://www.cousinsuk.com/product/watchmakers-loupes-cousins-double. Definitely not a high quality construction, but fully usable and well adjustable. The lenses on the other hand provide quite modest magnification, and the difference in magnification is also quite small when using one lens or two lenses together.

But, the lens size is the same as in Cousins' cheap basic loupes, like these: https://www.cousinsuk.com/product/cousins-screw-rimmed. You could buy a few of these with different magnifications and try the lenses on the double loupe, until you find a combination that suits your different needs. Like one lens for basic work, second one for more demanding tasks, and both together for jewel inspection etc.
Actually you can go even cheaper with these very basic loupes https://www.cousinsuk.com/product/cousins-standard, but I think the plastic body must be broken to get the lens out.

Yes, this is a low quality solution, and many here will say that it doesn't belong to the "decent" category that the OP asked for, but it has worked just fine for me.
 

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So I compared the B&L 10x triplet-lens (expensive one) with Bergeon Aplanatic 10x. Liked Bergeon better: better optical quality and better built. Actually, B&L was just plain horrible: scratchy rim of the loupe, poorly put together. My old 4x B&L was WAY better.
 

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So I compared the B&L 10x triplet-lens (expensive one) with Bergeon Aplanatic 10x. Liked Bergeon better: better optical quality and better built. Actually, B&L was just plain horrible: scratchy rim of the loupe, poorly put together. My old 4x B&L was WAY better.

Really? Wow. I haven't bought a loupe in about 20 years but if what you're saying is accurate then B&L has gone downhill since then.
 

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Loupes are what I think of as one of the "big three", the 3 tools you use almost 100% of the time. For these, why go cheap?
1 & 2 are tweezers and screwdrivers, both extensions of your hands. Why go cheap? Don't go nuts, but geez, I see no reason to handicap yourself.

#3 are loupes as they're the extension of your eyes. Again, don't go cheap.

By cheap I mean buy a bigger named brand rather than super-cheap overseas product. You don't have to buy Bergeon for everything, but get solid stuff.

If you dump out of the hobby, you can resell good tools later. Crappy ones you can't.

I like B&L.

I use 3 sizes 4X, 7X and 10X. I rarely use my 10X. The field of view is too small. It's a 50/50 split for the 4X and 7X. Both are great for general purpose kinds of repairs and work like springbars.

I use a write loop to hold them in place on my head.

I've tried more expensive ones than B&L and found some have a smaller field of view. I'll take larger view area over superior optics that I can't really differentiate.
 
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