A list of the must-have watch tools for the watch obsessed!
There comes a point for every person who collects watches where you suddenly realise you need to add, upgrade or just improve the watch tools you have. Initially, when you first get into the hobby you can survive for a while with a basic spring bar tool, but eventually, you’ll want to remove a link from a bracelet yourself, try and shift that pin that seems to be stuck and you’ll be desperate to take a look at that beautiful movement in detail.
Don’t worry though, we’re here to give you a helping hand when looking for the best watch tools available. If you’re just getting into the hobby or you’re looking to better what you already use - we have you covered.
1. A quality springbar toolAsk anyone who knows a little about watches and they will advise you to get yourself a spring bar tool. These handy tools are perfect for those times you want to remove a strap from your watch and change it to something different. Sure you can pick them up for around £5 online, but this is very much a false economy. Either it will end up breaking on you in a short space of time, or due to its less than ideal quality, it will slip on you and potentially cause damage to your watch.
There are a few watch spring bar tools we’d recommend here with each serving a slightly different purpose.
The first is our Professional Spring Bar Tool (1004). With an RRP of £18, this option strikes a brilliant balance between quality and value for money. A benefit of this tool is you have a wider fork for leather straps, a thinner one for metal and also a flat-ended piece (useful for attached metal bracelets back onto the watch). Check it out here.Next is the Spring Bar Pin Removal Tool (1058). This only has 2 ends (a fork and a pin) however this tool is great for the person on the move. With removable covers on each end, you can throw this in a bag or watch roll without any concerns about the metal ends damaging your watches. It is also smaller in length than the 1004. Make one yours here!
Finally, we have the daddy of spring bar tools, the Bergeon spring bar tool 6767-F. This is easily one of the best springbar tools on the market and can last a lifetime. Bergeon has been creating watch tools for over 200 years with anyone who is anyone working on watches using their tools. The Bergeon 6767-F is £23 and available here) but this level of quality is precise and reassuring.
Professional Spring Bar Tool (1004) - £18
Spring Bar Pin Removal Tool (1058) - £12
Bergeon spring bar tool 6767-F - £23
2. Watch link removal toolWhen you pick up a new watch there is a high chance that you will probably have it sized in the boutique to fit perfectly before walking out with a big smile on your face. But with the continued growth of e-commerce sales, your watch could easily arrive and require a little bit of work to remove watch links. You could make your way down to a jeweller to get a link removed, or you could pick up a link removal tool. The most common configuration of a link removal tool is known as a pin pusher.
This link pins remover is designed so you can lay the bracelet on the tool and turn the handle which results in pressure being added to the pin holding the links together. After just a few turns, the pin will have been pushed out fully and you’ll be able to remove the link.
Some bracelets use screws so will require screwdrivers (more on those in a minute) but if your bracelet has pins, a watch link removal tool should be in your ownership. It’s worth checking this before you pick up a tool, just to make sure you have the right watch link removal kit.Tip: you’ll know if your bracelet is held together by link pins as on the underside of the bracelet, you should see some arrows telling you which direction to push the pin out!
Here are a couple of watch pin removal tools that are extremely handy at getting the job done with ease:
3. An Eye LoupeAlthough a loupe’s practical benefits are somewhat limited when compared to the other tools on this list, owning an eye loupe is a must for any prolific watch collector. The obvious benefit of owning a loupe is that it will allow you to get a closer look at the details of your watch. Interested in seeing how raised those hour markers are? Curious to check out how deep a scratch really is on your watch case? Need to get a closer look at a reference number or movement detail? A quality eye loupe is the answer to all of the above!
Naturally, you have a range of options here. To start with there is the Geckota Eye Loupe. This is a solid entry-level loupe if you’re starting from nothing and will serve you extremely well.If you’re after something a little more premium that can withstand a knock or two, you’ll want to check out the Premium Geckota Metal Eye Loupe. As the name suggests, this has a full metal construction along with more choices of magnification. There is also a removable plastic end for the loupe which is based on the design of a rotating dive bezel.
Available with 3x, 5x, 10x and 20x magnification, there is plenty of choice for the serious collector. Check them out for yourself here!
4. Calipers or a lug width toolHaving a basic understanding of the proportions of watches is extremely useful as your interest in watches develops. Once you have a good idea of what case width, thickness, lug to lug and even lug width you prefer then hunting down that next watch is made a little easier. For this, grab yourself a set of calipers. Now don’t get me wrong, a ruler can be quite useful to get an idea of a measurement, but really when we’re talking about watches and we’re using millimetres as the unit, a set of calipers is a must.
Head over to Amazon for a wide selection and make sure you’re looking at a digital pair. It will make reading the measurement so much more accurate.
Alternatively, if you’re looking to just have something that can help you measure the lug width of a watch or strap, check out our handy watch strap tool! It's a handy little piece of kit to have lying around that makes checking lugs or straps a breeze.
5. Spring barsOkay so you have yourself a solid watch collection, but it's about time you get good use out of that fancy new spring bar tool of yours and begin changing straps. For this, you’ll need to get yourself some spring bars. You can use the OEM spring bars from the standard strap of your watch if you wish, but I always like keeping the original strap and spring bars together if I’m not wearing them as some brands (like Rolex) have unique spring bars. Some replacement watch straps come with quick release spring bars making everyone’s life a little easier, but quite a lot of straps don’t, meaning having a good selection of spring bars to hand will be a lifesaver.
There are a few ways to get your hands on spring bars. If you only need a set or two then you can pick up the exact size you need here (make sure you use those calipers or lug width tools we just spoke about to get the right size!). Available in bags of three spring bars (in case one goes pinging across the room, we’ve all been there).Alternatively, you can grab yourself a set of 20 spring bars at all widths ranging from 18mm - 22mm here. This is a great way to stock up on spring bars nice and quickly. If you’re someone who owns a range of watches with different lug widths this is a great way to get a head start - all you need now is some shiny new watch straps to match.
Check out our range of impressive, well-priced watch straps here including:
A demagnetizer is one of those pieces of kit you don’t think you’d need until you do. Nowadays we spend most of our lives surrounded by magnetic fields of some sort. From headphones, laptops, iPads, PCs and microwaves you name a piece of tech and it probably has magnets in it (even the latest iPhone had a huge round magnet on the back).
Magnets can cause issues for mechanical watches so for this, a demagnetizer is your friend. Once you know your watch is magnetized (there are phone apps to help with this) simply place your watch on top of the demagnetizer, push and hold the button for 10 seconds, slowly lift the watch and release the button. Double-check with the app to make sure it's a good job done and you’re off!
A demagnetizer can be had for around £10 on Amazon.
7. ScrewdriversNot necessarily the most essential set of tools but still extremely useful to have, a good set of screwdrivers can be very handy. Some watches and bracelets use screw links to secure together so if you ever wanted to remove or add a link, you’ll need some screwdrivers. Some watch brands also require screws to attach straps to the case (Oris and your Aquis I’m looking at you) but most of the time you’ll find these are custom screws and a screwdriver will be provided with the watch.
When it comes to grabbing yourself a set of screwdrivers, like most things on this list there are options. To start with you’ll need to decide on the tip size to go for. We’ve found that 1.6mm and 2.5mm should cover all bases for you. You can of course go down the Bergeon route, but this can be a pricey one (Bergeon tools can set up back up to three figures), especially if you’re starting from zero screwdrivers in the collection.
If you’d rather opt for a screwdriver that isn’t going to cost as much as a daily beater watch, we offer well priced (and well made) 1.6mm and 2.5mm sized screwdrivers here for £12 each.
8. Caseback removerThis is a tool that will be more relevant to those who have vintage watches, as taking the caseback off a modern watch (although doable) could cause issues with water resistance or even warranties if something doesn’t quite go to plan. Vintage watches however are a different ball game. You’re more than likely not going to be going near any water with a vintage watch so no worries of ruining any water resistance. The chances are age has beaten you to that one.
There are a few options here with the most traditional choice being a case opener like this one seen here. This tool is best used on watches that have notches in their caseback which you will want to line up to the tool. Another solid option is a caseback friction ball. Although this looks like a stress ball on the surface, this is in fact a handy tool for removing screw on casebacks. The benefit here is that you don’t use any metal tools so no chance of scratching a watch. This works best on casebacks that have already been off the watch before as tight, factory sealed casebacks will require more elbow grease.Finally for snapback case backs a caseback knife would be the best way to go as they allow you to get the edge of the knife into where the case and back meet and be able to lift it out. Similarly, this tool can also be useful for things like popping bezels off a watch or even opening deliveries! Check it out here.
9. PliersMuch like the demagnetizer we mentioned earlier, a pair of pliers is something you don’t think you would need until you find yourself reaching for a pair that doesn’t exist. Pliers are extremely useful for those stubborn pins that don’t seem to want to budget when removing links from a bracelet. Do yourself a favour and pick up a pair. Much like everything on this list, there are more affordable options and more expensive choices. Either way, Cousins UK is a fantastic place to look for a range of styles and price points. Similar to a standard set of pliers would be a springbar curving set. Not everyone will need a set of these as it will all depend on if your watch's spring bar position is close enough to the watch case to cause watch straps to be scuffed when fitting. Rolex are the main culprit here so if you’re a Rolex owner and like changing straps, pliers for curving spring bars would be a useful investment. You won’t want to squeeze spring bars fully, but a little curve will allow you to add them to the strap and bend them away from the case to ensure scuffed straps are a thing of the past. It’s also worth saying we would recommend only curving non-OEM spring bars (see number 5).
10. PolywatchThis final suggestion isn’t really a must-have for everyone, only those who own watches with acrylic or plastic crystals. Different types of watch crystals have unique positives and negatives and acrylic ones are no exceptions. Although they’re shatterproof (something a sapphire crystal will lose out on) they are prone to picking up scratches, and a lot of them (sapphire regains a point, 1-1).
To remove those scratches grab yourself a tube of Polywatch. The innovative plastic deformation technology, which slightly softens the clear lacquer on the crystal filling in any areas of damage, polishes away scratches and imperfections in seconds.
You won’t need to add much to the crystal (a small dab should do), simply get yourself a soft cloth and slowly spread the Polywatch around the acrylic in a circular motion. Repeat until the less than desirable scratches have been removed and you’re winning!
One final ‘nice to have but not essential' suggestion is a UV light. They're a fun tool for those of you out there who are addicted to lighting up the lume on your watch.
You can use the torch on your phone of course, but a blue light torch will light up the lume instantly and even in bright light it can show you how strong the lume on your watch really is!
To pick up your own set of these tools, you’ll next stop will be over to our accessories section where you’ll find a brilliant selection of must-have tools for any watch lover: