Collector tools of the trade: 4 accessories that every watch lover should own Collector tools of the trade: 4 accessories that every watch lover should own

Collector tools of the trade: 4 accessories that every watch lover should own

Jared Belson

Over time, many friends have asked me how I work with my watch collection. Even relatively simple things like strap changes require specialized tools, as you don’t want to be stabbing at the case of your expensive timepiece with a safety pin. The same goes for cleaning, inspecting, and just generally enjoying your watches. Below are four different bits of kit that I think any enthusiast can make good use of.


Spring Bar Tweezers/Pliers


Many modern watches lack lug holes that can be accessed from the outside of the case. Instead, manufacturers often use spring bars with tiny “shoulders” that allow a tool to grab on to them for compression and removal. While you could use a standard strap change tool that pushes on the bar from a single end, you run the risk of scratching the inside of your lugs when pulling out the spring bar. Enter spring bar tweezers. They use a dual forked end that allows for the spring bar to be compressed from both sides simultaneously, offering much easier removal. I use a set from Bergeon (ref. 7825) that work wonderfully.


While some brands have stuck to the traditional pin and collar system bracelets, many manufacturers have moved to more modern (and infinitely easier to work with) screws to hold their bracelets together. Even then, nobody wants to have to take a trip to an AD or watchmaker just to adjust a watch for their wrist. Nothing dampens the excitement of a new watch arriving in the mail like not being able to wear it, right? A simple set of watch-specific screwdrivers can make your life much easier. Plenty of places sell inexpensive sets, but I’d recommend reading reviews to choose the right model. While the average enthusiast likely doesn’t need professional grade tools, the cheap set I obtained from Amazon had the tips ground down and lost their shape with only a couple of uses. Esslinger is a website that stocks a variety of different watchmaker tools, so they have a good selection of these in any size you might need. Bergeon makes a good set of these in a variety of sizes, but they can be a bit pricey. But whatever you buy, just remember that you invested in your wristwatch so it might be best to invest in the tools you use on them as well.



A unique tool often used in both the watch and jewellry industries, most casual consumers have never used a loupe. However, for enthusiasts it can be an invaluable piece of kit. Imagine buying a vintage watch from a dealer. Unless you’re an expert in the field of horology, you may not be able to tell with just your eyes whether the dial is damaged, or the markers re-lumed. While neither are necessarily bad if you like a particular watch, it can certainly impact the value and how much you should pay. With a loupe on hand, you can give your potential purchase a much more thorough inspection. While there are a variety of models available, it’s important to note that not all loupes are made the same. Different magnifications, lens clarity, and field of viewing (how large the eyepiece is) can make major differences to the image you see, so it’s important to research. I also appreciate when there’s a built-in light of some sort. I recently invested in a Carson CP-45 on recommendation, and it’s already saved my hide: I was able to identify a recent online purchase as a fake and obtain a refund.

Cleaning Implements

Naturally, in the course of enjoying our watches, they naturally accumulate dirt and grime. While some people recommend the traditional dish soap and toothbrush method, I’m a fan of being a bit more precise. A variety of watch-specific cleaners and brushes have come onto the scene in recent years, all touting their relative benefits. While it’s always best to read reviews before purchasing, I’ve found most of these products to be top notch. The sprays do a great job at wiping away grease and oils, while the bristles on the brushes tend to be softer than a toothbrush. Once your watch is nice and clean, you don’t want to use whatever’s lying around to dry it off. While I’ve seen plenty of people use old rags to clean off their watch, it can be a risky proposition. Much like when washing a car, using the wrong cloth on your watch can lead to micro scratches and other damage. While it doesn’t sound like a big deal, why would you want to be the cause of an issue with your prized possessions? Therefore, it makes sense to invest in the right tools for the job – microfiber cloths. Plenty of manufacturers make their own version of watch and/or jewelry cleaning cloths, so pick your poison. Personally, I’ve used Veraet’s WristClean spray, watch brushes, and cleaning cloths with great results.