Being short sighted and normally wearing glasses, my first choice of optics when I started watchmaking, was a clip-on loupe.
This only lasted for a few short days before the frustration become too much. Due to the weight of the clip-on loupe being more at the front end, I found that while working on a watch my glasses would slowly slide down my nose. You can imagine how infuriating this was when both hands were in use and I was trying to focus on the job at hand. I would constantly have to stop working, free up a hand and push my glasses back up.
Another issue was that this clip-on loupe would protrude 25mm in front of my glasses which would sometimes get in the way when working in close proximity of a movement.
At this point I changed to using a normal loupe on a loupe holder and switching between this and my glasses as required. Definitely not the most efficient setup for me but it was adequate.
One additional issue with this solution was that my first loupe would often steam up, due to lack of ventilation, and require me to stop what I was doing to wipe the glass.
Another annoyance! I was able to resolve this by purchasing another loupe with pre-cut holes in the top and bottom. Strangely these types of loupes are sold as having the benefit of allowing light in to help improve the visuals and do not mention the steaming issue which me and numerous other watchmakers I know have experienced.
And this is how I worked for many months, that is until I discovered the Beco Technic Spectacle Magnifier. I had to wait a little while for this to arrive from Germany but it was worth the weight.
The Beco Technic Spectacle Magnifier is available in 5 different magnifications (2.5x, 3.3x, 4x, 6.7x and 10x) and left or right eye orientation. I went for a middle of the road magnification of 4x and the right eye orientation.
At first glance I noticed that it looked quite basic but also sturdy. When I looked closer it was the small details that impressed me.
The lens is made of glass but quite small with only a 20mm diameter. It is held by a thin wire frame and secured by a clear elastic band. The wire frame itself has a small handle, which breaks the circular circumference at the bottom of the lens and is meant to be used to raise and lower the lens without getting your finger prints on your glasses lens or the magnifier lens itself.
The other end of the spectacle magnifier is the part that attaches to your glasses, this is much more industrial and bulky but with good reason. Firstly this is where the majority of the 10g weight lies to provide the stability.
The beauty of this design is that it can be easily and quickly attached to most glasses as long as the thickness of the glasses frame and/or lens is 5.5mm or less, it does this via a good sized adjusting thumb screw. A soft protective circular pad on the screw and a soft protective rectangular pad on the holder, hold the magnifier firmly in place as well as prevent scratches to your glasses.
The holder also houses a spring mechanism, which is easily released with a little pressure on the handle at the bottom of the lens and has a lovely spring motion which does not affect the magnifiers stability.
So what was it like in use. Well it attached to my glasses in seconds even though they have a thick frame.
The lens itself only protrudes 10mm from my glasses with the adjusting screw another 5mm, depending on the thinkness of your glasses lens. Being that the screw is located in the corner of the glasses and the lens in the middle I have not had any issues with either interfering with my work.
As mentioned earlier, the lens itself is quite small at only 20mm diameter, but I actually found this to be useful as I can still use the rest of my right eye glasses lens to see normally, this means a lot less lifting and dropping the lens itself. Although, the spring mechanism is lovely, it only requires the gentlest of touches and it springs up or down effortlessly with a reassuring sound.
The lens gives a very sharp image with no blurring around the edges.
Being that the weight of the magnifier is in the holder (which sits on top of your glasses) and not in the lens part, the weight distribution means that my glasses are less prone to sliding down my nose. They still do this a little but a lot lot less and perhaps this is down to a lack of adequate fitting on my frames to begin with.
There’s also no issue with the lens steaming up as there is plenty of ventilation around my glasses and the magnifier.
Overall I would highly recommend the Beco Technic Spectacle Magnifier as a top solution for watchmakers who wear glasses. Solid, sturdy build without being over engineered and handling it’s core purpose perfectly.
Are you considering buying the Beco Technic Spectacle Magnifier? If so and you have any queries let me know, always happy to help if I can. If you already use the Beco Technic Spectacle Magnifier, then let me know what you think.