Beginners Guide to Watch Parts Containers

Written by: Maz P
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Watch Parts Container

When it comes to watchmaking, having a reliable and well-organized system for storing watch parts is crucial. Watch parts containers offer a convenient solution that not only stores but organizes watch parts. While some may overlook their significance, these containers play a vital role in ensuring efficiency and accuracy in watchmaking tasks.

Watch parts containers provide a secure and dust-free environment to store and protect different parts. They also enable you to keep track of individual parts, preventing mix-ups during the watchmaking process. By grouping related parts together, these containers enhance organization and streamline workflow. These seemingly unimportant accessories can greatly improve your watchmaking experience, making your work more efficient and organized.

What is a Watch Parts Container?

A watch parts container is an essential accessory for any watchmaker that serves as a reliable storage solution for watch parts. Whilst you can purchase containers specifically marketed as a watch parts container, these tend to be on the pricier side. Alternatively, a wide variety of containers, often marketed for other purposes, are a suitable solution. These containers come in different designs and materials to cater to individual preferences and needs.

One type of container that is ideal as a watch parts container is one that is divided into multiple sections. This offers compartments that can be used to organize different parts. Another option is a container consisting of individual pots, each with its own lid. Personally, I prefer the latter design for its practicality. With separate pots and a sealable box, there are two levels of containment, providing an added layer of protection in case of accidental drops. 

I also find it convenient when working on a movement to take out the specific pot required and return it to the container once I am done. This allows for a more organized and efficient workflow. Individual pots can also be purchased in various sizes allowing you to customize your watch parts containers based on your specific needs and preferences.

Watch Parts Container

Watch parts containers are also available in different materials but typically boxes like this are made from plastic and aluminum. Aluminum options offer the additional advantage of doubling up as cleaning pots. This versatility minimizes waste of cleaning and rinsing solutions. It is important to note that cleaning fluid should not be used in plastic pots as it can dissolve them.

By choosing a suitable watch parts container that aligns with your work style and requirements, you can enhance organization and effienciency in your watchmaking endeavors.

What is a Watch Parts Container Used For?

Watch parts containers are very simple and basically, do what they say on the tin. Ultimately, a watch parts container is exactly that, something to contain watch parts. There are many reasons why containers should be used to store watch parts. Primarily, watch parts containers are used for organization.

As a watchmaker, you can store different parts in different sections or keep different movements together. It keeps parts in a specific place to prevent any loss. When parts do not have a specific home, they can be easily misplaced and this minimizes this risk. Many watchmakers opt to use separate containers for different movements and parts to avoid any mix-ups. They can also be used to safely store spare or donor watch movements and parts for future use as and when required.

Watch parts containers also protect watch parts. Any container with a lid protects the watch parts from dust, debris and any other possible contamination. This means you can quickly and easily work with your watch parts without the need to clean. This is particularly important for circumstances when the watchmaking process can take days or weeks due to limited time or the need to source a part.

Different Types of Watch Parts Containers

There are so many options for watch parts containers that there is no one size fits all. The diverse variety means there are an incredible amount of sizes, designs and features and a type to suit every watchmaker. The watch parts container you find most convenient is ultimately up to your personal preferences. You may find this takes a bit of trial and error. Even if the beginner watch parts containers are not your ideal fit, they will perform their intended job well enough for you to focus on expanding your watchmaking toolkit before trying alternatives.

Whilst you can certainly purchase an item specifically marketed as a ‘watch parts container’, there are many alternatives available that are advertised for different purposes. Ideal solutions are organization boxes purchased from hobby or hardware stores typically used for storing craft essentials and screws. They also could be advertised as snack boxes and myriad other uses so they can easily be acquired. It is likely that you will ultimately save money by purchasing storage for your watch parts that is not specifically marketed for watchmaking.

When selecting a watch parts container, it’s crucial to consider the size of each section or pot. If the sections are too large, you may need multiple boxes to organize the relevant parts. On the other hand, if the sections are too small, you won’t be able to store movement plates or bridges together with the other parts. Based on my experience, I’ve found that 3cm and 5cm diameter options work exceptionally well.

Watch Parts Container

The 3cm pots are ideal for accommodating most, if not all, of the movement parts including plates and bridges. They are the primary size I prefer for my parts containers. I typically opt for boxes that provide around 12-20 pots allowing me to group parts together as needed. As I work on more movements, I become more familiar with which parts are related and require fewer separate containers.

For larger components like watch crystals, cases and case backs that exceed the size of the movement itself, I purchase individual 5cm pots. These larger pots offer ample space to securely store these parts. By selecting containers with the appropriate sizes and quantities, you can efficiently organize and store various watch parts resulting in a more streamlined workflow.

Another point to consider is whether your watch parts container has a lid. If your container has a lid, this acts as protection for your watch parts. It stops your watch parts becoming contaminated with dust or debris which is particularly important for parts already cleaned. An additional benefit of a lid is that you can move the container without worrying about parts bouncing between sections or accidentally dropping it during transportation. It ensures watch parts are safe and secure in all situations.

When selecting a watch parts container, opt for a lighter colored one. This is because it offers better visibility of smaller parts making them easier to locate and handle. By choosing a suitable watch parts container that aligns with your work style and requirements, you can enhance organization and efficiency in your watchmaking.

Choosing a Watch Parts Container


Plastic Storage Box

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Watch Parts Box Container

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When choosing an ideal container for storing your watch parts, there are several things to consider. Ultimately, which features are important to you is exclusively dependent on not only watchmaking needs but personal preferences. You may try several different containers before you find one you love but it is all part of the watchmaking journey.

I would personally advise against splashing your money on containers marketed specifically for watchmaking as they tend to come at a higher price tag than alternatives that are also suitable. If you don’t hit a hole in one and find a watch parts container you think is great on the first try, you could end up wasting a lot of money by going down this route.

In my quest to find the perfect parts containers, I experimented with various options over the course of several months. At first, I purchased round plastic containers with rotating lids primarily because of their affordability. However, I quickly discovered their drawbacks. The rotating pin in the center prevented them from sitting flat making them unstable during work. The lids also didn’t fit securely leaving too much space for parts to potentially jump between sections during transportation.

Realizing the importance of having reliable and well-designed containers, I continued my search. I eventually found sturdier alternatives that addressed these issues. These containers featured snap-on lids providing a secure seal and minimizing the risk of parts escaping. Their rectangular shape and flat bottoms ensured stability on my workbench allowing me to focus on the task at hand without worrying about accidental spills or disorganization.


Watch Parts Holder

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Watch Parts Storage Box

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Exploring cost-effective alternatives, I once stumbled upon a couple of secondhand electrician’s organizer boxes at a car boot sale. They were highly affordable costing just a $1 and I thought they would be a great option. While I still use them for disassembled parts, their dark gray plastic material made it difficult when identifying smaller parts.

Another option for those seeking budget-friendly options, you could consider using small single-serving glass jam jars like the ones commonly found in hotels and restaurants. Although they may not be suitable for storing an entire movement’s worth of parts, they can be perfect for specific parts. They can also be great containers for clean and rinse solutions used during manual part cleaning.

Regardless of the containers you choose, I recommend designating specific ones for dirty disassembled parts and others for cleaned parts ready for assembly. This segregation helps minimize contamination risks and reduces the time spent cleaning the containers.

By investing time in understanding my specific needs and experimenting with different container types, I was able to identify the shortcomings of inferior options and discover the containers that truly met my requirements for functionality and reliability. Finding the right parts containers may require some trial and error but the benefits of improved organization and peace of mind during watchmaking tasks make it a worthwhile pursuit.

Beginners Guide to Watch Parts Containers – Recommendation

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Tips For Using Watch Parts Containers

There is no need to buy watch parts containers from watchmaking tool manufacturers, especially to begin with. These often come at a premium price tag and can often be found at a cheaper price when advertised for an alternative purpose. Essentially, there are many containers that are highly versatile and suitable as a watch parts container even if their ‘purpose’ is technically meant to be for something else.

Look around your home for a suitable watch parts container. You may find that you have something suitable already and if so, this can be an area of watchmaking where you can save money. Boxes such as ones that contain screws, buttons or other small items are perfect as a watch parts container. Anything with multiple compartments will do the job.

If you don’t have anything already suitable at home, a budget alternative is to purchase an organizer box from a local craft or hardware store. These are relatively affordable and will save you a lot of money over a container marketed specifically for watchmaking.

Make sure any watch parts containers you use have a lid. This protects the parts from dust, debris and any other contamination.

Always go with a lighter color as it makes it much easier to see smaller parts.

Watch Parts Containers FAQ

A watch parts container is highly important for watchmakers as it provides an organized way to store and access small watch parts during the repair or assembly process. It helps prevent loss and damage by keeping parts securely separated and readily available. This ultimately enhances efficiency and precision in watchmaking tasks.

A watch parts container can be any container with multiple compartments for storage. There are many options from branded watch parts containers specifically for watchmaking to more budget-friendly alternatives like craft organization boxes. It is likely that you will have something already in your home that you can use as a watch parts organizer.

If you think I’ve missed anything or have anything to add, please comment below.


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I started to share my passion and knowledge with those already bitten by the watchmaking bug. I’ve often spent hours searching online for answers on a specific issue, and even though there is a wealth of information out there, it hasn’t always been very useful, hence why I wanted to share my own findings.

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