Watchmakers Magnets play an important role in the world of watchmaking offering various applications and benefits to watchmakers. These powerful objects have the ability to attract and hold ferrous materials, making them invaluable tools in watch assembly, repair and maintenance. From holding small screws and components in place to demagnetizing watch movements, watchmakers magnets provide a practical solution.
Magnets can simplify intricate tasks and understanding the proper utilization of magnets is crucial for every watchmaker, as it can enhance efficiency, precision and overall craftsmanship. Whether you are a beginner in the art of watchmaking or an experienced horologist looking to expand your knowledge, this exploration of watchmakers magnets will equip you with valuable insights and techniques to elevate your watchmaking skills.
Why do Watchmakers Need Magnets?
I’ve lost count of the amount of times a part has either dropped to the floor or sprung across the room never to be found again. This is where the humble watchmakers magnet comes to the rescue. You could spend hours feeling around the floor with a torch trying to find the tiniest part but with a magnet, this task becomes so much easier.
I’ve seen all sorts of homemade watchmakers magnet contraptions, but from my experience you just need the widest and/or strongest magnet you can find to minimize the amount of searching effort required.
Watchmakers magnets aid in organizing and securely holding small metal components, such as screws, springs and gears. By attracting and keeping these components in place, magnets prevent loss and ensure easy access during watch assembly and repair.
Not only is a watchmaker’s magnet great for holding small parts, magnets are also useful for removing metallic debris or particles from the working area. By passing a magnet over the surface, watchmakers can attract and collect stray metal fragments that could potentially interfere with the precision of the movement.
Basic Watchmakers Magnets
Basic magnets can be an incredibly effective and budget-friendly tool to have in your watchmaking toolkit. Any magnet will do as long as it is strong enough to keep hold of watch parts. The longer and wider the magnet, the better it is for easy capturing of small parts and keeping them close by.
Basic magnets are a great option for keeping costs low when building your watchmaking toolkit. Magnets are an area that you can purchase cheap with issues. You can always upgrade to a better tool such as the Bergeon Magic Wiper further along your watchmaking journey.
Bergeon 7871-1 Magic Wiper
The Bergeon 7871-1 Magic Wiper is a versatile tool commonly used by watchmakers for picking up and securing watch movement components. It features a soft, lint-free fabric strip that can be ‘wiped’ across a surface to pick up dropped or lost watch parts. The Magic Wiper is designed to effectively pick up small parts whilst covering a large surface area. It’s compact size and ergonomic design make it easy to manoeuvre whilst also covering more ground than a standard magnet.
The Magic Wiper is known for its efficiency and reliability in ensuring small parts are captured and secured. The wiper is tear-proof ensuring long-term durability and is also washable allowing you to keep it clean and minimize dust and debris contaminating watch parts. The Bergeon Magic Wiper is undoubtedly a valuable tool for any watchmaker’s arsenal.
When I initially searched, the longest magnet I could find was 10x1x0.5cm, which wasn’t ideal but still useful for the low cost. It wasn’t until later I discovered the Bergeon Magic Wiper (7871-1), which is basically a piece of card that you can fold to form an oval grip with a long magnet strip along the 28.5cm edge. This allows me to cover a lot more ground, a lot quicker.
Tips for Purchasing and Using Watchmakers Magnets
Purchase the Longest Magnet you can find
I would recommend purchasing the longest and/or widest magnet you can find even if you need to customize it a little for your needs. The more ground it covers, the quicker any stray parts will be found.
A Budget Friendly Alternative to the Bergeon Magic Wiper
Whilst the Bergeon Magic Wiper is a great tool, it does have a price tag that could impact your budget. A great alternative is a magnetic knife rack which can be found relatively cheap and are both long and wide. The only downside is that a knife rack does not have the wiper function of the Magic Wiper but that is a compromise for a more affordable product.
Keep Magnets Distant from your Timepiece
Watches are very sensitive to magnetism. If your magnets get too close to your watch, it can affect the accuracy of the timepiece. Whilst you want your magnets nearby to get them handy, too close to the watch you’re working on can impact the precision of it over time.
Invest in a Demagnetization Magnet
Having a demagnetization magnet in your toolkit is beneficial to have just in case your watch does lose accuracy. However, this is not an essential tool so should not be considered a priority, especially if you are building your watchmaking toolkit on a budget. It is also more durable to prevent your watch from magnetism initially than correct it later.
Brass is not Magnetic
Don’t forget that brass is not magnetic so your watchmaker’s magnet will not be effective in capturing and securing any brass watch parts.
How to Choose the Perfect Watchmakers Magnets
When selecting magnets for your watchmaking journey, it’s important to consider certain factors to ensure they meet your specific needs. Whilst budget magnets will certainly perform the task you need, branded magnets may be more advantageous. The high quality of branded magnets ensures the magnetism is strong enough to hold onto watch parts ensuring that they don’t get misplaced. Brands like Bergeon also manufacture longer watchmakers magnets which are very beneficial to your work.
Watchmakers Magnet FAQ
Picking up and securing small metal components, such as screws, springs and gears. Removing metallic debris or particles from the working area. Demagnetizing watch movements or parts. Testing if a watch or component is magnetized. Watchmakers magnets can simplify intricate tasks and improve efficiency, precision and craftsmanship in watchmaking.
No! Magnets possess a captivating force that can disturb the delicate inner workings of a watch. The magnetic field can interfere with the balance wheel causing it to either speed up or slow down the watch’s movement. This shouldn’t cause any permeant damage that cannot be resolved with demagnetization.
The magnetic field disrupts the delicate magnetic components within the watch, such as the hairspring, escapement, or balance wheel. These are essential for the accurate running of a watch. When magnetized, their normal movement is compromised, leading to erratic timekeeping.
When you notice timekeeping troubles like inconsistent accuracy or sudden jumps, it’s time to demagnetize. Whether it’s a close encounter with electronic devices, magnetic closures on bags, or even your favorite refrigerator magnet, these seemingly harmless items can cause your watch’s magnetic balance to go haywire. By demagnetizing your watch, you’re giving it a fresh start, freeing it from the grips of those pesky magnetic fields.
No, digital watches do not get magnetized. Digital watches use quartz crystals or electronic circuits to keep time, which are not affected by magnetic fields. However, some digital watches may have other components, such as speakers or motors, that can be magnetized and cause malfunctions.
Yes, magnets can affect automatic watches. Automatic watches use mechanical movements that rely on a balance wheel and a hairspring to regulate the time. These components are made of metal and can be magnetized by exposure to strong magnetic fields. This can cause the watch to run faster or slower than normal, or even stop working.
One way to know if your watch is magnetized is to use a compass. Place the watch near the compass and observe if the needle moves or spins. If it does, your watch is magnetized. Another way is to use a smartphone app that can detect magnetic fields. Hold the phone near the watch and see if the app shows a high reading. If it does, your watch is magnetized1.
One way to demagnetize your watch is to use a demagnetizer. This is a device that generates an alternating magnetic field that cancels out the magnetism in your watch. You can buy a demagnetizer online or from a watch shop, or you can use one at a watch service center. To use it, you simply place your watch on the demagnetizer and press a button.
The best way to prevent your watch from getting magnetized is to avoid exposing it to strong magnetic fields. Some common sources of magnetic fields are speakers, headphones, laptops, tablets, smartphones, microwaves, induction cookers, electric motors, and magnets. You should keep your watch away from these items or remove it when using them.
If you think I’ve missed anything or have anything to add, please comment below.