Comparison of my Watch Repair Books

A word of warning

I do not advice to simply buy a watch repair book and then disassemble your most beloved watch movement on your own. That is where watch forums come in. Or more experienced fellow watch enthusiasts, that can help you, or you are lucky enough to have a watch tutor that could help you through more difficult watch works. E.g. without my watch tutor I would probably not have had enough courage to disassemble the shock-absorbing jewel assemblies of the balance wheel. And applying a nice little drop of oil on a ruby disk (cap stone) of 1 mm diameter would have been simply beyond my autodidactic capabilities. Regardless on how well this would have been described. Those parts are so small, plus after having applied that drop of oil, you need to turn over that cap stone with your tweezers and put it back into the assembly without moving the hanging oil drop to another position. The idea is that this central drop of oil matches the position of the balance pinion. To experience this micro world is much easier with some more experienced help and I guess the best book could not replace that help. But of course, the books will allow you to remember, what your tutor told you. At least that is how I most of the time used my watch books.

A brief comparison of repair books

Click on the links to see the invidual reviews please:

MECHANICAL and QUARTZ WATCH REPAIR by Michael Watters, USD 34, 160 pages, text and pictures (photos and drawings)

Simplified Mechanical Watch Repair for Profit by Dan Gendron, USD 69.95, 261 pages, 275 pictures (photos mostly)

Practical Watch Repairing by Donald de Carle, USD 29.99, 319 pages, over 550 illustrations (drawings)

Strenghts of each of the books listed

Michael Watter's book is easy to read, has a nice format, a reasonable print size. I normally go back and fourth between my watch work bench, my computer and my watch books and have been using the "Mechanical and Quartz Watch Repair" as a backup during my watch servicing without my tutor. Sometimes a beginner would love to find an additional illustration, especially during the assembly steps. Overall a great beginner's watch book absolutely worth its price.

That is where Dan Gendron's "Simplified Mechanical Watch Repair" excels. There are plenty of illustrations and the author really succeeded to write a manual for the beginner, albeit at a high price. It really is an illustrated guide and for those that do not like to read a lot, it is the ideal book. While I was first a bit skeptical, I have started to appreciate having this book in my library. It costs quite a bit, but offers great illustrated guidance.

Donald de Carle's book feels and reads like a science book in comparison. And the language is not really for laymen. I have never attended a watch making school, but I could imagine that de Carle's book is probably a student book used in about every watch school. As Donald de Carle's says in the foreword, he wanted to create a "textbook" for his fellow craftsmen (watch makers, note Reto) that would not take a lot of knowledge granted and also describe the simplest processes and tasks. And he certainly achieved his goal as probably no other watch book has been reprinted yearly after having reached an age of 50 years.

Facit: I think all three books have their place in the watch library. For autodidactic watch repairers or hobbyists it is sometimes really interesting to see different explanations or to see different illustrations to fully understand a problem. Also the picture below shows that the style of each of the three books is distinctively different. Michael Watter's book focuses on the basics, is thin, easy to read and to carry. Dan Gendron's book offers great illustration for all the steps and tools. And de Carle's "Practical Watch Repair" is a bit like the 'watch bible' that contains it all.

A picture to give you a feel of what the books contents look like, sorted in chronological order from bottom to top as I bought them