Keeping track of screws

Universal GeneveMost the time when I work on a watch, I don’t worry about how to put them back together. As I disassemble the watch I examine each component for faults as well as to understand its function. Usually this is enough for me to get it back together. If I understand what the parts are and why they are shaped the way they are it’s easy to reassemble. This even works with screws. Screws can be beveled, shouldered, left-hand thread, right-hand thread, polished, rough, tall, short, long, etc. Usually the screws are the shape they are for one of two reasons: either because of watchmaking tradition, or to fulfill a specific purpose.

UG283Sometimes a watch just doesn’t fit into the mold, or has a large variety of screws that are very similar and for this I use a cheat sheet. Two common places I do this is on japanese movements (they don’t usually follow swiss watchmaking traditional rules) and chronographs I am not familiar with. It is common in older chronographs to have lots of different screws. This watch probably has 20 different screws!

screw mapWhat I do to keep track of the screws is to take a quick picture of the movement and print it out, then I draw the different screws with a line pointing to where they go in the movement. When I get stuck during assembly I go to my map and choose the right screw. Sometimes I the exaggerate the differences, but mostly I try and make them have the same proportions as the real screw.

screw map closeup

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