Basic Modding Tools: For Seikos and other watches
The hobby of watch modding has been growing in popularity recently. It's no wonder, as it provides anybody with an opportunity to breakdown, rebuild, or construct your dream watch. Being able to tinker and create that horological masterpiece that you've always dreamed of can now be a reality for anybody. You don't have to go to a watchmaking school in Switzerland to know how to modify your watch!
The most commonly modded watch brand at the moment is Seiko, because the aftermarket support for Seiko dive watches at the moment is definitely the strongest. Let's use the Seiko SKX007 as an example. Everything, from something as basic as the straps or the bezels, to the more involved modifications like the crystals, dials and hands, can be modified and customized to your specific needs and preferences. You can check out our article on the top 5 Seiko watches to mod if you'd like to find out what else we have to say on this topic.
Above: Watch modding in progress - some tools of the trade. (Source: @watchbuilds on Instagram)
To set yourself up for success, you're going to have to know what the basic watch modding tools are. Having the right tools for the job is crucial. In this blog post, we'll break down some of the tools that you NEED to have.
Bezel Remover Tool
There's more than one way to skin a cat (PLEASE do not skin cats), and most people who modify their watches will have their own preferred tool for removing their bezel.
Above: Watch bezel removal tool (Source: namokimods.com)
Quite simply, all you need to remove a bezel is a blade that's slim enough to wedge itself in between your watch bezel and your watch case, so that you can pry off the bezel. Done correctly, and with a suitable tool, the bezel should pop right off. You can check out our bezel remover tool here.
Pro-tip: To ensure that your watch case and bezel do not get scratched, you can use tape to protect the surfaces that may get scuffed in the process. You can also read this blog post for more information on how to change your watch's bezel and bezel insert.
This is a handy piece of equipment to have around while you are repairing, building, or modding watches. It's important that the movement of your watch is kept safely and snugly when it's outside of the watch.
You also want to have a movement holder that is sturdy and secures your movement well, so that your watch movement doesn't suddenly slip while you're working on it. You can check out this blog post by Millenary Watches on the top 8 movement holders that you can purchase.
The caseback remover, as you might be able to tell from its name, is a tool that allows you to remove the back of the case.
Having a good caseback removal tool will ensure that your caseback can be unscrewed safely, without fear of damaging your watch.
Most good case back openers will have an adjustable tip which can be adjusted from 0.5 inches to 2.2 inches to fit most watches.
You don’t want to skimp on this tool. Crystal installation can be extremely frustrating if you aren't adequately equipped with the correct tool. While useful for installing and removing crystals, it's also often used for installation of bezels.
There are a few different types of crystal presses, but the most commonly recommended type would be the screw down type shown above. This will give you a lot more precise control during the crystal installation process.
This should come in handy, particularly when you are attempting to access those hard-to-reach areas. Also useful for fiddly things like installing a gasket on your bezel. Sometimes, our fingers just don't cut it for certain tasks. Thankfully, we have tweezers!
A good pair of tweezers is important - you want to ensure that you choose a non magnetic set of tweezers as you don't want to risk magnetizing your watch movement. Check out our Bergeon 7024 Anti Magnetic tweezers here.
You need Rodico. Just get some Rodico here if you don't already have some.
Rodico can be used for removing oil from your watch movement, or dial, or watch hands. It can be used for removing finger prints (if you aren't using finger cots!). It can be used for installing hands. It's essentially a magical piece of green putty, and if you don't have Rodico are you even a watch modder? We're kidding, but seriously get some Rodico.
You can learn more about the uses of Rodico here
Spring bar remover
One of the easiest and yet satisfying ways to customize your watch is by swapping out its strap or bracelet.
The pointed end can be used to remove springbars on watch cases with drilled lugs as well.
Check out our spring bar removal tool from Bergeon here.
Watch modding is a very rewarding and fulfilling hobby, but it can also be extremely frustrating if you're not properly equipped. Get the right tools and save yourself the hassle, so you have more headspace for being creative with the design of your watch build.
As always, for check out our website for watch modification parts for your Seiko watches and more!