The Essential Tools All Watch Enthusiasts Need

The Essential Tools All Watch Enthusiasts Need

The fundamental gear behind every well-considered watch collection.

Originally published by HODINKEE Shop on HODINKEE, October 4th, 2019


Let’s say you just bought a new watch. Whether that acquisition was the first in a growing collection or simply the latest complementary addition to a lifetime of collecting hardly matters. What’s important is what you do next. We’re all guilty of dreaming up plans for the next purchase before the strap of the watch we’ve just bought has broken in. It’s the fallacy of the collector, the tendency to desire what isn’t ours, while letting what is rest in the dust.

It doesn’t have to be this way. There are plenty of ways of engaging with a watch collection, other than wearing them, that can reinvigorate feelings for a timepiece that has been hidden away for far too long. Don’t add another watch to the safe just yet – break the cycle – take this opportunity to examine your collection and see what horological objects are out there that can complement what you already own. Here are a few of the many tools and accessories that the HODINKEE Shop has to offer that will help you enjoy your latest purchase to the fullest.


An All-In-One Cleaning System

We believe (most) watches are made to get dirty. To be worn on the daily. And to be put to the test. Naturally, along the way, some dirt and grime might pop up on your watch in a way you didn’t expect. Have you ever wondered what the best way to clean your watch is?

Sure, there’s the time-tested approach of a toothbrush and dish soap, but there has to be a better way, right?

Well thanks to the folks at Max Wilsdorf, there is now a new solution that will entirely change how you interact with and wash your watch. The Max Wilsdorf ChronoPen is a Swiss Made product – naturally – that was created specifically to help you clean your favorite watch. Available for the first time in the United States through the HODINKEE Shop, the ChronoPen consists of an extra-fine brush and 30ml of Max Wilsdorf’s specifically developed cleaning solution, plus a branded polishing towel to dry your watch off.

This all-in-one handheld design does not contain any aggressive chemicals or abrasives and is well suited for use on stainless steel, gold, platinum, bronze, carbon fiber, ceramic, as well as other external parts of a watch, including sapphire crystals, diamonds, and rubber/silicone. The extra-fine bristles on the brush head are tested to reach even the most intricate corners of your watch, such as lug interior. Each brush contains enough cleaning solution for up to 60 uses. How’s that for a “sterile” bezel?

A Max Wilsdorf dual-purpose towel is included with each order. This natural cotton, extra thick, 30cm × 30cm towel can be used for both drying (white side) and polishing (black side).


Switching Straps

Founded in 1791, Bergeon has over two centuries of experience crafting watchmaking tools, making it the watch world’s definitive destination for trustworthy, high-quality tools. That’s why when we set out to find the ideal strap-changing device for the HODINKEE Shop, we went directly to the La Chaux-de-Fonds company.

Silver Spring Bar Tool

We currently offer two versions of the traditional spring bar tool that will make switching straps a breeze. The most affordable design is made of stainless steel and has an excellent weight distribution between its two sides. On one end is a fork that lets you release the spring bar between the lugs of your watch with a simple push; on the opposite side, you’ll find a pointed tip, allowing you to adjust the links of some bracelets or change the strap of any watch with drilled lugs.

For only four dollars more, the HODINKEE Shop features a similar design with a sleek black appearance. While its dual-sided nature remains the same as the previous version, this spring bar tool includes a ruler on one of its six sides that measures up to 50mm, or 2 inches, letting you determine the lug width of a watch in a snap.

Black Spring Bar Tool

A few quick tips: If you place a small piece of tape on each of the lugs of your watch during the strap changing procedure, you can offer a bit of extra protection against accidental scratches. You should also only ever change your strap over a soft, contained surface (like a HODINKEE valet tray) to keep the watch safe from potential scuffs and to capture any small parts like screws and pins, or the spring bar itself, that might unexpectedly fall. Oh, and don’t forget that in most cases, you can swap out the buckle of your new strap if you want to maintain the authentic look, so long as the end of the new strap matches the width of the original.


Streamline That Strap Switch

In addition to the two standard spring bar tools in the HODINKEE Shop, we also offer a Bergeon-built spring bar plier that simplifies the process of changing a strap while reducing the chance of accidentally scratching the watch’s lugs.

Silver Spring Bar Plier Tool

Unlike the previous pair of tools, this tong-like device has two forked ends that allow you to release both sides of a spring bar at once. The screw found on the side of the plier mechanism can adjust the distance between the two forks from anywhere between 10mm and 30mm, and the forks themselves can be adjusted to sit in line with the rest of the tool, or turned to a 45-degree angle. The HODINKEE-branded Silver Spring Bar Plier Tool is made of aluminum, while the forks are constructed of stainless steel.

A New Way To Display

Have you ever wondered what the best way to keep your perpetual calendars running in, well, perpetuity is? Rather than going through the deliberate process of adjusting the time of your watch, or winding it, prior to wearing it for the first time in a while, you can set it and forget it inside one of the many watch winders currently available in the HODINKEE Shop.

In addition to the Rapport winders we recently added, there are also a pair of Swiss Kubik models in stock. Designed and produced in Geneva, Swiss Kubik has become one of the most popular watch winder firms since it was founded in 2007 due to a special winding mechanism that is nearly silent and a minimalist design language that makes the winders as much of an objet d’art worth showing off, as they are a functional part of your horological day-to-day.

The two Swiss Kubik winders that are available now come in either anodized silver (aluminum) or wenge wood (a tropical hardwood renowned for its hardness, luster, and density). Each winder comes in the shape of a 10cm cube, and can run for up to three years on a single set of standard C-type batteries. Setting it up is simple thanks to the included USB cable that connects to a computer, allowing you to fine tune the number of rotations per day, as well as the direction of the rotation, to best suit each specific watch in your collection.


In The Pocket

Watch collecting is often one of the many symptoms of people’s tendency to desire high-quality objects in their life. While fine timepieces – in our opinion – provide the ideal palliative response, other objects offering a potential respite include writing instruments, wine, Hi-Fi audio equipment, knives, and vintage cars. High-end knives, in particular, soothe the urge for form-meets-function goods, so we worked with perhaps the ultimate name in multi-purpose knives, a company that hails from a country HODINKEE is intimately familiar with.

HODINKEE Swiss Army Knife

We partnered with Victorinox to produce a black version of its classic Swiss Army Knife. The 2-inch tool has a total of seven features: a 1.5 inch stainless steel blade, a pair of scissors, a flat-head screwdriver that also functions as a nail file, a keyring, tweezers, and a toothpick. On one side of the watch, you’ll find the HODINKEE logo; on the other, the emblem of the Swiss Army.

At only $22 and easily attachable to a keychain, we’ve found the Victorinox for HODINKEE Swiss Army Knife to be a quick-and-easy gift for friends and family, as well as a way to treat yourself for resisting buying that watch – you know the one we’re talking about – for another day.

You can explore all the various tools and accessories currently available in the HODINKEE Shop here.

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