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Resources for Identification

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This web site is intended to help professional watchmakers to obtain parts, which are unavailable through normal watch material suppliers. However, over time, the non-professional users have outnumbered the professionals. While there is no objection to helping anyone who needs a part to repair a vintage watch, much time can be spent trying to help those who do not know how to identify the part they need.

Those requests which do not clearly identify the part could be tossed in the trash, because putting them up on the web site will likely not result in a successful search. None, or at least very few, of the people who may be able to furnish the part are likely to spend a great deal of time trying to identify a part for which they might get a few dollars.

So, if you don't know how to describe the part you want, please do the research. Assuming you are interested in watches, you can learn an amazing amount about them on the web and by accessing a few books. You may also wish to view the pages of illustrations on this site, which are found in the Help pages.

Several watch material suppliers maintain web sites. Some have very complete parts listings, which can help you to correctly identify your part, especially vintage Swiss parts. Here are a few:
The William S. McCaw Co.: McCaw is a watch material dealer located in Toledo, OH. In addition to a wide range of watch parts, and tools, they also have an excellent crystal fitting service.
Twin City Supply, Inc.: A 4th generation family owned business located in Minneapolis, Minnesota. We can trace our roots back to the 1920's. Our phone lines are open Monday-Friday, 8:00 am until 5:00 pm, Central time. We carry findings, solder, Energizer watch batteries; all sorts of watch material, new and old. Watch material and crystals for Seiko, Pulsar, Citizen, Bulova, and many hard to find or discontinued brands such as Rolex, Omega, Elgin, Hamilton, Gruen, Longines, Waltham, other Swiss brands, pocket watches, etc.. In fact, we are still going thru many boxes that were stored in three trailers in the back lot from the move 13 years ago! We stock extensive inventories from: A*F, Acon, Arbe, Bergeon, Bestfit, Casio, Citizen, Eurotool, Energizer, Grobet, Horotec, GemOro, Gilden, JSP, L & R, Newall, PePe, Seiko, Timex, WatchBand Headquarters, and Zenith. Many, many items are available that re not listed on the new web site; please email or call with your requests. Telephone 800-328-6009 or e-mail:
Jules Borel and Co.: Borel is a watch material dealer located in Kansas City, MO. The Borel web site is certainly one of the best for identifying vintage parts and for interchange information if one understands how the search function works.
CasKer Co.: CasKer is one of the largest watch material dealers in the U.S. with a large web site which features access to material often difficult to obtain because of manufacturers restrictive practices. Need a Patek Philip crown? CasKer has it for only $250--solid gold of course.
Otto Frei: Frei is a watch material dealer in Oakland CA. Frei has a very well illustrated web site, which can provide learning opportunities for beginners.

The above are U.S. firms. There are many others in the U.S. as well as around the world. For example if one was to do a Google search for: Watch material suppliers U.K., one would be rewarded with several U.K. dealers web sites. One of the U.K.'s largest watch material suppliers is Cousins The Cousins web site has hundreds of technical documents online, including many factory produced illustrated parts lists.

In addition to the web, there are a books, which are excellent sources of information regarding watch parts. For Swiss parts, see Bestfit #111 Encyclopedia of Watch Material Part I & II. For American pocket watches see Illustrated Manual of American Watch Movements, commonly known as Swigart's, because the book was originally published by a now defunct material dealers E.& J. Swigart. Both Bestfit and Swigart are old publications, but they are available as reprints, either from the above material suppliers, or from horological booksellers.

These are the resources many professionals use when indentifying parts. You can do it yourself, just put in the time. You could also join the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors (NAWCC) . NAWCC has a web site and discussion groups which can be very helpful. There are dozens of other horologically related sites on the Internet where you can seek information.

The information below is copied from the "Search Form" page.

The Search Title should include the following for Swiss watches:

The Search Title should include the following for American Watches:

The overall height of parts such as cannon pinions, hour wheels, and sweep second pinions is required to obtain the correct part because there are often parts of different heights for the same caliber in order to accommodate thin dials, thick dials, curved dials, etc.

For escape wheels and pallet arbors the pivot types need to be specified: Straight (S) or Conical (C) ( cap jeweled). Commonly, the pivots are specified as S/S, C/C, S/C, or C/S with the bridge side pivot specified first.