Best watchmaker screwdrivers

Best Watchmaker Screwdrivers for Beginners

Screwdrivers are essential tools for the watchmaker, but it can be confusing. Is Bergeon worth the hype? Is Horotec overpriced? Are you a good watchmaker if you don’t use screwdrivers from any of the big brands?

In this article, I’ll show you:

  • My own journey with screwdrivers
  • What screwdrivers professional watchmakers use
  • My recommendation for a beginner

Let’s jump right in.

My own adventures with screwdrivers

I’ve had quite the collection of screwdrivers over the years.

I started with a 9-piece set of A*F screwdrivers, of which I replaced the blades with Bergeon ones. They were good screwdrivers, but I decided to upgrade by buying individual Horotec stainless steel screwdrivers in the most used sizes.

Anthony from No BS Watchmaker indirectly convinced me to buy individual VOH screwdrivers because he talked about them in his watchmaking courses.

The Bergeon hype was strong in the watchmaking world, so I bought the Bergeon Bergeon 30081-S09, and two individual screwdrivers from the 7899 range with the elastomer coated handles.

Bergeon 30081-S09 set
Bergeon 30081-S09 set

Somewhere in between, I also bought a set of Beco’s own brand, which look suspiciously like Horotec screwdrivers. In fact, you can’t keep them apart if you look at them side by side.

In the end, I sold most of the screwdrivers apart from the Bergeon 30081-S09 set. It simply feels the best, but it’s a personal preference.

That’s all good, but I’m not a pro. It’s much more interesting to see what professional watchmakers use because they use their screwdrivers day in and out.

So, I jumped on Instagram and asked a bunch of them which screwdrivers they use.

The results might surprise you.

What do the pros use?

What can we learn from this?

  • Twelve of the fourteen professional watchmakers use a Bergeon set.
  • The Bergeon 30081 is the most popular set. Seven of the interviewed pros use this set (4 x 30081-S09 and 3 x 30081-S10).
  • Three of the professional watchmakers use Horotec screwdrivers. Only two of them use a full set.
  • Most watchmakers use multiple sets of screwdrivers. Often, one of the sets has thinner blades to use with vintage watches, for example.
  • Three pros use a more affordable set of unbranded or own brand screwdrivers (Beco and Cousins UK).

It’s not really about the brand

Several of the pros let me in on a little secret: It’s not really about the brand.

The most important part of the screwdriver is the tip, and the blades can be replaced. Basically, you’re paying for the handle, plus some marketing and branding.

Sure, you’ll need a decent set of screwdrivers, but here are some things that are more important than the brand:

  • A good technique
  • Selecting the correct width for each screw
  • Maintenance and dressing your screwdrivers

My recommendation

It depends on the situation.

If you’re not really sure about watchmaking and you have a limited budget, an affordable unbranded or own-brand set from Beco or Cousins is the way to go. As I said earlier, the tips are the most important part of the screwdriver, so you can easily upgrade them with high-quality blades.

I would’ve recommended an A*F set, but they’re very hard to get at the moment. Some of Cousin’s own brand sets look very much like the A*F sets, so maybe they’re producing white-label products now.

If you’re absolutely certain that watchmaking is the perfect job or hobby for you, the Bergeon 30081-S09 or 30081-S10 are excellent choices.

The 7899 range with the polymer-coated handles sounds great, but I didn’t like them one bit. I like to feel the screwdriver and the movement in my fingers, and the polymer didn’t feel good. It’s like driving a car with heavy-duty boots on.

Horotec screwdrivers are expensive, but they’re very high-quality. Rolex doesn’t provide them for their certified watchmakers for no reason. If you can afford it, go for it.

If you want to experience Horotec quality without the Horotec price, check out the sets from Beco’s own brand.

What are your favorite screwdrivers? Let me know in the comments below.

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9 thoughts on “Best Watchmaker Screwdrivers for Beginners”

  1. The manufacturers must be making a killing on these as there is little money in the materials used to manufacture these small drivers. I like my high end mechanics tools like Wera, snapon and Facom but prices of the Bergeon screwdrivers are just outrageous.

    1. But ergonomically there must be something in there which people love.there must be something there that every watchmaker prefer one of bergeon set. they are milking it cuz first they are less swiss competitors except horotec so complete monopoly here and second why lower the price when people are honoured to pay for your product.

      1. I believe it’s a result of multiple factors. Almost all professional watchmaker courses either provide a Bergeon set or recommend buying one. So, it’s simply the set watchmakers begin with so they get used to them. It’s also the biggest name out there. Marketing and branding also play a big role.

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