Cheap Mainspring Winders – Are they any good? Full review and comparison with the Bergeon Winders

Cheap Mainspring Winders – Are they any good? This video is a full review of the Chinese manufactured mainspring winders which are now popping up all over many online stores, I thought it would be interesting to review them and compare them with the Swiss Bergeon Winders

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  • Paul Wheelhouse

    Hi people
    I must admit that I was going down the Chinese route, I ordered a set from Aliexpress, as a 68 year old pensioner funds are a little limited, any way 9 weeks later still waiting, put in a not received complaint to Ali and my money was refunded, looked a Cousins site, yes your right, could not afford to buy a set. Looking closely, see what are included in a set, then each month when I get my pension, I buy 2 generic winders a time, still not cheap but after 4 months I will have enough right handed to do most of what watches I have, by the way the generic winders are £11 cheaper than caliber specific. hope this log wind bit helps

  • I was a little surprised that you didn’t mention another option in the video. I bought a little set that, so far, has worked well for me, on all the mainsprings I’ve installed. There is one handle and six arbors that are fitted to the handle. There is a metal plate, with six spring-holders in it, plungers on the reverse side. Let’s see if this photo link works.

  • Interesting, which general Bergeon set would you suggest for the hobbyist who is mainly interested in non luxury watches from the 40’s thru the 60’s

    • A

      The generic sets made by Bergeon are definitely more suited to the older calibers. They have bigger arbors in relation to the barrel diameters.

  • Well, this was extremely useful in assessing the value of these tools, as in there is very little. However, I’m still at a loss on how to go about winding in mainsprings for Seikos. Currently, that’s mostly what I work on. I’m also a little confused (and always have been actually) about the pocket watch mainsprings. If i’m installing the loop opposite of the hole, how do they hook up? Will it hook up when I wind it? How will I know?
    Right now, my only option, unless I buy a new mainspring is to hand wind it. I know it’s bad practice (I don’t really work on anyone else’s but my own, and if I do, I don’t charge them), but I’m just not sure what the cost effective way to go about it is. I can’t afford the $750-$1000 for the Bergeon. Open to suggestions!

    • A

      Not all Seikos have left hand windings. This is why a generic set with both options is the most useful.
      You can try to orientate the barrel so that the hook will fall close to the barrel hook when you press in the spring but its not usually a problem as they will slip round the first time you wind up the spring.
      If you are talking about t-slot mainsprings then those are not suited for this kind of tool. Or rather, this kind of tool is not suitable for winding t-ended mainsprings.
      A new mainspring does not cost a lot of money, this is a far better option than hand winding – that’s the point I tried to make with the video and that is the suggestion I would make. Hand winding will probably be OK as far as the here and now, but this may cause more wear in the long term for that watch and degrade performance. As long as you and the owner of the watch are aware of that then that’s fine.

      • Yeah, I did some more research on the Seikos and it seems to revolve around which caliber they are. I was specifically looking at the 4006 movement and realized that the alarm mainspring is right, but the movement mainspring is left. Although I have no idea what generic Bergeon number the alarm mainspring barrel is. I’m assuming I could just measure it and go off of that. Either way, I confirmed as much from your video on that movement.

        The t-slot mainsprings make sense because you wouldn’t be able to get it in the tool, and even if you did, if you don’t get it in the slot of the barrel, you won’t be able to put the cover on to wind it up. So what is the solution to that? I don’t actually have any t-slot mainsprings on my bench or in the near future, just curious. The only thing I could think of was the bench K&D winders that are held with a bench vice, but even then I’m not entirely certain that would work. I’ve also seen some where there doesn’t seem to be a barrel to wind the mainspring in to, but rather a lever/arm that seems to hold it in place until you push it into the barrel. But I was thinking those were more for clocks.

        Anyway, thank yo so much for the clarification! You’re the best!!

  • I have a set of these winders that have steel pins, on the box it said Swiss Quality. I have used them and had no problems, yet!

    • A

      That’s awesome. It’s a shame that the materials the crank arbors are made from are not part of the advertising feature set when viewing the listings. It would make buying decisions so much easier. Plus I felt that it was important to let people know that these are calibre specific winders and may not be so useful for many of the older movements.

  • Robert Duckworth

    Well, “polishing a turd” would seem to describe this set of winders. I agree with you that with a little forethought and planning, a much more useful set could be produced with steel pins that might last a while longer. I would have personally preferred to have a graduated set of barrels by size that movement. Thanks for the video and the assessment.

  • As always – great content Mark. Inexpensive tool options are great – but “cheap” is seldom desirable in my experience. In fact, “cheap” is often the most expensive route. Regardless, few if any of us have unlimited funds with which to purchase. Hobbyist or professional. So, these reviews are appreciated.

  • How do you approach mainsprings which have smaller height? Can you adjust the depth of the holding tool?

    • [Disclaimer: I’m new.]

      Yeah, I don’t think the height matters, as that would only affect the travel of the plunger. There is plenty, it just moves further if it’s a narrower spring, and doesn’t move as far if it’s a wider spring.

    • A

      No, these barrels do not have height adjustments. But in my experience, it has never been an issue – the heights of the barrel drums are usually appropriate for the diameter of wound mainspring.

  • Great video Mark! The Cousins set actually looks like the arbors are made from steel and there is only one holder 🙂

    • A

      Yes – many people have reported the same. Its a shame they don’t post pictures of the crank arbors for people to see. Or at least list that as one of it’s features.