Dust Covers - The Essential Basic Tools of Watchmaking
As you'll learn very quickly through your watchmaking journey, watch contamination is a big concern. Even the smallest dust particle or oil in the wrong place can make the difference between a watch losing 6 seconds a day to one that loses 600. This may not sound like too much of an issue to most people but to perfectionist watchmakers it's nearly as bad as a movement failing to move.
Once you've opened up a watch case, removed the movement, clamped it in your movement holder and started working on the movement, you may not finish working on the movement in one sitting, or need to work on one specific part outside of the movement. This is when you need a suitable dust cover to protect the movement from contamination, or you'll need to move the movement into a suitable parts container every time you stop working, which is not very efficient. This is mainly essential when reassembling the movement after you've gone through the process of cleaning all the parts.
There are various basic options available, Bergeon and Horotec also produce branded options. They all follow a similar design of a glass dome with a handle on top, very similar to a cake/cheese board cover only smaller.
To start with I managed without a dust cover as there were other more important tools to purchase but I eventually went through my cupboards and found a suitable option that was big enough to cover the movement, movement holder and watch cushion.
What I ended up using was the glass ramekins that the Gu Desserts come in. Having quite a sweet tooth I had plenty of these and now actually keep 3 of them permanently on my desk to cover not only the movement I am working on but any loose parts that I don't want to put away in the parts container. I even use the spare ramekin to cover my watch cushions while they are not in use in order to minimise any dust that will land on them. These are a perfect size and if they came with lids would have many more uses but I will come to that in a future post.
They may be slightly too small to completely cover my larger watch cushion but still serves the purpose of protecting the watch cushion and movement from contamination.
Basic Variety = around £3
Branded Variety = from £13
Save your money, there's definitely no real advantage to using a branded option. The basic options are more than good enough but you most likely already have a suitable solution lying around the house. An old jar, small glass bowl or glass ramekin as I use are all perfect candidates. To be honest they don't even need to be glass but it is useful to be able to see what's underneath without needing to lift it up.
If you think I've missed anything or have anything to add, please comment below.