How to Get Started with Watch Modding Hobby

Rohan Mathew

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Are you a timepiece lover? If you are, then you have probably heard about watch modding. Are you planning to make watch modding a hobby?

Well, if you are new to watch modding, you might find it a little intimidating. You’ll be working with delicate parts and pieces that are sensitive to mishandling. Damages to pieces could happen, and it could be disheartening, knowing that timepieces aren’t free.

But being able to create a new unique watch is overly satisfying. You might even get hooked to this hobby after accomplishing a well-made wristwatch.

Starting a hobby such as watch modding can be difficult initially, but here are some guides to help you be enlightened about this hobby.

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What is Watch Modding?

Modding is a shortened word for “modifying.” So, watch modding is all about watch modifications. It is about changing parts or pieces of your watch to make it more unique and stylish.

The watch enhancement could start from the straps down to the glass and crown. It has been an exciting and fulfilling hobby for some watch enthusiasts. They can personalize their timepieces according to their preferred style and fashion.

Reasons to Mod Watches

There are several different reasons why enthusiasts resort to watching modding. And here the two most common reasons to mod watches.

First, timepiece lovers turn to modding when certain parts or pieces they don’t like about their watch. For example, they don’t like the straps. Modders try to change it to something that they prefer. One primary reason for watch modding is aesthetics.

The second reason is to enhance the performance of the watch. They usually do watch modification by changing the movement of the wristwatch into another type of movement.

The best example of this is the Seiko 7S26. Its movement lacks hand-winding and hacking capabilities. This might be a big deal to some watch enthusiasts, so they tend to replace its movements with a different one.

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How to Mod a Watch

Before you start with your watch modding hobby, you need to find the appropriate timepiece for modding.

The best watches to pick are the Seiko’s SKX line. They are the most popular watches for modding since the parts of Seiko mod are mostly available. You won’t have a hard time finding the pieces that you will love.

Once you have found the best watch for your style, you need to purchase modding tools. Though some tools are seen at home, some are required to be purchased.

Here some of the standard modding tools that you need:

Basic Repair Kit

A basic repair kit would be enough depending on the kind of modification you want for your watch. Getting a repair kit is inexpensive than buying each tool individually.

Make sure that your basic watch repair kit contains a few of the following: Spring bar tool, case back opener, movement holder, watch case holder, dust remover puffer, tweezers, screwdrivers, and watch bracelet resizer.

Since you are still starting with watch modding, it is better that you invest in cheaper tools before buying high-quality ones.

Aside from the mentioned tools, you may also need the following:

Sharpening Stone/whetstone

Sharpening stone/whetstone is used to sharpen your screwdrivers. You may also need masking tape that you will use when you are trying to remove the rotating bezel or the bracelet. It will serve as a cushion that will prevent scratches on your watch.

Finger Cot

Another essential tool is finger cots. It is a rubber glove that fits your fingertips. This will prevent you from having your fingerprints on the watch or movement.

Jeweler Gloves

You may also need jeweler gloves. You may use it if you want to do some modifications outside of your watch.

Microfiber Cloth

Microfiber cloth is also an essential material for modding. It is suitable for cleaning, and it can prevent scratching on delicate parts of the watch.

Plastic Calipers

Plastic calipers are used to measure the dimension of your watch. It is essential, especially when you want to find parts of your timepiece’s best size.


Mallet is used to hammering the pushpin from your watch. It contains rubber at the end, so you can hammer it when removing the pushpin.

Those are a few of the essential tools to start with modding as your new hobby. You may start buying the cheaper ones first. They are available on eBay, so they aren’t as hard to find.

Besides that, some of those are available at home, so it isn’t worrisome to find them.

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Common Watch Modding Styles

There are several ways you can modify your watch. You can do any design as long as you have the right materials with you. To give you ideas on some common watch modifications, here are some that you can try.

If you want to get inspiration from iconic ones, you may try the Poor Man’s MarineMaster or PMMM. It is a resemblance to Seiko’s MarineMaster Prospex Diver. Once you have modified your watch into a PMMM, you now have a Fifty Fathom mod. It is named after a historic dive made by Blancpain.

And if you want a modern mix style on your watch, you can try Planet Monster. It is a combination of Seiko Monster and Omega Planet Ocean. If you are fond of Seiko and Omega watches, this modding style might be the right one for you.

But if you are looking for a more subtle modification, you can try doing simple and easy modding. You can change the color of your date wheel and match it with the dial. You may also switch the hands or bezel insert. The modifications depend on your preferred style.

One crucial thing about modding is for you to be able to do the procedures right. If you are hesitant about modding on your own, there are numerous tutorials online. You can search for the watch enthusiasts’ forum and ask for some advice.

Finding forums online will also help you meet some of the watch modders personally. You can even ask them for help with your watch modding.

It might be a little challenging to find the right modding parts at first. But once you get the hang of it, you would be amazed at your newly found hobby.

Just remember to start with the fundamental watch repair kits first. You can just replace them with better ones when you already have adept modding skills.