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  1. trackpad

    trackpad Feb 18, 2017

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    I'm looking for a compact loupe for dial and serial peeping – preferably of all metal construction w/integrated LED. Bonus points if the LED brightness is adjustable.

    I'd appreciate any input you can offer as to which level(s) of magnification makes most sense – and/or a recommendation of a specific model or system that has worked out for you, and why.
     
  2. oddboy

    oddboy Zero to Grail+2998 In Six Months Feb 18, 2017

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    I'd go 5x and 10x if you can. Anymore and you'll start to hate your watches.
     
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  3. vintagecaliber

    vintagecaliber Feb 18, 2017

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    I would go 10x - easier to see serial numbers, caliber indexes (for instance under the balance wheel).
     
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  4. Davidt

    Davidt Feb 18, 2017

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    I just use basic 10x loupes. I find LEDs distracting when inbuilt. Natural light is much better.
     
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  5. jimmyd13

    jimmyd13 Feb 18, 2017

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    trackpad likes this.
  6. trackpad

    trackpad Feb 18, 2017

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    I agree, I'd just like the option.
     
  7. trackpad

    trackpad Feb 18, 2017

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    FYI, there is consensus on Amazon around the value of this guy.

    https://www.amazon.com/BelOMO-Triplet-Loupe-Folding-Magnifier/dp/B00EXPWU8S/

    It has a larger viewing area than most in the same range from Zeiss and B&L, and with comparable (some claim superior) optics. Also sports a durable all-metal frame, which is important. A higher quality product than those coming out of China and being sold for just a few bucks. I think can live without the LED.
     
    Edited Feb 18, 2017
    t_swiss_t likes this.
  8. marcnorth

    marcnorth Feb 18, 2017

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    The type I've used for years is called a Triplet or a Hastings Triplet - basically, a compact design with three stacked lenses that result in a compound lens. The lens body pivots out from a tear dropped shaped metal housing, making it very easy to pocket and keep the lenses protected. (i.e. these are not the watchmaker's type of loupe that mounts with a wire to your head.)

    Personally, 10x for me is more than sufficient.

    If you're buying in person, you can do a little test using an iPhone or a computer screen to determine if there are imperfections.

    1. Hold the loupe perpendicular to the screen
    2. Slowly pull back until you've magnified the pixels just to the point where you can see them distort.
    3. Inspect the distortion. It should be even and smooth, like the first image, and not pinched or warped, as in the second.

    Here's a shot from my 10x Bausch & Lomb:
    BL_Hastings.jpg

    And this one from a no-name 10x triplet that was a gift from a very nice, and very well meaning salesperson:
    NoName_Hastings.jpg

    That second one was free from a jewelry sales person, and it's honestly quite functional, over all. But you get what you pay for, and a good loupe should last you forever, with a good 10x triplet setting you back maybe $40-ish?

    Hope that helps some.
    Marc
     
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  9. trackpad

    trackpad Feb 18, 2017

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    @marcnorth Very helpful.

    What is the diameter of your loupe, and do you consider it adequate?

    Hodinkee's Loupe System (not under consideration!) offers 40mm, which is incredible – I know from having tried it...the viewing area is really nice. The one I was settling on only offers 17mm – not a lot, but still more than others.
     
  10. trackpad

    trackpad Feb 18, 2017

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    @marcnorth Also, great tip re: use of pixels. Makes sense! Won't have this luxury buying on Amazon, but you bet I'll try it after the fact.
     
  11. marcnorth

    marcnorth Feb 18, 2017

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    @trackpad I measured the lens diameter at 14.7mm, 19.1mm if you include the housing.

    Here's the loupe itself:

    IMG_9869.jpg


    And some sample photos, using iPhone 7 plus, just by holding the loupe in front of the rear-facing camera lens:

    IMG_9865.jpg

    IMG_9867.jpg

    The Hodinkee loupe is interesting, given the huge diameter, but the cost is absurdly more than I'd personally pay for only 6x or 10x. These little hastings triplets are tiny and way less d-baggy for bringing around to watch stores, over the monstrous "excuse me, I'm just going to haul out my Hubble Space Telescope to examine the finissage...oh my goodness it's just exquisite!" ;)

    A long time ago I saw a documentary of the lens manufacturing process by Nikon or Canon and the workers held the lenses up in front of a backlit grid of some sort. It took only 30 years for me to give that a try, and lo-and-behold, it definitely seems to show you when the optics are messed up. Good luck with your purchase!
     
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  12. trackpad

    trackpad Feb 18, 2017

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    It seems very likely to be this one.

    https://www.amazon.com/Valeant-Phar...d=1487474525&sr=8-8&keywords=hastings triplet

    Incredible results actually. Based on this, constructing a simple mount or spacer to control it a little more seems totally feasible.

    "Way less d-baggy" ....should be engraved in the metal case.

    Many Thanks!
     
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  13. marcnorth

    marcnorth Feb 18, 2017

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    Looks to be about right.

    It's a bit fussy to hold in place, and it's easy to accidentally introduce vignetting. I've seen other OF members post photos with the Olloclip on an iPhone with really spectacular results, and I'm considering looking into those a bit deeper. But for convenience sake, I can't think you'll ever regret having just a plain on 10x triplet on hand.

    Good luck!
     
  14. OhMegaMan

    OhMegaMan Feb 19, 2017

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    I strongly suggest not using your loupe on watches you own. This might lead to OCD behaviors or uneasiness once you saw all the imperfections.
     
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  15. STANDY

    STANDY schizophrenic pizza orderer and watch collector Feb 19, 2017

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    As said many times before, try a entomologist supply website.

    These guys and gals use loupes all the time and have some of the best not seen anywhere else and at cheaper prices than jewellery places.
    Misses Standy is a entomologist so I have heaps lying around the house. :thumbsup:

    Forget the website but you can pick from multiple sizes and strengths compared to anywhere else.
     
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  16. Tubber

    Tubber Feb 19, 2017

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    I have one of these and find it pretty decent for the price.
     
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  17. TNTwatch

    TNTwatch Feb 19, 2017

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    Can you name some examples of the better ones?
     
  18. Mad Dog

    Mad Dog Married to MacGyverette! Feb 20, 2017

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    Heck, I not only hate my watches using a 10x ANCO Triplet, but I also hate my coins. I need to step away from such magnification. :eek:

    IMG_2512.JPG
     
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  19. cicindela

    cicindela Steve @ ΩF Staff Member Feb 20, 2017

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    The "Optivisor"

    [​IMG]
     
  20. TNTwatch

    TNTwatch Feb 20, 2017

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    This is good but not good enough to find faults on your perfect watches.