So about 18 months ago, my search for a new vice began.
There are a staggering number of crap vices out there! I actually didn't need anything particularly special, but finding something that wasn't junk proved far harder than I was expecting.
I has seen the Swiss Bergeon watchmakers vice for sale from H.S.Walsh in hatton gardens. its a really nice vice but seriously expensive. Far too expensive for me.
The other end of the scale had jaws that were comically bad. My Faithfull vice wasn't bad when it was new, but that was 10 years ago! I actually looked at getting the same vice again. its still available. but when I saw the quality I was very disappointed. the jaws are now very poorly finished. the basic casting is the same, but its obvious that their standards have declined. It would be easy to blame a country of manufacture for nthe poor quality, but the simple fact is that factorys will produce a product to the price point of the person commissioning it. had they offered some more money then I have no doubt that it could have been made to the same standard as the old one. but unfortunately the nature of modern business is to get the products for the cheapest possible price regardless.
Then about a year ago, I was browsing the Eileens emporium stand at an exhibition. I saw something a bit familiar! It had no label on it, but I was sure it was the Bergeon 2021 watchmakers vice.
Here are some pictures of a genuine Bergeon 2021 watchmakers vice that still available today from H.S. Walsh. it currently sells for £199
Here are some pictures of my Eileens emporium version that currently sells for £85! I challenge you to spot the difference!
There are actually a couple of differences if you look really closely. Although I have to say I don't know the age of the Bergeon vice in the pictures above. the jaws on mine are not ground on the top. I think in the pictures, the Bergeon vice is surface ground on the top of the jaws.
Also the casting is a very slightly different shape along the rib below the handle.
Also, the paintwork is better on the Bergeon.
But for less than half the price, I will live!!
The vice is a joy to use. I though that the separate base plate was a big of a gimmick until I actually used it! its great being able to move the vice wright out of the way with a flick of the side lever.
I do have one small criticism... the jaws don't seem to be available as spares. and on an £85 vice, that's a bit of a problem. I am hoping that it will be rectified in due course before the ones fitted get knackered!
Its also a small vice. the jaws are 45mm which is fine for the vast majority of work I do, but I have a feeling that at some point I will be missing the 70mm jaws of the Faithfull. I have got 10 lots of Walscherts valvegear to do shortly and this vice was undoubtedly a good investment, but at some point I will be doing a project that will require something larger and as it stands, I don't know of anything suitable.