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January 4, 2013 at 9:07 pm #48448
If you guys go to Youtube and bring up you can see the actual lathes that make watch parts. I watched two videos: one making barrel arbors, and the other making stems. It is truly a sight to behold.
davidJanuary 10, 2013 at 6:12 pm #52564randyParticipant
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I’ll check it out David…thanks for the tip !
RandyJanuary 10, 2013 at 7:37 pm #52565
There is a misguided view perpetrated by the Swiss Watchmaking Industry that Swiss watches are made by superior craftsman wearing eyeloupes and green visor caps. I learned many years ago (1990s) at a Chicago machine tool show that this was not the case. What I saw there was a large, heavy machine with a huge coil or wire being fed into the headstock spitting out watch staffs every few seconds. The CNC technology that the machine functions on began in 1947 by the Parson’s Company. They manufactured helicopter blades for military helicopters and were looking for a way to make more accurate blades. The cordinates for the blades were generated on the office accounting machines and the cuting was guided by machinists turning the handles on manual machines. The results were better than any other method that had been tried before so at the request of the U.S. Air Force, Parson’s turned their information over to M.I.T.. It was M.I.T. that actually developed the first CNC technology. I have seen a lot of prejudice in this industry against anything that is not Swiss. This attitude spans from watches to tools to training programs. The truth is, it does not matter if a person is a Swiss trained watchmaker or a self trained watchmaker. There are only good watchmakers and bad watchmakers.
davidJanuary 11, 2013 at 12:41 am #52566
Having proper training can help anyone but the training still doesnt deal with a persons attitude and work ethic. I agree David, with a lot of the swiss stuff you are paying for the name. Just as a side note Bergeon sell a watchmakers vice that retails at around £300. I bought the exact same vice without the Bergeon badge for £15. It does make you wonder! The other funny thing is there does only seem to be good or bad horologists, there never seems to be anything inbetween.
Paul.January 11, 2013 at 6:47 am #52567
A few years ago I pulled off a series of articles called “a day at watch school”. I do not know if the articles are still available but it would be worth checking out. The person who wrote the article did a fantastic job documenting his educational experiences in a Swiss watch school curriculum. The training looked very good however, there was nothing in the training that could not be accomplished by purchasing the necessary equipment and using available study material. The designer label perception will always be in the minds of many that the person comming from the Swiss program will forever be a watch expert and a person comming from any other program will always be somewhat less. If you pull off some of the George Daniels interviews you can extrapolate his opinions on the subject. He did not talk favorably about the arrogance comming out of that country. Also, Steffan Pahlow is a self taught watchmaker. He told me in and email he sent to me.
davidJanuary 11, 2013 at 1:45 pm #52568watchthebearParticipant
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Hello all , One is still available in 6 parts. It is North Seattle Community College I believe. Just type in “day in watch school” and Google will do the rest. http://www.tp178.com/jd/watch-school/1/article1.html That is the link I have.. Take care …………………stay well………………………bJanuary 12, 2013 at 5:26 am #52569jimk4131Participant
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Go down to the bottom of the page for all 6.January 12, 2013 at 12:01 pm #52570
I came across that blog when I first started in Horology, it was an amazing read and even now while searching for certain things this comes up and I cant help reading it again.
David, a friend of mine did his apprenticeship with the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers. He had won a bursary but part of the process was to be interviewed for it. George Daniels did his interview. Daryn said he was a no nonsense kind of guy but with a sense of humour. I cant remember the specifics of one of the questions he asked Daryn but Daryn said his mind went blank and then slowly the answer came to him and he managed to explain his answer. George said to him “You wont forget that again in a hurry” Daryn laughed when he told me the story and said he never has forgotten the answer. I cant imagine how intimidating that interview must have been.
Steffan Pahlow is a genius, watching him work is almost like watching art. I have a lot of respect for anyone who cares for their art so much that their work becomes an art. We have acess to such a person, good old Bob Tascione, much friendlier than George Daniels!January 12, 2013 at 1:26 pm #52571
George Daniels seemed to have ample time and money to invent and build watch movements and collect expensive cars. How on earth did he get the money to do this and set up the incredible and extremely expensive shop that he had? He did not make that many watches and I do not know how many of these he sold. By the way, I enjoy reading your blogs; in part because it exposes me to words like “meadows and passmore” and “bursary” which are not commonly used over here. You seem to have a sharp mind and good problem solving skills. Stay with it and you will be able to do great things.
davidJanuary 12, 2013 at 3:41 pm #52572randyParticipant
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I know of what you speak.
My father went through the Bulova school after WWII.
Unfortunately, he passed away long before I had the chance to learn from him, and I’ve only started this next craft in my life, about 4 years ago.
I use what tools my mom had left, that belonged to my father,…a way of connecting to him I suppose.
I’m almost 58 now, and looking for this to be my next life chapter.
Dad wore a Hamilton, and I have that watch, along with a couple others from that brand.
He had nothing but great things to say about American watches.
I had a Waltham Maximus from his collection for some time, and I can’t think of many watches as elegantly crafted.
There’s nothing that we can’t do as well as the Swiss, or any other group of craftsmen, if we have the same resources available.
From what I’ve read, the Swiss really didn’t have the market until after the revival of mechanical watches just this century.
I’m not bashing anyone…don’t see the need…but I know all about the snobbery, and I would hope that among unique craftsmen, that this would not be the case.
All my best,
RandyJanuary 12, 2013 at 5:59 pm #52573watchthebearParticipant
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hello all…………got this from wiki: :”After much experimenting, he patented a type of watch escapement called the co-axial escapement, which takes away the necessity to oil the escapement and has reduced friction to a very low level (since oil produces problems due to thickening). The co-axial escapement has now been put into production by Omega and has been described as the most important horological development in the last 250 years.” I have personally known people, friends from my younger years, who wrote a couple of songs that got recorded and put on albums of famous musicians ( The Doors being one). It is surprising how much money people make from rather small endeavors compared to that which is expressed in the above quote. Who knows how many millions Omega paid over time for the use of this escapement; or even more millions they might have paid for exclusive rights to it? People really can make a lot of money from
hard work, intelligence, and good ideas………..take care……stay well……………………..bJanuary 13, 2013 at 5:18 am #52574
thank you for the very kind comments. I feel very lucky being a member of this forum. I have learnt so much from it and hope I manage to give something useful back. If Bob could find a way of showing prospective course customers how much more they get than just the videos I think it would help his sales no end
You too give sound advice and I also enjoy reading your posts. If I can think of any more interesting words I will post them up
I was lucky enough to attend a BHI meeting when the talk was given by the first English guy to have made it through the Swiss watch school. He went on to work for Rolex in almost every department. He made most of his tools during his years at the school course. This guy was so clever he could have serviced a watch with some sticky tape and a cocktail stick. The old saying “A bad workman always blames his tools” comes to mind quite often when looking at Bergeon tools as the saying must work both ways, a bad workman will do bad work no matter how much he paid for his tools. A good workman can work with almost anything(apart from some of those really poor watchmakers scredrivers they sell on e-bay )
George Daniels had his fingers in a few different pies from what I can gather, I think he made most of his money in the beginning by buying and restoring classic cars. Omega would have paid him a lot for his co-axial escapement, not sure it would have been millions but who knows, He would either have sold them a licence to use it or received a payment for each watch made with the escapement.
Paul.January 13, 2013 at 8:56 pm #52575
There have been over 110 hits on this blog. It is good that there is an interest in this subject. I hope everybody watched the Youtube videos of the production machines making the watch parts. After reading everything I could find and watching every video I could find, I am left with the impression that the watch industry is telling their students to make watch repair parts with 17th century technology while they are manufacturing their parts with 21st century technology. When gravers were first used to turn watch parts there was no other technology available. When I pulled up the series of articles on “A Day In Watch School” I was suprised that what was being taught was an accepted process for making the replacement parts and not making acceptable parts. If a part in a watch is to function properly it must be made to the correct dimensions within an acceptable tolerance. How this is done is, in the overall scheme of things, is not particularaly relevant. If a part is made with a graver or a cross slide it will either function properly or it will not.
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