Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Some close ups

Here are a few more close up photos of the watch...

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Temporary Relief

So I finally broke down and took a few photos. I was mostly hesitating because I don't really have the right set up to take some decent photos. But I figured I'd try and show people what it looks like. So here they are:

Unfortunately I didn't have the time to finish everything how I wanted and of course now that I am back in Canada I don't have the tools/workshop to do what I need. So it's not quite working how it's supposed to but the basic time function works just fine. 

As always all comments and opinions welcome. Would love to know what people think of the design and finish. I'm also wondering if there are any people interested in buying something like this and if so, what would you think it's worth? Anyways, let me know and I'll try to respond to any questions.


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Hold on to your butts...

Hey just wanted to let people know I'll be doing an update with the finished watches soon. I finished school May 27th but I left for 3 weeks traveling a few day after so I haven't had time to take pictures or anything like that. And I will be moving back to Canada on Tuesday so the update might be another week or so. So in the wise words of Mr. Samuel Jackson....

And seeing as I have been traveling, check some of the new photos on flickr. Will be adding a few at a time gradually.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Week 42 May 9-14th, 2011

Just a quick update this week. Still working on getting the bridges back to functional. The barrel bridge is not fun so it's taking a little while.

I did finish the case and caseback so now it is sent to the get the sapphire crystal fitted. We also got in touch with the strap maker and they are sending a sample of the leather so I can make sure it's the color I want. Sorry I don't have more photos but I haven't had the time to stop and take photos of everything.

Here's a photo of the case. I had to enlarge the center, and then drill and tap holes for the caseback to screw down. There wasn't a lot of room in the case to make the holes for screws so they are quite small. The tapping went fine until the last one where I broke the tap. That sucked pretty bad but after about an hour (and a bunch of ruined cutters) I got the broken piece out. So now it works fine.

This is the cutout for the movement holding clamps. I will still have to refinish the case since it was used and had some scratches on it from before. But it is pretty much ready for the movement.

Then I worked on finishing a good dial. First I sandblasted the whole piece. Then I centered the hour/minute section on the M1/Schaublin table and then used the lathe to cut out the recess leaving the circular grained surface. Then I put it back on the M1 and used a widia three face cutter to cut out the indexes using the indexed plate. Pretty simple really. Then I did the same with the seconds cutout. After that I cut out a small + and - for the power reserve indication. I had previously checked the power reserve to make sure I knew the actual angle the hand moves so that it will be accurate on the dial. Then lastly I plated the whole thing with black rhodium. So here are a few photos of the dial.

Cutting out the indexes.

I also finished the hands. Here is the finished dial and hands. It looks pretty much just how I planned so that is nice! It'll look even better once the moon phase wheel is in and it's in the case.

So there's only 2 weeks left in the course. This week is the final exam and then next week everyone is going on visits to different watchmaking companies. Unfortunately it doesn't look good that I'll be able to go on these visits if I want to have my watch finished. But maybe if things go really well this week/weekend it might happen. There is a visit to Philippe Dufour on Monday which would be really awesome to see, so I'll cross my fingers for now.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Weeks 38-41 Apr. 13-May 7th, 2011

Well it's been a long time since I updated this and I suppose some people are wondering what's going on. To be honest there wasn't that much new or interesting so I just didn't bother. But last week some things started to come together. Anyways, here's what's up.

A lot of April I spent getting the W-01 running, decorated, and ready for the COSC certification. That ended up sucking up a lot of my time which wasn't great but finally we sent them away last Friday. Lets hope they all pass!

Then after that we had the hairspring exam. I had done the least amount of preparation for the exam since I have been working so much on my watch. So I was a little worried about how it would go. Things can go wrong pretty quickly with hairsprings but everything went well and I got a 5.55/6 (the marking scale in Switzerland is out of 6 all the time, not sure why). It was nice to have the last intermediate exam finished and now all I have to worry about in terms of the program is the final.

For the AMS1 things were going fine. I had gotten everything running and had decided to send the balance bridge to Gravalance to get engraved. So I started doing some finishing on the bridges and all the other parts. I finished the two moonphase jumper/springs, the star wheel/cam, beveling on the dial side barrel bridge, and some other minor finishing.

Then I tried to do the geneva waves I had done before. Lets just say this went 7 different kinds of wrong. I had put supports under the bridges first and then re-flattened the surface. Then I did all the bevels perfect. But when I went to make the waves it just did not work out. Each one was a little different for some reason and the middle bridge for the 3rd and center wheels was all out of whack. Not sure what really happened but needless to say it sucked. So I tried to recover the bridges and just settle for straight graining the surface, but by the time I had gotten all of them even again, they were all too thin! So now I am making all the bridges again. I am about 70% done, but it is definitely shitty since I was pretty much done and now I am struggling to get it back and working.

Then I also got some news that the guy we thought could make a case could only cut out the profile of the shape I designed, which was pretty much useless. I was pretty down about that. But just today I tested a case from a Nixon watch I have and it is going to work perfect! Well I still have to modify it a bit and make a caseback, but it's definitely going to work. Super happy about that, and the case is close to my original design so that's great. Now we have to get a strap and a buckle and everything is set.

I mentioned that I sent the balance bridge to get engraved. Well it came back last week, and it looks amazing! Really happy with the look and it is going to give the watch just a little extra. Here are some pictures. The swan neck and regulator aren't on yet, but I you can see all the engraving this way for now.

Thanks Hanne!!

So once I got the bridge I started finishing the regulator and stud holder. This did not go so well because of the regulator. I had made the bevel of the sink too small and wanted to make it bigger. I tried centering it on the lathe and making it bigger but I think it wasn't quite flat and therefore it was all off center. Needless to say it was unrecoverable and I had to make a new one. Didn't take very long, but now it had to fit just right with the jewel and it was not so easy. It took a while to get it to fit, and in the process I bent the stud holder!!! I was already thinking I would have to make another since it looked a little funny where the stud screw was, but again it just set me back some more. But now the two parts are really nice and should work great. As you can see a lot of my time was spent making shit I already made....

Then I had to make the new dial. The first one I made came out warped when I made it so thin, but this time I used my brain a little bit more and it came out perfectly flat and 0.70mm thick. I haven't decorated it yet because I need to see the actual working angle of the power reserve hand to know where to mark the + and - on the dial. But here is the rough cutout before finishing.

Then this week I also started finishing the hands. A classmate gave me a good idea to glue them to a round bar so that I could curve the hands from side to side and lengthwise. It is working really really good and I am done polishing the power reserve and seconds hands. I plan to blue them and then grain the center after to leave it silver in the center. But I think they look awesome for hand made hands!!

I'm going to try and blue some other hands first so I can find the right way to do it. It's not easy to blue something that thin an even color. Hopefully it works...

So now I am trying to get those bridges back to working order, along with learning chronograph watches, plus finishing the rest of the parts for the AMS1. So much work to do but only 2 weeks to the final and 3 til the graduation. I hope to have my watch done by the grad but the limiting hours at the school might prevent me from that, so we'll see. Wish me luck!!!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Week 37 Apr. 4-10, 2011

Last week I worked on getting the rest of the power reserve and moon phase systems in working condition. I had to make the power reserve pivot and finger, along with the spring to hold it against the cam. This meant milling out a recess in the mainplate to fit the spring under the dial side barrel bridge. After some careful planning I had the recess milled out, and the locating pin and screw hole done. I was planning to make another identical screw to the ones for the moon phase/star wheel springs so I wouldn't have another different type of screw. For some reason I forgot I made the screws 0.60mm thread not 0.50 so I ended up tapping the hole twice, oops! But not a functional problem, just an extra 20 minutes. So here is a picture of the spring. It's a kinda funny shape, but it could only fit in that location so it is what it is.

And here is the spring on the mainplate under the bridge.

Then I had to make the pivot for the power reserve finger that carries the indicating hand. It is just a small shaft that has two burnished pivots on it, and then I friction fit it onto the finger. I also tried to polish the side of the finger to reduce the friction when it slides on the cam (even though it is a slow moving part, friction never helps). Here's what the piece looks like, finger and pivot.

There is a step on the pivot for the hand to help it sit parallel with the dial. 

While I was doing this I was also tweaking the springs for the star/moon phase wheels. The beaks of the springs had to be adjusted so that the wheels jump at the correct moment and with the right amount of tension. The beak also should be polished so there is little friction and won't stop the motion of the parts. So after a bunch of filing and polishing here are the springs against the wheels.

I also put in the new post for the pivot of the moon phase wheel. The original one I milled out from the mainplate, but after I did the decoration on the real moon phase wheel, the hole was too big for the post I milled out! Instead of making a new wheel I now have a post that I can adjust the height of the wheel to sit just under the dial, so I guess it worked out better in the end.

Next was to try the moon phase system out! Here's a video which is much better than pictures. It is working exactly like I designed it, nice when a plan comes together.

After that I had to work on my click spring. I had been having a bit of trouble with them breaking. It's a very small spring since it fits under the click, and it does a lot of work. I think I had just made it too thick before and it was too much stress. So I milled out a few, and now I will test how long it will last. It seems to work much smoother now that it is thinner. What a difference 5/100ths of a millimeter can make!

I wasn't going to make just one!

Hopefully it lasts!

Once I had the click spring back in action I was ready to test the power reserve. I first tested it without the PR and I had about 270° amplitude. And when I assembled the PR and got it running again I had the same 270°. That was a good sign that the PR didn't suck the amplitude from the balance. There is still some tweaking to make it function smoothly but it worked on the wind up and down so that is sweet! I'll have some more pics when I get it all running properly.

Another thing I started making was some hands. I have to make them since all of the dimensions are not common and I would like them to look a certain way anyways. I just drew them up on the CAD program and then used the M1 to mill them out. It worked pretty good, I was kinda surprised! I only made the hour and minute hands and only the rough milling so far but here's a pic of the basic design.

They will need a bevel and to be polished and blued...

Then the next thing was to try and make some finishings on the trial dial I have. The main part was to be sandblasted, and then circular graining for the hour/minute and seconds cut-outs. Then coat it in black rhodium for a matte grey look. I had a plan of attack in my mind and it worked awesome. It looks just how I had imagined it which is always a plus. Here's a pic:

So then I had to make some indexes for the different hour/minutes. I still have to try this again to get it the way I want but it's pretty close. I also plan to have the 3, 6, 9, & 12 engraved as well. And then maybe only marks for every 5 seconds not all. But that's just a design aspect. So here it is with the hands. Only the hour/minute are the right ones, but the other ones will be similar. All the hands will be blued I think. What do you think about it? If you have any thoughts feel free to share them, feedback is always nice.

The moon phase wheel is just held on with rodico from the back for the picture. There will be a + and - for the power reserve indication as well, just didn't do it there.

After I realized I will most likely be able to finish the inside parts of the watch, I had to think about a case. I just want a stainless steel one (much cheaper) and we found (thanks to Hanne from Gravalance) a guy who hopefully can make one for me. The main reason for needing to have a case made is because I added a lot of height to the dial side of the movement which puts the winding stem way out of alignment for regular 6498 cases. So I had to work on designing the whole case and all the dimensions to make it work. It's not so easy! There are a lot of things to think about. Plus I needed to design a corrector for the moon phase wheel. Anyways it took about 2 days to think of all the parts (like glass, gaskets, screws, crown and tube, pusher for corrector) needed and dimensions. We submitted the drawings to the company and now we are waiting to hear back if it the design is ok. They said it takes about 4 weeks to make it so it should be done in time if all goes well.

Sorry for the glare in these pics, but just trying to show the designing of the case and all the dimensions/measurements.

So I hope that fixes any cravings for info on the blog, really exciting to see it all coming together. I also have to work out a strap for it as well, but I'll get to it later. One last thing I wanted to show is my bench. Watchmakers are known for being clean and organized. I get laughed at all the time because there is so much shit on my bench. But like I say "that's just how I roll". Plus I always seem to know where anything is so I find it easier this way. Of course I wouldn't have all this stuff when servicing watch, but it's too bad for the people who visit the school and see my clusterf!&# of a workbench haha!

Not sure what those drawers are for.....

If you have twitter I just started an account here if you are interested. Personally twitter is not my thing, but I'll give it a go...

Monday, April 4, 2011

Week 36 Mar. 28-Apr. 2, 2011

Last week I worked a bunch on the W-01. I was at the point where all I needed to do is the timing and finishing. But to do the timing I needed to have the balance bridge 100% finished and all the decoration complete. This is because the spring can't be removed after it is timed or everything will have to be done again. This also means that I will have to be extra careful with this part as it can't be refinished again. All the bevels are polished and the sides are straight grained.

So I flat polished the top of the clamp first. I had some troubles and wasn't getting a perfect polish but it was because I was using a bit too much paste. Less is more I guess in the polishing department. After that I polished the two screws that hold the mechanism to the bridge. Then I blued them just right. They didn't have to be blued but I thought it was kinda nice. Unfortunately you can only see the end of the screw and not the head, but I think it's just one of those details that make hand finished watches more special. Here's a pic of those screws.

Then I also polished and blued the clamp screw. You can see it in the following photo. The side of the clamp is a bit dirty so I'll have to clean it up before the final assembly.

In this next pic you can see the flawless straight graining on the top of the bridge. Also, I tried to take a picture where you can see the mirror polish on the top of the clamp. You can see the two screw ends are polished as well. I tried to set the Incabloc jewel perpendicular to the screws.

After that I started working on the case. The school will be getting new cases for these movements in the future but this project wasn't really planned very far ahead so we have to use some old stuff and make it work. The case we have is one the previous course used for their school watch. But that was for a different smaller movement so I had to do some modification to make the W-01 fit. Just a bit of expansion really, nothing too complicated. I also had to make casing screws (to hold the movement in the case). Here are the casing screws:

The way they hold is by a small cut out on the case, and a slight overhang of the screw from the movement. This pic kinda shows that...

I also had to re-plate the case. This is because the original finish is a rhodium color, and the material of the case is brass. So the places where I made the case larger are visible in some areas like the side where the balance is (next pic).

After I expanded the case to fit the W-01, there was another problem. Since the older movement was smaller, the caseback glass was also smaller and therefore the case was blocking a lot of the movement. Here in this picture you can see the case is covering up almost 2mm from the edge. It's covering almost all of the click spring.

 So we had to order new glass and I had to modify the bezel to fit the new glass. The material in that part of the case was quite small so we decided to just glue the glass in. It was good to get some experience glueing a crystal in.  I also had to re-plate the bezel after modifying it for the new crystal.

After modification and new crystal. I also cut the stem to the correct length and glued it on.

Only the balance bridge is finished to completion, don't worry...

I also started making some adjustments for the power reserve on the AMS1. I had to make a new wheel because the one I made had a little too much backlash for my liking. And next week I will hopefully get the power reserve and moon phase in working order! One last thing, just wanted to show the smallest part I had to make for the watch. It's not the most complicated, just a pin with a top, but still the smallest and not easy to find if it jumps out of your tweezers. It's the pin that holds the satellite wheel on the intermediate wheel.