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!!!