CNC Update

I’ve been busy with my CNC milling machine, and anything flat (minute recorder springs, setting lever springs, etc.) is no problem at all.

The final frontier are of course wheels and pinions. The fourth axis motor that came with the milling machine wasn’t very accurate, so I had to modify it in order to be usable for watch parts.

A good indicator how small you can machine is making a small pinion. The one in the photo measures 2.5mm across, and has 18 teeth, so that’s not bad for a start. Continue reading

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

To all our readers who celebrate the season – we wish you a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. And for our readers and customers all over the world who celebrate something else, or don’t celebrate at this time of the year, we do of course wish you our finest season’s greetings, and a Happy New Year!

CNC machine saves a Prince!

Brendan sent in this Rolex Prince from the 1930’s complaining that the crown felt detached from the movement when trying to set the hands.

The movement is removed from its case and the dial and hands are taken off to investigate what is causing the problem. I test the keyless works and it is observed that when the crown is turned in hand setting mode the sliding pinion falls below the intermediate winding wheel making setting the hands impossible. Under the microscope it is just possible to see the end of the stem moving about on the other side of the movement.

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A new era …

My colleague Frank always turns up to our Guild board meetings with funky self-made watch parts, and I was getting curious. He told me that he had a CNC mill, and I pestered him to let me visit him to have a look.

Frank graciously let me come to his workshop, and this is where my little adventure starts.

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Time is of the essence

We often get water damaged watches sent into the workshop, and usually, it’s game over.

Water damage beyond economical repair

This watch saw water ingress a long time ago, and it was left out “to dry”, or, more like it, left out to rust in peace.

If you don’t act quickly, it’s the end of your watch. A week will do nicely, and you have thrown away thousands or at least hundreds of pounds.

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As in many other fields, data is a very important matter. We have to find our spare parts, adjust the timegrapher to the correct lift angle, etc., so it’s very important to have the right data at hand.

So far, Generale Ressorts published a printed catalogue a very long time ago, and that’s still the only source of data when it comes to matching mainsprings with movements. There are some suppliers that have entered some of this data (Cousins, Ofrei, Boley) into their own systems, but a generally available list of mainsprings and where they fit wasn’t available anywhere.

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Seiko 6105-8110, The Turtle

This is the iconic Seiko “Turtle”, THE classic Seiko diver. 

Although Seiko obviously designed this as a dive watch, it was also a great choice for a soldier in combat. It was immortalised in the film Apocalypse Now, where it was worn by Martin Sheen. Water resistant, with a simple robust automatic movement, a timing bezel and also a hacking feature for synchronising (and of course a G-shock wasn’t available back then!).  Continue reading