Friday, April 3, 2020

HABITS

WEEK 52


Pierre Aubert, James Punshon, Jayne Zhuo

Origin : Sydney, Australia. Toulouse, France. Singapore.
Age : 23
Watchmaking class: Technician Course
Current mood: Bonjour Jayne here. This 2nd week of home schooling has been great thus far! It lets you experience what it feels like to run your own workshop at home. Man, I must say, it aint easy at all! So much discipline involve. Other than that, intense week of trial exams yet so fulfilling because you know you can do it when you put your heart and soul to it. Stay safe everyone. Ciao~ 

Markus McDonald 
Origin : Stockholm Sweden 
Age : 21
Watchmaking class: 2 years Fullskill Program
Current mood: This week I focused on three different things making the week both intense and highly productive.
Firstly much like last week I focused on the pivot gauge being to improve them in accuracy and consistency not being perfect but making substantial progress especially with integrating the new techniques that I developed.
Secondly I worked on one of three winding stems, specifically a winding stem in the style of a keyless pocket watch that I based off of measurements that I took from a real pocket watch which when I make will be able to directly slot it into the watch. The reasoning for choosing a practical model to work off is that it would be incredibly satisfying but an important learning experience, that applies to any personal and professional restoration.
Thirdly and last and the most difficult that I started this week was burnishing.

Michael
Origin : Malaysia
Age : 28
Watchmaking class : 2 years Fullskill Program
Current Mood: This has been a very challenging week for me. All filing on hands. Finished the ‘omega’ piece. (I think I will consider doing it again. It’s really fun!). Also had my trial exam today. Filing has really taught me to be patience in every way. By the way, It’s Henrik’s Birthday this Friday as our usual blog day! Done for the week. 

Alex
Origin : Kaohsiung, Taiwan 
Age : 27
Watchmaking : 2Y Fullskill Program
Current mood: It was a rather intense week with 2 trial exams done. The result from the first one is far from ideal to say the least. Multiple mistakes were made in the process. But I don't dislike the situation to be honest, on the contrary, I think this is exactly what I need from time to time. It is disappointing moment like this that reminds me to keep the feet on the ground. It's not pleasant but I cherish it. Hope the second trial piece receives a better review. 


 STEP 1: PREPPING SHELLAC BEFORE EXAM (PIERRE)

 STEP 2: ESCAPEMENT WORK (JAYNE)




 STEP 3: WINDING STEMS (ALEX)
PREPARING THE POLISHING AND CLEANING FOAM

WIND STEM PRACTICING


 
STEP 4: HAND FILING (MICHAEL)

HENRIK's WORDS:


We continue the same way as last week, trying to be as close to our normal habits as possible but from home. It has been a busy week as the students are getting ready for exams, for which I had to find a suitable way for them to do at home, so far everything is going seamlessly. I also adjusted my camera setup and can now very easily make live video streaming from what I see in my microscope, very handy indeed! To do it even easier Jayne was kind to donate a very nice tripod to the school! I am learning a lot about distance teaching I feel! Its very interesting and I think it could be a nice supplemental part of future education even for learning certain parts of watchmaking! Peter Speake-Marin of The Naked Watchmaker did an amazing nice work on the school which I saw the draft page and the videos already. Will let you know ones its out. Stay healthy and try to find and focus on the positive things in life no matter how small they are! We will get out of this one stronger than ever before! Enjoy the weekend!

 









Friday, March 27, 2020

ADAPTATION

WEEK 51


Pierre Aubert, James Punshon, Jayne Zhuo

Origin : Sydney, Australia. Toulouse, France. Singapore.
Age : 23
Watchmaking class: Technician Course
Current mood: James here! Quarantine! It now becomes apparent how the original watchmakers became so adept at their craft. Stuck at home with no distractions, it’s a surprisingly great learning environment. We had a couple of video theory lessons this week, which went super smooth. Practicing our escapement work in preparation for next weeks practice exams. I feel like we are in the right industry for these trying times! It’s a great feeling to bring life back to a dead movement, from the comfort of your own home. Be well everybody. 


Markus McDonald 
Origin : Stockholm Sweden 
Age : 21
Watchmaking class: 2 years Fullskill Program
Current mood: This week was much like the last being a continuation of the pivot gauge with a goal of achieving both accuracy and additionally consistent finish. 
This required me to experiment with different tools and techniques that would allow the best possible outcome, furthermore as I was not a hundred percent sure of my intuition in regard to the quality of my pieces I consulted Henrik wit the assistance of the microscope, I was able to establish where my pieces landed on the spectrum. Some of the pieces were not as good as I had hoped but the pieces in which I used a range of techniques such as refreshing a steel and hard metal graver for only a brief cut. These pieces had the best outcome and I was pleased to use what I had learned and experimented with which helped set the tone for the current and upcoming weeks.

In conclusion, although our period of isolation has impacted our circumstances and potential mental state I found myself capable of remaining focused and am capable of pushing forward with my work, this is not only helped by Hendrik consulting and use of skype/WhatsApp as well as Svenja checking in on us which contribute to us being able to move forward.


Michael
Origin : Malaysia
Age : 28
Watchmaking class : 2 years Fullskill Program
Current Mood : It has been a very productive week for me. Managed to improve my trial exam, however, I felt like there is more room to improve. Starting on another filing project. Downsize the trial exam piece by half and changed the square-shape male and female piece fitting position into a round fitting position. It was very challenging because I started to rely more on the loope x2.5. It was rather interesting as i can feel that I am slowly building up my resilience towards micro hand filing. Looking forwards to next week. 

Alex
Origin : Kaohsiung, Taiwan 
Age : 27
Watchmaking : 2Y Fullskill Program
Current mood: Home-working turned out to be even better than I thought it would be. the amount of freedom we now have is incredible!!! I could be turning while boiling something!!! Absolutely loving it right now. As to the program, I am stumbling a little bit. The practice exam for the winding stem went extremely well in the beginning but was rendered obsolete by my latter mistake, resulting in huge time loss. It's like finding out the young and attractive girl you met at the bar is actually a dude, like why is this happening? How did I get here? I did everything right and yet, here I am. Anyhow, look forward my next trial exam, after I finish the ongoing one that is.

STEP 1: HOMEMADE PALLET PUSHER (PIERRE)




STEP 2: PART FINDING MACHINE (JAMES)



Found!


HENRIK's WORDS:

One thing I have seen several examples of since we closed is that this new situation has made us inventive! For example, James came up with a genius way of searching for lost parts with the vacuum cleaner and a sock as filter to catch them! Very clever! As a bonus the apartment gets cleaned in the same time 😊 and another solution Pierre found when an oiler was forgotten, he made a push pin to push out the pallet jewels from a paper clip and pen cap! Seems to work like a charm for him! Otherwise everyone are adapting nicely to the new situation. Very calm period in Le Locle as well! We are lucky the food stores are perfectly organized, no lack of food or supplies! People keeping distance and following the safety and health measures too. I feel very safe being here. Take care everyone!

Friday, March 20, 2020

THE INDESCRIBABLE.....INDESTRUCTIBLE! NOTHING CAN STOP IT! WATCHMAKING

WEEK 50


Pierre Aubert, James Punshon, Jayne Zhuo

Origin : Sydney, Australia. Toulouse, France. Singapore.
Age : 23
Watchmaking class: Technician Course
Current mood: Pierre here! Very intense week! We are now working from home...! Every one has set up their own little workshop at home and hope to keep moving forward with the program as usual! Jayne, James and I had to cover lots of theory earlier this week in order to be able to work independently from home. We covered as much as possible of the Swiss lever escapement theory! But we can now practice from home and follow the program remotely without falling behind. Stay safe and healthy everyone! See you next week. PS: This Friday was my first day of micro-mechanics at home- I initiated things by burnishing pivot gauges.

Markus McDonald 
Origin : Stockholm Sweden 
Age : 21
Watchmaking class: 2 years Fullskill Program
Current mood : This week I focused on continuing my pivot gauge aiming to make a piece that is within tolerance and includes all aspects. This was quiet hard as it demanded much trial and error as doing it needs a lot of focus as making the full pivot gauge needs precision to a thousand of tolerance but also the full piece required an intense degree of precision to the final section of the pivot being an even smaller pivot that can even be a 9 to a thousand. 
Additionally, we had to pack our equipment for the apartments as the coronavirus was becoming more and more intrusive being not only a danger to our work but also distracting.
Towards the end of the week we decided to move our equipment and work too home, not only would this reduce our risk of getting sick and spreading in school it would also be a good experiemnt to see how one could set up a workshop anywhere. We packed our equipment up and since I had some micromechanics in combination with the lathe and notes I found myself bringing a lot of things back so I could work efficiently from home. I proceed to fine-tune it and have to make some alterations to achieve the right height with my lathe and organization on my bench.
In conclusion, even though circumstances forced us too relocate too our apartments I found that it hasn't altered my work passed the expected change in efficency and although this change might have us working out of our apartments for a couple of weeks It hasn't disrupted my course as much as I predicted as the work that I will be doing is very much possible from any locations.

Michael
Origin : Malaysia
Age : 28
Watchmaking class : 2 years Fullskill Program
Current Mood : Despite the Corona virus, all of the students managed to set up their own home workshop. This is just my cosy place to work. The vacuum clamp doesn’t seem to hold to well and modification is required. 

Alex

Origin : Kaohsiung, Taiwan 
Age : 27
Watchmaking : 2Y Fullskill Program
Current mood: The corona virus is getting out of hand now. To insure we don't get infected and infect the others, we have decided to move the part of the bench home and will start working from home for at least the next two weeks. Setting a proper work space in a living environment is a bit tricky, the dust and everything. But it all turned out nicely and is very comfortable to work in. The only down side is that I have to pay extra attention and efforts to keep the surrounding clean, wouldn't want to step on the metal dust and chips after all. Well, that's it for me. Look forward to the days of not having to commute to school!!!

STEP 1: WORKING FROM HOME (PIERRE)

Pierre working on pivot gauges.
STEP 2: NEW WORK ENVIRONMENT (JAYNE)



STEP 3: READY FOR WINDING STEMS!  (ALEX)

STEP 4: MAKING PIVOT GAUGES FROM HOME (MARKUS)

HENRIK's WORDS:

So the virus situation did change really quickly as I suspected it would. So in alignment with recommendations from the government we setup home workshops for the period and are in contact through skype and WhatsApp. It’s a good experience for all of us, as we never know when something like this can happen again. From this move, we have at least one experience from changing to another workplace, which is our home in this case! Luckily watchmaking is such a profession its rather easily possible to do anywhere and takes little space, for most things we have to do as watchmakers, a small room is sufficient with one suitcase of the essential watchmaking tools. As I have an individual and modular program the students are practicing on the part of the program that only require hand tools and smaller watchmakers’ lathes, ones this is over we will resume the other parts of the program. During these trying times stay positive, healthy and safe! 

Friday, March 13, 2020

UNEXPECTED VISITOR!

UNEXPECTED VISITOR!


WEEK 49


Pierre Aubert, James Punshon, Jayne Zhuo
Origin : Sydney, Australia. Toulouse, France. Singapore.
Age : 32
Watchmaking class: Technician Course
Current mood: Yolo, Jayne here. Full on week of theories and hands-on practical work on the Escapement for us. We were all really focused doing the balance end-shakes, division of guard pin, division and end-shakes of escape wheel & pallet. I must say it really tested my patience. You just gotta not be anxious and do every task calmly. Otherwise, great week immersing ourselves in the fun of learning! :)

Markus McDonald 
Origin : Stockholm Sweden 
Age : 21
Watchmaking class: 2 years Fullskill Program
Current mood : This week I continued with the pivot gauges focusing on getting it too the thousand of a millimeter, this was quiet taxing and at times frustrating as even if I was in tolerance too a tenth I could easily go under. However once I learned how to modify the hard metal graver too cut things became a lot smoother and having used the steel graver I quickly grew too love this new tool. I continued with trial and error testing new graver and pressures over the week aiming to get the pivot gauges within tolerance doing it four times until the fifth where I was able to get the piece to tolerance, this was satisfying as I was able to achieve something I had to re do many times.
Additionally too the pivot gauges we had Peter from "the naked watchmaker" come over and interview each of us. This was fun as being able to meet him was a real pleasure and explore why I choose the profession was really nice.
Finally today I  further expanded my pivot gauges as I focused on making the final pivot of three.
In conclusion this was both a trying week but incredibly satisfying as I spent a long time improving and learning how to cut the pivot gauges and develop a system and intuition and as a  result this allowed me too make a piece that was in the tolerance, which in combination with meeting Peter made this week a diverse and enjoyable experience.

Michael
Origin : Malaysia
Age : 28
Watchmaking class : 2 years Fullskill Program
Current Mood : Very satisfied with the tool making process. Learned how to plan ahead and prevent errors while making a symmetrical tool with a middle pinion. Finished my pointed nose vice. Back to hand filing! Have to get prepare for my trial exam next week.

Alex
Origin : Kaohsiung, Taiwan 
Age : 27
Watchmaking : 2Y Fullskill Program
Current mood: The corona virus has finally struck Switzerland. I only hope the locals are sensible and don't do any panic mass purchasing, hording excessive supplies from others who also need them. Other than that, it's been a busy week, got lots of diverse works. Tried out a different type of heat treatment in hope of saving my unhardened and out of carbon steel ring, did an interview for the school, and was back on the grinding stone, keeping the gravers sharp at all time. Hope this annoying virus debacle blows over soon. 

STEP 1: HEAT TREATMENT WITH GRAPHITE (ALEX)

IMAGE 2: GRADING DONE (MICHAEL)

IMAGE 3: WONDERFUL GIFT FROM ZENITH - THANK YOU!

IMAGE 4: DIFFERENT TYPES OF PALLET FORKS (TECHNICIAN COURSE)

HENRIK's WORDS:

We got a really nice gift this week from Zenith and Romain who visited us recently to say hi, Jayne bumped into Romain sometime ago when she was going to the  Zenith factory tour, it was great to make a connection with Romain who is also the senior trainer in Zenith. The factory is open to the public every Friday from 9.00-12.00 you just have to book with the tourism office in La Chaux-de-Fonds before. Anyway, its always great for me and the students to get so passionate visitors from this local area, it helps motivate us and make new important contacts in our industry. 

The Coronavirus, COVID-19 seems only to be worse and worse when reading the news, we are lucky so far that all is going on normally here in Le Locle but it can change anytime as we have examples of that already.

The visitor I was talking about last week was Peter Speake-Marin, who is behind The Naked Watchmaker, which is a completely unique thing we never had before, it’s a great resource for anyone interested in watchmaking check it out; https://www.thenakedwatchmaker.com/  he came back yesterday and made a video interview of all of us which was really fun to do! Cant wait to see how it will all come out, will let you know when it will be published stay tuned… and thank you Peter! 

Stay fit and healthy as I hope to see you next week, in the meantime enjoy as much as possible the weekend!

Friday, March 6, 2020

UNEXPECTED VISITOR!

Friday, March 6, 2020


WEEK 48


James Punshon, Pierre Aubert, Jayne Zhuo
Origin : Sydney, Australia. Toulouse, France. Singapore.
Age : 38
Watchmaking class: Technician Course
Current mood: Feeling accomplished! Hi everybody, James here! The three of us have had a busy week with the introduction of the new module, The Escapement. After much mind-warping theoretical content, we've all dived straight into adjusting pallets and staffs. Have mercy!
Check back in on us regularly to ensure we maintain our sanity!

Markus McDonald 
Origin : Stockholm Sweden 
Age : 21
Watchmaking class: 2 years Fullskill Program
Current mood : This week was dense as I had too covered a lot of things for my start with the pivot gauge. This was an intense experience as although the pivot gauge had less elements than the winding stem it required the use of a lot of tools the schaublin late, the staking set and a alternative to my  bench lathe. The most trying part which pushed my endurance was the constant need to refresh my graver for the cutting as their was a risk of burnishing when the graver got blunted and when added up all these things made the week intense. In conclusion although this week was intense I found it an incredible learning experience which pushed and expanded my micro mechanics and I know will benefit me in the long run. 


Michael
Origin : Malaysia
Age : 28
Watchmaking class : 2 years Fullskill Program
Current Mood : After practicing on my practice piece, I started to mill the actual piece. Managed to convert my practice piece into a screw stand for those practice screws i made, without going to waste. Made a big mistake, I did not take into account the length of the drilling bits, the larger the diameter the longer they are! My drilling went too deep instead. Have to improvise for the error. However, definitely looking forward for next week.

Alex
Origin : Kaohsiung, Taiwan 
Age : 26
Watchmaking : 2Y Fullskill Program
Current mood: It'a been a nice week up until an hour ago when I accidentally dropped Henrik's very rare and expensive micro-meter. My heart stopped as it kissed the cold and lifeless floor. Thankfully nothing is wrong except the shift of the starting position. Anyway, made a second stand for my slots pieces, tried the pantograph, and has started practicing on winding stem. Overall a good week!! Would be better if the drop never happened.

STEP 1: FANCY STANDS FOR NOT SO FANCY PIECES (ALEX)

STEP 2: DRILLING A 0.15MM HOLE FOR A UNIVERSAL PALLET FORK STAFF PUSHER (PIERRE)

 A 0.15mm hole cannot be drilled with a regular 3 jaw chuck. Why? You won't get any feel when drilling. What you need to do is to drill by hand. For that purpose, I had to turn a brass holder to be  held in the regular chuck. My 0.15mm regular steel drill was glued to pegwood (super light in order to allow me to feel the drill!). 

Making center hole 

Drilling. 

The hole! 

 The pegwood is then inserted in the holder and slides nicely in order me to drill. N.B: I had the microscope set up above my work in order to see what I was doing..! 


 After drilling the hole, I hardened and tempered the piece. I did this before turning the pusher because the hole was going to be in a very thin part of the pusher that could have melted or bent had the hardening been done after the turning of the final pusher. 

The finished pusher for pallet staffs.

 The final turned pusher in action!


HENRIK's WORDS:

A bit of a hectic week but the students are progressing well, I got some time with my projects too! But the biggest surprise for me this week was a very nice visit from someone you most likely already have heard of, I will get the opportunity to be interviewed by him with the students! But I will tell more when it gets more serious, in the meantime stay tuned! see you next week!