Friday, June 2, 2023



Week 22

It was a very packed week for everyone! We started off this week with the official graduation ceremonies of Åsmund, David L., Francesco, Renato and Robert!

Left to right: Renato, Åsmund, Francesco, David L., Robert

Our fresh graduates and school team out for a celebratory dinner!



Workshop A & B

    Amer, Dunham, Daniel, David W., Miguel

    Åsmund, Dean, Francesco, Robert, Tetsu, Xin 


    This week Daniel and David took their real winding stem exam. All of those practice exams paid off in the end!

    After his exam, Daniel started making a brooch for a square punch.

Brooch in drill press, set up to punch a square in a brass bar

David made a screw for his polishing tripod.


    David hollowed out the center by drilling and threading the center, then milling out the surrounding material with the milling attachment of the lathe.

    Miguel, David and Michael helped to assemble a new bench for the school and a new cabinet for workshop A.

New bench being set up with lights, compressed air, drawers and other equipment.

    Everyone had the opportunity to have a lesson on minute repeaters, how it works, how to check its functions and an introduction on how to service one.

Henrik explaining the hour rack finger and the 12 star wheel of the repeating mechanism.  

    We also had the opportunity to learn how to use a pantograph to restore watches by making replacement parts! 

Prepared drawing of part to be made.

One person will use the stylus of the machine to follow the drawing, another person will keep watch of the cutter, add cutting oil, and report any problems.




    Next week we will be having 4 new students coming to join us! 



Thank you for reading!

Hope to see you again next week!

Friday, May 26, 2023

To the tool store!

Week 21

    The school made a visit to Horlogerie Herrli in Biel/Bienne last weekend!  It is a shop that sells watchmaking tools. Everything from oilers, tweezers and movement holders to staking sets, hairspring vibrating tools, and other specialized tools!

Its like a candy store for watchmakers!

Francesco looking through various trays and boxes



Workshop B

Åsmund, Dean, Francesco, Robert, Tetsu, Xin


    This week Åsmund, Francesco and Robert took their final exams!

    This week, Henrik introduced Tetsu and Dean to hairsprings.  This included theory regarding the influences on isochronism.  Tetsu and Dean learned how to cut out balance staffs from balance wheels, removal of rollers, and how to install new staffs and rollers.  Static poising was also covered.  


Tetsu working on a balance with a staking tool.

Dean static poising a balance wheel


    Next, Tetsu and Dean learned how to pin collets to hairsprings. 


Size comparison of the collet and hairspring to 10 Canadian cents.

    The next step was to use a hairspring vibrating tool to set the frequency of the hairspring to 18000 beats per hour. 


Dean matching the movement of the hairspring to his vibrating tool to regulate it to 18,000 vibrations.

    Tetsu and Dean have a number of balances to build up and practice their skills at ensuring their balances are set to the proper frequency.


Workshop A


Daniel, David

    This week Daniel and David finished their final practice tests for making winding stems and are looking forward to taking the real exam next week!   


Polished square and pivot of a practice winding stem.



Next week there will be a graduation dinner for Åsmund, Francesco and Robert!


Thank you for reading, hope to see you again! 

Friday, May 19, 2023


Week #20

Its spring time and the cattle are back to grazing in the fields around the school!

    Also this week Åsmund, Francesco and Robert started their final exams! Today they did the oral and written theory exam and inspection of the movements that they will be working on.



Workshop A

- Amer, Dunham, Daniel, David, Miguel

     This week Daniel, David and Miguel did more practice exams for the winding stem in order to get used to doing it with both speed and precision as learning which areas to improve.

    They also learned how to use the milling attachment on the lathe for slot cutting on screws. 

    Miguel also finished working on his pallet fork holder.

On a dark background, the black rhodium appears white or silver.
    The plate is made of brass that has been Black Rhodium plated (but it appears grey) and beveled, the large blued hairspring was bent and polished by hand, and the handle is made of wood that was turned down and oiled before being fixed onto the screw.

On a lighter background, it is more obvious that it is plated with black rhodium.


    It has 2 sizes of holes as "eyes," the smaller hole closer to the spring is for ladies watch caliber pallet forks and the larger hole is for average to larger sized pallet forks.


    This week Amer and Dunham started learning about barrels.

Open barrel to examine the parts of the mainspring. Notice the drops of grease to allow the mainspring to wind smoothly.

    They learned how to assemble and disassemble the barrel, how to properly lubricate it with grease, and how to correct the side shake and end shake by punching the hole with the staking set.



Workshop B

- Dean, Tetsu and Xin

    This week Tetsu and Dean got introduced to the balance and hairspring course, they tried out different techniques to extract double rollers, balance staffs, removing the split collet from the hairspring as well as the stud, they tried it out on a number of vintage and modern oscillators.


    Meanwhile Xin was repairing several vintage watches for repair points.


    Starting next week Åsmund, Francesco and Robert will be taking their practical final exam. They will have to repair and service 5 different movements throughout the week!


Thank you for reading and hope to see you again next week!

Friday, May 12, 2023

A mooving week

Week #19

    This week we had a new bench tester, Ivan from Italy!

    We also had a cute surprise when we found 3 cows grazing outside our window!


Workshop B
    Åsmund, Dean, Francesco, Robert, Tetsu, Xin
    This week Åsmund, Francesco and Robert were trying their best to get their movements ready and delivered for grading before the final exam at the end of the month.
     They are doing the final adjustments for hairsprings on the 7 movements and tweaking the timing on the timing machine. The movements range from the ETA 6498 movement that has no complications, to the ETA 7750 chronograph movement with a date complication. (A chronograph watch has the ability to be used as a stopwatch, in addition to the normal mechanical watch movement, it has additional wheels and parts that allow time to be displayed on the dial from a start of a push-button.)
     Xin for the past couple of weeks had an intense introduction to chronographs and continued servicing movements. 
    He found it very interesting to understand how everything works in a chronograph and is doing more independent work servicing movements.
    After taking 4 practice exams, Dean and Tetsu finally took their real exam for the escapement and both successfully passed and now they are getting ready for the balance poising and the hairspring lessons.

    In their free time, Dean and Tetsu worked on their own projects. Dean was busy troubleshooting his almost 100-year-old pocket watch, and solving the problems one by one. 
    Tetsu meanwhile did surface finishing of the mandatory tools, which he had made during the micro mechanic course, applying the techniques gained through the lectures from Henrik, and submitted for grading.

    Top Left to right:
    1) Brass plate with a cylinder, female cone and male cone friction fit in. The plate has been grattage finished with rounded bevels.
    2) Balance bridge holder, the base plate has been frosted.
Bottom Left to right:
    1) Steel Angular rule, has been straight grained
    2) Brass truing guide, has also been straight grained

Workshop A
    This week Daniel finished his pointed nose hand vise! He plated it first in white rhodium then with 2 layers of yellow gold.

     Daniel also turned his own barrel closing tool from plastic!

 Stay tuned for highlights from Workshop A!
Thank you for reading, hope to see you again next week!

Friday, May 5, 2023

Had an ice day!

Week #18

The weather was getting really warm this week hitting 20º yesterday, but we had an ice surprise this afternoon.

Surprise hail!


Workshop A
    Amer, Dunham, Daniel, David, Miguel

    This week Daniel, David and Miguel took their first winding stem practice exam. They had to make a full winding stem, thread, square, pinion and have the whole thing hardened, tempered and polished within 8 hours.

    Dunham took his filing exam to make a male and female piece from 2 perfect squares within 8 hours. He also finished his pallet fork holder and started learning how to oil incablocs.

Dunham's finished pallet fork holder

Incabloc and custom brass pin to help manipulate the Incabloc spring


    Amer started learning how to oil incablocs and assemble ETA 6498, 2801, 7001, 2892 and 2671 movements.



Fullskill Watchmaking Student
    Renato Kirin

Congratulations to our newly graduated watchmaker Renato Kirin!


Workshop B
    Åsmund, Dean, Francesco, Robert, Tetsu, Xin
    This week, Åsmund, Francesco, Robert and Xin started their Chronograph lesson.

Robert brought a book about the different types of chronographs

Diagram explaining the parts of a split-second chronograph
Stay tuned for more highlights from Workshop B next week.

 Thank you for reading, hope to see you again next week!

Friday, April 28, 2023

Tour de Romandie!

 Week 17

This week we had a nice surprise when the Tour de Romandie passed through the town in the afternoon!

Traffic in and out of Le Locle was backed up all the way to La Chaux de Fonds!


Workshop B
    Åsmund, Dean, Francesco, Robert, Tetsu, Xin

    This week Åsmund, Francesco and Robert took a trial exam for the hairspring. Afterwards Francesco and Asmund took the real exam.

    Åsmund also assembled a 6498 hairspring and changed the greiner collet for an older style collet.

    Tetsu and Dean also took two practice exams but for the escapement. Their goal was to increase the quality of their work while reducing the amount of time required to perform all the checks and adjustments.

    Additionally, Henrik provided the final lesson in their gear train lesson regarding the barrel. Freedom of movement between the barrel and bridges is important, as is ensuring it does not encroach on other movement parts while in operation.

    For repair points projects, Tetsu completed making and installing a barrel bridge bushing for his vintage IWC.  .  

New bushing in worn barrel bridge

Bridge after "magic rhodium", the bushing stayed its natural color.

    Tetsu used “magic rhodium,” a brass whitening liquid to repair the partially worn barrel bridge while keeping the bushing its normal colour.
    Dean white rhodium plated the main plate and bridges of his WWII-era Oyster Raleigh.
Oyster Raleigh disassembled for repair

Oyster Raleigh mainplate pre-plating
Oyster Raleigh barrel bridge pre-plating

Oyster Raleigh parts after cleaning Rhodium plating.

    Dean also repaired a damaged pallet jewel from a Longines 53M wristwatch movement.
Chipped pallet jewel

Pallet jewel glued to a brassplate to do repairs

Repaired pallet jewel installed

    Dean also registered an Omega pocket watch for a future repair project.

    This week Xin passed his hairspring exam and is now on the final part of the technician course! He has also been completing practice movements and is trying to deepen his understanding of how to achieve better timing by making different adjustments to make it more accurate.

    Henrik also introduced to all of them new lessons such as cannon pinions and how to set the tension for proper operation, escapement lubrication, and the use of Episurf Neo which is a chemical used to prevent the spreading of oil to unwanted areas.

Tools to adjust the cannon pinion. From top to bottom: smoothing broaches, removing tool, cannon pinion, crimping tool to tighten the cannon pinion and a 6498 movement.


Workshop A
    While making one of his tools, Amer made this amazing fibonacci spiral!


 There will be a long weekend because of Labor day on monday, so we'll be having a shortened week.




 Thank you for reading and hope to see you again next week!