Friday, December 11, 2015

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from KHWCC!

Nicolas cheering on his teammate
Last week we had a bowling night for celebrating the end of the year.  We split into 2 teams and had a friendly match.  It was the first time the students visited the XL Bowling establishment in La Chaux-de-Fonds.  It is a great place to hang out and bowl, play old school arcades, billiards and ping pong.  They also had a great restaurant, which we had dinner at.  For sure the school will be back for more fun.
Tomas muscling away

Double cheeseburgers for all 

On Saturday the students took a trip to Dombresson, the city where Mr. Simonin's bookstore is located.  This is the first time some students visited the store and they were psyched to see so many watchmaking books and tools.  Mr. Simonin even showed the students some of his hidden gems, such as some rare tools and some super rare, first edition, leatherback, ancient, collector's edition books.
The students browsing the wide variety of watchmaking books

Mr. Simonin showing how some tools work
New tools for the school

Le Locle has just become a megacity due to the opening of a brand new supermarket, Aldi.  The new Aldi has opened right beside the school and will most likely be where the students hang out for lunch from now on.  This is the best thing that has happened in Le Locle for some time.  We are super excited for the grand opening.
The new main attraction of Le Locle

Today marks the last day of the calendar year that the students will be attending school.  Tomorrow they start their winter holidays!  Check back on January 4th where we will be back and fully recharged for some more epic watchmaking!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Final push to Xmas...and endshakes

Theren making the correct endshake on the Peseux 7001

Simone checking if the correct endshake is done

Tomas pressing in the jewel on the Horia tool
Continuing on with the last subject before the test next week, the students started on the topic of jeweling.  They learned how to press jewels into the mainplate and bridges using the Horia tool.  Specific heights should be obtained from the pressing to arrive with the correct endshake for the wheels in the gear train.
Simone enlarging the broken thread hole readying it for bushing insertion

Turning the bushing on the 70 lathe

Some movements had damaged threads, therefore, Simone decided to make a new bushing for the mainplate.  Using the jigborer to first enlarge the damaged threads then friction fitting a bushing with the correct threads into the hole.

Nicolas using the milling machine to create curvatures on his pointed nose vise

Testing out the milling attachment for the first time

Nicolas continues to make his tools, learning the milling attachment of the 70 lathe this week.  Soon we will have some very original tools to show off!
Eddie continues to prepare for his upcoming winding stem exam

Happy St. Nicolas' Day! 

We celebrated St. Nicolas day yesterday where Svenja brought the boys holiday treats.  Svenja also explained the story behind St. Nicolas to our wide range of international students.

Because the students won't be here for Christmas, the school decided to have an outing together tonight at the local bowling alley.  We will post pictures of this later!  Have a great weekend everyone! We're off to bowl!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Wheel of fortune

It's Cartman!

Last week the students started learning about the barrel.  They continued this week on correcting barrel flatness and concentricity and also learned how to lubricate the mainspring.
Simone checking the concentricity of his barrel

Theren observing flatness of the barrel

After learning about the barrel, Henrik proceeded to teach the students how to check the conditions of the gear train, especially bending the wheels back to flatness.
Henrik showing the students on the screen how flatness is checked on a wheel

Tomas brushing the wheel to check for flatness

Eddie continued to work on the winding stem on the 8mm lathe.  He learned how to make threads and also how to harden and temper.
Eddie making the threads on the winding stem

Nicolas started with the Schaublin 70 this week, making male cones and female cones.  He finished his press fit plate by utilizing the skills he has learned these past 2 weeks.

Nicolas preparing to turn on the 70 lathe

Press fitting the cones into the press fit plate
At the end of the micromechanics course, Theren also did an exercise, making a missing yoke in an unknown movement.

Bottom: made by Theren
Middle: made by Henrik
Top: original
Theren made a travelling leather tool holder during his free time on the weekends

Friday, November 20, 2015

Winter approaches

Disassembled Incablocs
This week the students started to assemble and disassemble incablocs.  Incablocs are the shock absorbers in watch movements that prevent balance staff pivots from breaking.  They are extremely small and delicate, therefore it is a good exercise for the students to improve their manipulation with tweezers.
Theren assembling the Peseux 7001

Tomas cleaning his movement before oiling

Simone cleaning the yoke

Tomas preparing to oil the Incablocs

Henrik also started teaching the students how to oil watch movements, beginning with the winding and setting mechanism of the 6498 and 7001.  

Eddie has begun turning slots in preparation for the winding stem.
Eddie turning the slots

Meanwhile, Nicolas started to learn about the machines, starting first with the drilling machine and now this week he continued with the milling machine.
Nicolas squaring up the vice of the milling machine 
Nicolas making his brass anvil base

So far Le Locle has been kind to us with the weather, however, as news has it, we are expecting approximately a 20 degree drop in the next 3 days.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Second year begins

New coats
This week Simone, Tomas, and Theren officially started the second year of their program.  They were given fancy new white coats!  They started the 2nd year by working on the 6498.  Practicing the correct ways to assemble and disassemble the movements.
Theren filing screwdrivers to prepare for disassembly

Simone and Tomas discussing the gear train


The students needed to make their own customized tools.  They decided to cooperate and focus their energy into making their tools together as one.  They were able to finish the project in a fast and effective manner.
NovoWatch representative at the school to showcase his products

What they can do

On Wednesday we had a guest from NovoWatch to introduce their products and services.  NovoWatch is a small local company that offers services such as: Finishing, decorating, and part-making (all parts of the watch).
Everyone having a good time

Svenja showing the new students how fondue is made

The school had it's second fondue party to welcome the 2 new students, Eddie and Nicolas.  It is their first time having cheese fondue, and they loved it.  Although it was the other students' second time, they really enjoyed it also.

Nicolas' alarm travelers watch

Monday, November 9, 2015

Full house

Nicolas filing away
Good news everyone! we've got our newest member and his name is Nicolaaaaas (with just one A).  This means that the school has filled up its last spot for the 2015-2017 fullskill course.  We are very excited to have him here and he has shown that he is very very excited to be here.
Our plating machine

The students watching the magic happen

Henrik worked on a project last week utilizing the plating machine to restore hands for a GP alarm watch.  He took this chance to show the students how to use the electric plating machine that we have in the school.  We are able to plate with rhodium, palladium, nickel, rose gold  and yellow gold on all non-ferrous metals.
Beautifully finished tripod from Eddie

Eddie finished his polishing tripod and it looks excellent!  He was able to decorate the bevels using the sand blasting machine.  The picture above should be self-explanatory.
The Stopwork finger waiting to be finished

Theren straight graining the maltese cross

Finished stop work.
Theren worked all week on a restoration project regarding making a Geneva stopwork mechanism for an old Patek Philippe watch.  After facing multiple obstacles, he was eventually able to complete the parts to satisfaction.

Simone burnishing his very last pivot gauge

Tomas finishing his balance staff

Eddie starting to turn on the 8mm lathe

The students continued to progress through the program, with Eddie starting on the 8mm lathe.  Simone finished up his pivot gauges and Tomas finished his balance staffs.