Thursday, September 24, 2015

If you want to meet Henrik, come to Kansas City!

Tomas and Theren has just finished their pivot gauge exams which they have been preparing for all week.  Now that that's over, next up for them are the balance staves.  Balance staves are the ultimate micromechanical challenge in the course for the students.  After micromechanics, the students will start working on real watches.  Soon they will be able to make watch repairs and service watches on their own.
The students working hard

Final push before holidays

One finished pivot gauge
The school has another holiday coming up next week where they will be taking a week off to recharge.  Meanwhile, Henrik will be travelling to Kansas City, America, collaborating with the AWCI (American Watch and Clock Institute) to offer a specialized course in finishing.  It is a 2 day course in all types of different finishing techniques offered to watchmakers in the USA.
Eddie working on the 102

We will see you in 2 weeks!

Friday, September 18, 2015

A "Quality" week

Eddie turning a screw

This week in school the students continued their work on pivot gauges, which Simone has also started.  Eddie has learned how to use the lathe and thus started on many of the tools that we have shown on our blog of the finished tools the other students have made.
The new microcity building in Neuchatel

On Thursday we went to Microcity in Neuchatel to participate in a conference on the topic of the Q factor.  Mr. Doug Bateman, the speaker, talked about the quality factor relating to clocks and watches.  The quality factor is basically a calculation for decay of energy applied to the timekeeper.
Mr. Bateman brought a lot of props to explain the Q factor 

Henrik also went to the MIH where they presented the Gaia prize to 3 watch related people that changed the watch industry.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Every watchmakers' dream: Mr. Voutilainen's Atelier

The atelier of Kari Voutilainen

On Tuesday, the school visited Kari Voutilainen, an independent watchmaker residing in Motiers.  It is the school's first visit to an independent's atelier this year.  Mr. Voutilainen was kind enough to show us around his workspace, giving us a complete tour of the place.  The workshop was divided into a machine room and an assembling space.  Mr. Voutilainen even had some of his workers demonstrate their skills to us on real pieces of his watch that they were working on.The students loved his workshop, and it was everything that the students imagined and more.
The evolution of the mainplate

Voutilainen and his CNCs

Dial samples

Every tool a watchmaker would want

The sexy rose engine

The exact same lathe as we have in the school

Geneva stripe machine

The students drooling over Mr.V's watches

Watch porn

Theren and Tomas started to burnish pivots this week.  They used the Jacot tool and hardmetal burnishers for the exercise.  They practiced on pivots of wheels mainly this week, and will be moving on to real pivots next week!
Theren practicing burnishing

Tomas also burnishing

Simone turning

Special thanks to Mr. Voutilainen and his team for giving us the opportunity to visit his humble establishment.

Group photo

Friday, September 4, 2015

Tin cakes

The students watch on as Henrik shows them how to make tin plates
Because the students have been working on winding stems and pivot gauges for so long, Henrik decided to teach them something more exciting and new!  They made polishing tin plates!  You can usually buy them premade, but what's the fun in that?
Premelted tin bars

The students melted tin bars until it was fluid then poured it in a mold and waited until it hardened.  To make it all pretty, they turned it on a lathe.
raw tin plates

finished tin cakes

turned to a smooth surface

Eddie is starting all the fun stuff, learning the milling machine this week.
Eddie's first encounter with the milling machine 

The students finish the week strong