Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Basel World

Basel World
As many of our readers know, this past week was Basel World 2016.  Before we get into the juicy details of the excitement the students had we would like to talk about the things that happened preceding the big event.
CJ serious about filing

In the beginning of the week we had a new taster course student from Taiwan.  CJ has had some exposure to the industry, but would very much like to expand his skills and knowledge in this field.  He showed that he was a hard worker and was serious about his education.

Our 3 students Theren, Tomas, and Simone are working on a secret project that they will try to enter a competition with.  The AHCI has a new talents competition every year where students from all over the world can compete to win fame and glory (along with 3000 francs worth of tools).  The students have started using the pantograph to make prototypes of their secret project.  More on this later...or not because it's a secret.
Blancpain showing off their tourbillon

Ulysse Nardin boat (not meant to sail)

Cabestan making incredible movements
So...Basel World.  It was the first time for most of our students to visit this big event.  Besides the usual suspects like Rolex, Omega, Patek...etc, there were also the more interesting independent watchmaker brands, such as, Voutilainen, Sarpaneva, MBF...etc.  It was a great opportunity for our students to meet the highest level of watchmakers in the world all gathered in one single building.  More on Basel World in the upcoming post.  Enjoy the pictures.
The independents

Pictures just don't do them justice  

Winners of the 2015 young talents competition from the AHCI

Friday, March 11, 2016

Taking it slow

Tomas tapping with a 0.35mm tap
The boys back to some old school micromechanics

Theren smoothing down his escape wheel
Exams are over and the students have a few weeks until Basel World.  It is too short a time for starting a new subject so these weeks are dedicated to catching up and doing extracurricular work.  Simone finished up left over exercises and started turning balance staffs.  Theren continues to do the fine details on his escape wheel and repairs on his own watches.  Tomas is working on a swan neck for his pocket watch and servicing and repairing other personal watches.

Shuai turning between centers

Taking some professional pictures
Shuai has started turning pivot gauges and also learned how to burnish using the Jacot tool.  He has thus started his journey of making 13 perfect pivot gauges, just like Eddie.

Henrik makes the cover!
For our friends in America that have not taken a course from Henrik, you're in luck, because Henrik was invited again by the AWCI to teach restoration techniques at their headquarters in Harrison, OH this August and later to give a finishing course at the AWCI annual convention this year in Chicago, IL in late September, link to the courses can be found here;


If you are interested in meeting Henrik or taking one of the two courses offered by Henrik this year, feel free to check out the AWCI website and sign up soon!

Friday, March 4, 2016


That's one happy watchmaker
Theren replacing a broken guard pin

Tomas making his own anvils for the Horia tool
Lots of interesting things happening in the school this week.  The three students, Tomas, Theren and Simone had their escapement exam today, which was a big load off their backs.  Because the exam took only half the day, they thought it would be fun to grade each others' practice exams from the previous day.  Being the teacher isn't as easy as it seems!
The pantograph, used to make engravings and much more

Tapping machine used to make threads much quicker

The new and improved social space

The school got major upgrades this week also.  We got rid of the old plastic sofas and got brand new leather sofas.  They have proven to be dangerously comfortable, students sit down for a quick rest and find themselves fast asleep in seconds.  The machine room also got sweet new machines, specifically a Pantograph and a tapping machine.  The machines need a bit of work done to them before they can be used, but the possibilities the students can do now are really endless.

Longines 30B running.

Two years ago, Charles (our graduated student from last year) got a Longines cal.30B from a collector wishing to restore the watch, and because Charles just didn't have time before he graduated, he handed the watch to German (another student that graduated last year) and asked him to finish the job.  German was able to remake a balance staff for the watch and make it run again.  This Wednesday, the collector came back to collect his watch.  The collector was very happy to visit the school and see where all the watchmaking magic happens.  He also brought more of his collection for the students to see and perhaps even work on.
The collector sharing his passion of watches with the students

The movement that came in 2 years ago, returned to it's owner

More from his collection (Longines 13zn and Valjoux 72)