Friday, April 29, 2016

Restoration projects to completion

A perfectly oiled Incabloc
Last week Henrik showed the guys how to oil Incablocs, so this week Shuai and Eddie had a chance to try it out.  It is mostly an exercise to train the dexterity of the hands via the use of the tweezers. Besides oiling the Incablocs, they also learned how to oil the winding and setting mechanism in the watches they received.  It is tough to get just the right amount; there is usually the risk of oiling too much, allowing oil to spread throughout the movement making the oil more of a hazard than a help.
Theren finishing up the hairspring flattening and centering

Simone vibrating a hairspring

Tomas perfecting the hairspring flatness

Shuai starting the Yoke making exercise

Eddie restoring some tools that he bought

Remember that escape wheel that Theren was making?  The project has finally been finished and is in the process of being adjusted to the escapement.  Henrik will be doing the adjusting and final check before it is ready to be sent to the client.
The completed escape wheel along with the repivoted pinion done by Henrik

Friday, April 22, 2016

When all hell breaks loose

People fighting for a bargain deal.  See if you can spot someone you know!
Shuai and Eddie have started their 2nd year portion of the course.  As an inauguration they received their shiny white coats.  Warming up with disassembly and assembly of the 6498 and the 7001, and moving on to the oiling of incablocs to better train them in the manipulation of tweezer and screw driver.
On to the 2nd year for these two!

Getting ready for Incabloc oiling demonstration

Eddie making the scratch sheet for the 6498

On the other side of the classroom, the other students started vibrating...hairsprings.  Vibrating hairsprings is an old technique to calibrate the hairspring to a specific frequency using the vibrating tool.
The vibrating tool in action

It is a beautiful sight to see
Simone checking the flatness o the hairspring

Theren centering his hairspring

This Thursday was a special day for watch enthusiasts, because ones or twice a year Mr. Grimm brings in his collection of tools and misc. stuff and make a huge sale.  The students were able to take the day off and visit this phenomenon of an event.  They did not come home empty handed as you will see in the picture!
Just a couple of prized winnings from the fight

And a few more

Friday, April 15, 2016

A surprise phone call

Olivier from Merard visits the school

Henrik received a surprise phone call last week from the leading polishing compound company that supplies compounds and buffs to many big brands across Switzerland and the rest of the world.  Olivier from Merard visited us this week to show us their products and share with us his knowledge about polishing and the difference between their products and other products sold around the world.  Olivier was kind enough to also give us some samples (including an assortment of polishing compounds and buffs) to try.  The problem with polishing as Henrik has found, is that in many cases it causes the rounding of bevels and causes the orange peel effect, but with these products (through preliminary trials) they seem to be much much better.  We will do a lot more testing when the students learn how to use the buffing machine, but the products seem promising.  Here is the website if any of our readers are interested.
Olivier explaining the mysteries of polishing

Olivier introducing his company, Merard
The tools used in truing hairsprings

The students started on the subject of truing hairsprings this week.  Hairsprings are extremely sensitive to manipulate, therefore it takes a lot of skill and practice to master this subject.  The subjects starts with attaching the hairsprings to the split collets, and then fitting the collets to the balance staff and balance.  Once attached, micro adjustments are applied to make them perfectly flat and centered.
Simone checking the flatness of his hairsprings

Theren pressing the collet onto the balance

Tomas centering the hairspring

Shuai has finished all 13 pivot gauges and has moved on to learn the cutting of the hour wheel along with Eddie.  After doing a couple of practice runs this week, they finished the hour wheel exam today.

Friday, April 8, 2016

New Movements


The boys doing some high precision team assembly of antique movements (aka tables)

Spring is here
Since we got new sofas, we thought we needed new tables to go along with our fancy sofas.  What better option than a watch themed table for a watchmaking school!  We also had the best opportunity to test out the table since we celebrated Henrik's Birthday this Monday.  We had a small get together  with lots of food and drinks.

Shuai centering the cutter for making the hour wheel

Shuai and Eddie learned how to make the hour wheel on the 70 lathe this week.  The most important part of making the wheel is centering the cutter.  It takes a lot of time and concentration to center it well.  They are still getting the hang of it.
Tomas learning how to poise

Simone holding his breathe

Theren using the one hair brush to poise his wheel

Meanwhile the rest of the students continued  on the subject of oscillators.  They learned how to rivet new staffs into the balance, then how to straighten the balance on the lyre tool and finally how to do static poising.  The students are in love with poising as it is very fine manipulation, and they can't wait until they learn how to do timing.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Basel World Part 2

Men in Suits

Continuing our trip from Basel World, there are endless things to talk about, but pictures are worth more than a thousand words, so instead of talking about the things we saw, we're going to show them.


It was definitely a great first Basel world experience for our students and they saw a lot of interesting timepieces that they hope to someday work on in the near future.

Theren checking how to punch out the balance staffs from the wheel

Simone turning balance staff off to ready it for punching

Tomas filing the pivot of the balance staff 
Back in the school Tomas, Theren, and Simone  have started on the new topic of oscillators. The first step is removing the hairspring, roller, and balance staff off of the balance.  They were given some exercises to practice on for the majority of the week.
Shuai continues to burnish his pivot gauges

Eddie burnishing his balance staff

Eddie has been working on the balance staff, the last micromechanics portion of the course.  He feels that it is difficult to do two pivot ends on a single piece of metal.