Friday, September 29, 2017


Last weekend, class 2019 went to visit one of the most famous museum, Patek Philippe Museum.
There are so many amazing watches, clocks, and watchmaking tools. The most amazing things are the bird guns and the caliber 89 pocket watch. It's impossible for mechnical watch enthusiasts to see all the things in one day. If you are  also a watch lover, you must visit this museum.
This week, we are practicing burnishing for the ultimate micro mechanic exam. Burnishing is much harder than we expected. We still need lots practice to meet the goal, perfect black polish. In addition, this week is the last week for Shuai, class 2017. He is soon going back to China for his own workshop. Hence, this week we went hiking and bbq to celebrate his graduation. Wish he all the best for his future watchmaking career. 
Shuai's last project in school. Re-pivoting for a clock part.

This stick is way too long. > <

Friday, September 22, 2017

Practicing and practicing for the pivot gauge exam

This week, we keep practicing turning between centres. Last week we prepared the handle for the pivot gauge, and this week we started to turn the pivot.
 Turning the pivot is the most difficult work compared all work we have learned since we started. The graver has to be sharp all the time to make the cylinder and the shoulder perfect. In addition, good eyesight is more important than ever. When turning the pivot to below 0.10mm, it can be painful to watch and concentrate on this tiny tiny pivot for the whole day.  with the exam date closing in we are all hoping for the best. 
 We also had Pierre with us for his bench test. He is really passionate about watchmaking. We wish to see him come back in a near future.
Pierre doing his final test in the bench test, assembling a watch.
the moment of realisation when you are told  your making things more complicated than they need to be. 
a view of a smiths platform clock and the escape wheel pinion which requires re-pivoting
a common issue and a big probelm! re-pivoting is highly skilled, this is the broken one

Friday, September 15, 2017

Winter is coming

The temperature drop rapidly this week in Le Locle, but the schedule in school still make us sweat a lot. We are very glad to have visitor Briana Le from San Fransisco, who is also a member of NYHS (New York Horological Society) and instructor in the west coast. She shared a lot of her visit in Switzerland and encouraged us to maximize our learning while in school. And because of her we also had the honour to skype with America's well known clock maker, David Walter. He showed us some of his amazing works and shared some ideas to us as future watchmakers.
Thanks Briana, and have a safe trip back to the US.

How can we not do selfie with visitor. 

An unforgetable skype meeting with master David. He is really easy going and extremly nice man Also very willing to share his knowledge to us. Thank you.

Thank you Theren, the student of 2017 who donate the very precise and stable base which makes our measurement much more easier.

Sometimes we have to find ways to organize our work.
Balance bridge support with frosting base and fine finished support.

Very nice black polishing done by Yi-Ting. This is really the ultimate goal to achieve.
This is also our excersise to restore winding stem for a pocket watch.

Another amazing work from Yi-Ting.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Pivot Gauge Handle

We keep moving on to our next challenge this week, making pivot gauge handles. Making the handles from blue steel means this time we have to turn blue steel with HSS graver. Because the hardness of these two material is pretty similar, the graver wear out quickly comparing turn brass or silver steel. We have to spend more time grinding our gravers to keep them sharp for the works.
Turning blue steel also cause some muscle pain, so we also finishing our unfinished tools as a relax exercise.

Happy Birthday, Yi-ting.

Turning blue steel with HSS graver, is not easy but also easy.

Keep fighting with blue steel. 

We'll keep sharing some of our finished tool pictures. Enjoy

Brass anvil.

Angular rule.

Pointed nose vise. Before assembly.

Pointed nose vise. Final appearance.

Balance bridge support.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Finishing tools and parts

We start finishing our tools including winding stem this week. For tools we have a lot choices to do it, like straight graining, frosting, powder coating, and plating. Finishing isn't easy at all, there are a lof of details we have to note while working. Also develope our own technique through painful practices.

To reach black polish requires a lot of practices. It's never an easy job.

Felix trying out polishing with the micromotor his steel spring for the pallet fork support.

Sif performing free hand straight graining. Free hand straight graining gives more warmth to the work piece. 
It's not Christmas yet. It's ready for plating.

Some final result of our polish of winding stems.

We also practice restoring winding stem for old pocket watch. The exercise is really useful if we have a chance to do restoration in the future.

Felix's pallet fork support. Decorated with frosting, red gold plating, and a bevel give this tool a totaly different character. The bluing of the blue steel is also pretty nice.

Stan using the jig boring machine to finish his tool. 

Shuai is decorating his watch parts.