Friday, May 26, 2023

To the tool store!

Week 21

    The school made a visit to Horlogerie Herrli in Biel/Bienne last weekend!  It is a shop that sells watchmaking tools. Everything from oilers, tweezers and movement holders to staking sets, hairspring vibrating tools, and other specialized tools!

Its like a candy store for watchmakers!

Francesco looking through various trays and boxes



Workshop B

Åsmund, Dean, Francesco, Robert, Tetsu, Xin


    This week Åsmund, Francesco and Robert took their final exams!

    This week, Henrik introduced Tetsu and Dean to hairsprings.  This included theory regarding the influences on isochronism.  Tetsu and Dean learned how to cut out balance staffs from balance wheels, removal of rollers, and how to install new staffs and rollers.  Static poising was also covered.  


Tetsu working on a balance with a staking tool.

Dean static poising a balance wheel


    Next, Tetsu and Dean learned how to pin collets to hairsprings. 


Size comparison of the collet and hairspring to 10 Canadian cents.

    The next step was to use a hairspring vibrating tool to set the frequency of the hairspring to 18000 beats per hour. 


Dean matching the movement of the hairspring to his vibrating tool to regulate it to 18,000 vibrations.

    Tetsu and Dean have a number of balances to build up and practice their skills at ensuring their balances are set to the proper frequency.


Workshop A


Daniel, David

    This week Daniel and David finished their final practice tests for making winding stems and are looking forward to taking the real exam next week!   


Polished square and pivot of a practice winding stem.



Next week there will be a graduation dinner for Åsmund, Francesco and Robert!


Thank you for reading, hope to see you again! 

Friday, May 19, 2023


Week #20

Its spring time and the cattle are back to grazing in the fields around the school!

    Also this week Åsmund, Francesco and Robert started their final exams! Today they did the oral and written theory exam and inspection of the movements that they will be working on.



Workshop A

- Amer, Dunham, Daniel, David, Miguel

     This week Daniel, David and Miguel did more practice exams for the winding stem in order to get used to doing it with both speed and precision as learning which areas to improve.

    They also learned how to use the milling attachment on the lathe for slot cutting on screws. 

    Miguel also finished working on his pallet fork holder.

On a dark background, the black rhodium appears white or silver.
    The plate is made of brass that has been Black Rhodium plated (but it appears grey) and beveled, the large blued hairspring was bent and polished by hand, and the handle is made of wood that was turned down and oiled before being fixed onto the screw.

On a lighter background, it is more obvious that it is plated with black rhodium.


    It has 2 sizes of holes as "eyes," the smaller hole closer to the spring is for ladies watch caliber pallet forks and the larger hole is for average to larger sized pallet forks.


    This week Amer and Dunham started learning about barrels.

Open barrel to examine the parts of the mainspring. Notice the drops of grease to allow the mainspring to wind smoothly.

    They learned how to assemble and disassemble the barrel, how to properly lubricate it with grease, and how to correct the side shake and end shake by punching the hole with the staking set.



Workshop B

- Dean, Tetsu and Xin

    This week Tetsu and Dean got introduced to the balance and hairspring course, they tried out different techniques to extract double rollers, balance staffs, removing the split collet from the hairspring as well as the stud, they tried it out on a number of vintage and modern oscillators.


    Meanwhile Xin was repairing several vintage watches for repair points.


    Starting next week Åsmund, Francesco and Robert will be taking their practical final exam. They will have to repair and service 5 different movements throughout the week!


Thank you for reading and hope to see you again next week!

Friday, May 12, 2023

A mooving week

Week #19

    This week we had a new bench tester, Ivan from Italy!

    We also had a cute surprise when we found 3 cows grazing outside our window!


Workshop B
    Åsmund, Dean, Francesco, Robert, Tetsu, Xin
    This week Åsmund, Francesco and Robert were trying their best to get their movements ready and delivered for grading before the final exam at the end of the month.
     They are doing the final adjustments for hairsprings on the 7 movements and tweaking the timing on the timing machine. The movements range from the ETA 6498 movement that has no complications, to the ETA 7750 chronograph movement with a date complication. (A chronograph watch has the ability to be used as a stopwatch, in addition to the normal mechanical watch movement, it has additional wheels and parts that allow time to be displayed on the dial from a start of a push-button.)
     Xin for the past couple of weeks had an intense introduction to chronographs and continued servicing movements. 
    He found it very interesting to understand how everything works in a chronograph and is doing more independent work servicing movements.
    After taking 4 practice exams, Dean and Tetsu finally took their real exam for the escapement and both successfully passed and now they are getting ready for the balance poising and the hairspring lessons.

    In their free time, Dean and Tetsu worked on their own projects. Dean was busy troubleshooting his almost 100-year-old pocket watch, and solving the problems one by one. 
    Tetsu meanwhile did surface finishing of the mandatory tools, which he had made during the micro mechanic course, applying the techniques gained through the lectures from Henrik, and submitted for grading.

    Top Left to right:
    1) Brass plate with a cylinder, female cone and male cone friction fit in. The plate has been grattage finished with rounded bevels.
    2) Balance bridge holder, the base plate has been frosted.
Bottom Left to right:
    1) Steel Angular rule, has been straight grained
    2) Brass truing guide, has also been straight grained

Workshop A
    This week Daniel finished his pointed nose hand vise! He plated it first in white rhodium then with 2 layers of yellow gold.

     Daniel also turned his own barrel closing tool from plastic!

 Stay tuned for highlights from Workshop A!
Thank you for reading, hope to see you again next week!

Friday, May 5, 2023

Had an ice day!

Week #18

The weather was getting really warm this week hitting 20º yesterday, but we had an ice surprise this afternoon.

Surprise hail!


Workshop A
    Amer, Dunham, Daniel, David, Miguel

    This week Daniel, David and Miguel took their first winding stem practice exam. They had to make a full winding stem, thread, square, pinion and have the whole thing hardened, tempered and polished within 8 hours.

    Dunham took his filing exam to make a male and female piece from 2 perfect squares within 8 hours. He also finished his pallet fork holder and started learning how to oil incablocs.

Dunham's finished pallet fork holder

Incabloc and custom brass pin to help manipulate the Incabloc spring


    Amer started learning how to oil incablocs and assemble ETA 6498, 2801, 7001, 2892 and 2671 movements.



Fullskill Watchmaking Student
    Renato Kirin

Congratulations to our newly graduated watchmaker Renato Kirin!


Workshop B
    Åsmund, Dean, Francesco, Robert, Tetsu, Xin
    This week, Åsmund, Francesco, Robert and Xin started their Chronograph lesson.

Robert brought a book about the different types of chronographs

Diagram explaining the parts of a split-second chronograph
Stay tuned for more highlights from Workshop B next week.

 Thank you for reading, hope to see you again next week!