Archive for September, 2015

Industry News, September 2015

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015

 

Management Changes at the Henri Stern Watch Agency

By Aaron Recksiek, CW21

The offices and workshops of The Henri Stern Watch Agency are housed at 45 Rockefeller Center in New York City.Patek Philippe’s after-sales service center and sole goods distributor, located in Rockefeller Center in New York City, will be getting a new technical manager to oversee the 19 watchmakers and roughly 10,000 annual watch repairs sent in from around the nation. The Henri Stern Watch Agency is named after the son of Charles Stern, who purchased Patek Philippe in 1932. Henri Stern ran the original US distribution of Patek Philippe watches before taking over as president, sole owner, and managing director in Geneva in 1958. HSWA operates as a subsidiary of Patek Philippe SA.
    Long-time Head Watchmaker and Director of Technical Services, Laurent Junod, will be moving on to another yet-to-be-announced role within the company. Junod, a native of Vallée de Joux in Switzerland, has served the company in New York for the last 27 years.
    The post will be filled by David A. Bonilla from Sunset Park, Brooklyn, who is a 2007 graduate of the WOSTEP-sanctioned Nicolas G. Hayek Watchmaking School. After graduating, Bonilla worked for the Swatch Group and an Omega boutique on Fifth Avenue for nearly four years before landing with Patek Philippe in 2010.  Bonilla is in his 30s and considered fairly young in the master watchmaking community. He has achieved Level-3 Watchmaker status with Patek Philippe in the five years he has been there.
    In a statement to the press, Larry Pettinelli, president of Patek Philippe USA, said: “We are very pleased to have David Bonilla’s talents at HSWA. He is a highly motivated and talented watchmaker, with all the tools to become a great leader within the workshop. We will be excited to watch him develop in his new role.”

Sources:
www.jckonline.com/2015/07/07/david-bonilla-promoted-henri-stern-watch-agency
www.collectiblewatcheshub.info/bonilla-promoted-at-henri-stern-
watch-agency

 

 

Aaron Recksiek is an independent watchmaker in Salt Lake City, Utah. He was a graduate of the 2008 WOSTEP class at the Lititz Watch Technicum.

Industry News, August 2015

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015

John Harrison’s “Clock B” Breaks World Record

By Andrew DeKeyser, CW21

John Harrison circa 1765Dubbed simply “Clock B,” the timekeeper designed by John Harrison some 250 years ago and made by clockmaker Martin Burgess, ran its way into the Guinness World Records on April 18, 2015, after running only 5/8 of a second slow over 100 days. Guinness described it as the “most accurate mechanical clock with a pendulum swinging in free air.” The trials were overseen by the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers and the National Physical Laboratory beginning on January 6 of this year.
    Harrison described this clock in his controversial book that he used to criticize his competitors and make the audacious claim that his clock could keep time within a second over a 100 day period. Burgess’s second attempt to construct that clock to Harrison’s exact specifications achieved this goal.
    The Harrison-designed clock features a grasshopper escapement as well as a light pendulum bob and large amplitude. Harrison sought to improve on the design of the verge escapement while utilizing Christiaan Huygens’s application of the pendulum to horology. Harrison, a self-taught clockmaker, often used wood in his early clocks because he was a carpenter. He made his first clock at the age of 20, using metal only where absolutely necessary. He preferred wood as a building material because he was very skilled working with it. He discovered that the wood of the lignum vitae tree was naturally greasy and acts as a self-lubricating building material. A tower clock he completed in 1722 has run continuously (other than a short period in 1884 for reconditioning) for more than 270 years. As his skills as a clockmaker grew, he invented the grasshopper escapement and the gridiron pendulum and befriended several other horologists such as George Graham and Thomas Tompion.
    John Harrison is best known for his invention of the marine chronometer. He dedicated his life to win the British government’s £20,000 challenge issued in 1714 to solve the problem of establishing longitude at sea within half a degree or two minutes time. When travelling west, the local time moves back one hour for every 15° of longitude. So, if the local times are known at two different points, the distance between them can be calculated, thus establishing longitude. Local time is established by the position of the sun in the sky at that specific time of year, and Greenwich local time is kept by Harrison’s marine chronometer.

Sources:
“John Harrison and the Longitude Problem.” Royal Museums Greenwich website: www.rmg.co.uk/explore/astronomy-and-time/time-facts/harrison.
McKie, R. “Clockmaker John Harrison Vindicated 250 Years after ‘Absurd’ Claims.” The Guardian. www.theguardian.com/science/2015/apr/19/clockmaker-john-harrison-vindicated-250-years-absurd-claims.  
Singleton, M. “John Harrison’s ‘Clock B’ Sets A World Record over 250 Years after It Was Designed.” The Verge. www.theverge.com/2015/4/20/8456821/john-harrison-clock-b-world-record.
Sobel, Dava and William J. H. Andrewes. The Illustrated Longitude. New York: Walker and Co., 1998.

 

 

Andrew DeKeyser is the owner of HCP Watchmaking in Sisters, Oregon. He graduated from the Lititz Watch Technicum with WOSTEP certification.

A Message from Our AWCI President, Fred T. White, CMW21, August 2015

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015

The friendships that we make at these conventions are more valuable than you can put into words.

Fred T. White, CMW21, AWCI PresidentWHY COME TO THE CONVENTION? It is one of the great opportunities that you have to meet with other watchmakers and clockmakers. The friendships that we make at these conventions are more valuable than you can put into words. I know from experience that calling on a fellow craftsperson to lend a hand with a question, solve a problem, or supply that part needed to finish a job has been most helpful.  I’m proud to say that I can pick up the phone and call friends from the West Coast to the East, and everywhere in between, and get a helping hand. There have been a number of times that I have turned to these friends for instruction on how to handle a problem. Having these connections did not happen with one visit, but by going to conventions over a number of years. We sit alone in our workshops and we think about a problem, but someone else might see it differently. We are not islands alone in this world; we all need each other if we are to survive the parts problem that we face. If you get nothing else from the convention, building a network would be well worth your money and time.
    There are classes that will be taught by the very best instructors, such as our own Tom Schomaker. In my opinion, he is one of the best, if not the best, teacher of horology in the US. Many of us have gained valuable lessons from Tom that we have taken back to our benches and made money, saved time, and made our lives much easier.  He will teach a class on “Essential Practices of Water Resistance Testing.” I’m sure that you will take away something of extreme value for your business.
    Kari Halme, an instructor with Rolex, will teach a class on workshop setup and how to make it more efficient. He has logged many hours designing workshops that create the best workflow, thus saving time and money. He was born in Finland and attended a very prestigious school of horology in that country.
    Nicholas Manousos is the vice president of the Horological Society of New York and a technical editor for HODINKEE. He will give us an interesting presentation on the use of 3D printing in making a scale model of a coaxial escapement, and how it may apply to the future of watchmaking and clockmaking. This may be the way of the future for obtaining some spare parts.
    There will be a Clockmaker’s Round Table discussion. Bring your problem clocks and questions to our distinguished panel, consisting of Jerry Faier, CMC21, FAWCI; Bob Ockenden, CMC; and Michael Gainey, CC21. Maybe you can stump our panel.
    Jerry Faier, CMC21, FAWCI, will teach a class on how to adjust a clock escapement. Jerry runs a successful clock repair shop. He might give a few hints on how he runs his business.
    Our distinguished group of instructors will make it worth your time and money to come to Kansas City, but there is much more. You will gain a lot from the fellowship with other professionals in your field. My challenge to you is to join us in Kansas City and enjoy the convention.

 

to be continued next month
The Four P’s of Watchmaking and Clockmaking…
PATIENCE  ♦  PRIDE  ♦  PASSION  ♦  PERSEVERANCE

 

 

A Message from Our AWCI President, Fred T. White, CMW21, September 2015

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015


The Four P’s of Watchmaking and Clockmaking…

PATIENCE * PRIDE * PASSION * PERSEVERANCE

PFred T. White, CMW21, AWCI Presidenterseverance. The definition of perseverance is steadfastness in doing something difficult or delay in achieving success. It is a first cousin to patience. How many times have we as watchmakers and clockmakers been faced with a problem that took a lot of time to solve? And then there is the “ah ha moment” when we say, “Why didn’t I see that before?” Or you call a friend and ask, “Have you ever encountered a problem like this?”
     I was recently working on a 12 size Elgin that would stop after several hours. I purchased a new-old stock barrel thinking that might be the problem—but to my surprise, it did not solve it. I was suspicious of the third wheel. It was slightly out of true in the flat, and it was very difficult to see if it might be touching the barrel. After some time of trying, I was able to catch the wheel just as it touched the barrel. Patience and perseverance paid off. If you are to achieve success, you must never give up.
    One of the strongest images of perseverance in my mind is Hyvon Ngetich, a runner from
Kenya. She ran in a marathon and finished in 2 hours, 54 minutes, and 21 seconds. But that is not what is so fantastic. She would have come in first place but collapsed 1,312 feet from the finish line. Ngetich stumbled and fell when she was so close to the finish line, and then she crawled the rest of the way to finish in third place. Later, she didn’t remember finishing the race.
    Perseverance, a very strong quality, makes people push for success in whatever endeavor they try. Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” We as watchmakers and clockmakers must find a way to persist. It may require that we relearn some of the skills we learned as beginners in this trade. My advice is to never, never, never give up. Keep moving forward, searching for a solution to those difficult problems that we face, whether it is a parts problem or that stubborn watch or clock that is on the back of your bench.
    What seems impossible just hasn’t been done yet. It’s up to you to keep pushing on until you find a solution. Do you remember the first time you disassembled an ETA 7750 or any other complicated timepiece? Do you remember how difficult it seemed? After you’d done one or two, it didn’t seem so complicated. Steve Jobs said, “I’m convinced about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the nonsuccessful ones is pure perseverance.” You will never know what you can do until you try. So the next time you are looking at that complicated problem, keep on trying and never give up.
    Often people stop when success is just around the corner. A gentleman in Maryland caught the gold fever and went to Colorado and staked a claim when he discovered gold. He talked several of his friends into backing him, and he bought the equipment needed, went back to his claim, and hauled out enough gold to pay for the equipment. Then disaster struck—the vein ran out. He sold the equipment and the claim for pennies on the dollar and came home defeated. The person who bought the claim sought the advice of a mining engineer and discovered the vein only a few feet away, took out a large amount of gold, and became a rich man. When you feel defeated, seek advice from an expert. Success could be right in front of you.
    Obstacles can’t stop you. Problems can’t stop you. Other people can’t stop you. The only thing that can stop you is yourself.