Archive for November, 2015

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

Monday, November 2nd, 2015

 

Fred T. White, CMW21, AWCI PresidentWe are flying at 30,000 feet, traveling away from Kansas City. As we listen to the drone of the engines, the flight attendant says, “We will be coming through the cabin to collect any trash as we are preparing for our final descent into BWI (Baltimore Washington International Airport).” My mind races back to the  super-great week we have just experienced, starting off with our first class at Jules Borel & Company, taught by Henrik Korpela from K&H Watchmaking Competence Centre in Switzerland.  He taught High End Horological Decoration and Finishing. So much positive energy came out of that class. Every student found it interesting and came away knowing how to do finishes of various types, from bright screw heads to straight line finishes on watch parts. If we are fortunate enough to bring Henrik back, I recommend this class to any watchmaker who works on vintage watches or wants to match the finish on a new part. The class was two wonderful days and time well spent.
    On Wednesday, the Chronometer Club gave a class taught by Tom Schomaker on how to remove scratches from a dial and hands. Tom provided a burnishing tool to remove the scratches. There was a lot of positive feeling about this exercise, as we sat burnishing out the small scratch that we had just put in the dial. This too was an interesting class, taught by a very good teacher. This class was very well received, and I would recommend it to any watchmaker.  
    Then it was time to go to Jules Borel & Company for a tour of their material house. They had some nice food and refreshment set up for us. Their company was established in the 1920s and is now in its fourth generation of being in business. A GREAT BIG THANK YOU goes to them for all their help with this convention.
    Thursday we got into “The Rebirth of the Watchmaking and Clockmaking Spirit in America.” Our day started with our keynote speaker, Mr. Michael Wilson, Co-Founder and CEO of Niall Luxury, whose watch cases are made in Kansas City, using Eterna movements. Michael assures us that parts are readily available to us. Jordan and I had the opportunity to spend an evening with him and meet his lovely wife. We found him to be very passionate and enthusiastic about building watches in America and rebuilding that American Spirit.
    The Affiliate Chapter Committee chose David Kurdzionak for their Chairperson.
    The Industry Advisory Board chose Henry Kessler for their Chairperson.
    The Board of Directors met and elected Fred White, President; Drew Zimmerman, Vice President; Aaron Recksieck, Secretary; and Henry Kessler, Treasurer.  Also installed were two new Directors, Peter Whittle and Craig Stone. Jack Kurdzionak swore in the officers and new board members.  
    The next day, we toured Jules Borel & Co. Upon returning to the Hotel Phillips, we went to the Escapement Room Hospitality Suite, sponsored by Cas-Ker Co., where yours truly was surprised with birthday cake, a gift of a tie (since I had forgotten to bring ties), and a fifth of single-malt scotch.
    Friday was the Vendor Fair, which included presentations by many of our vendors.
    Saturday we attended classes: Jerry Faier taught a class on escapement adjusting, Kari Halme taught workshop practices, and Nicholas Manousos gave a glimpse into the future with 3D printing. There was a clockmaker’s round table discussion lead by Jerry Faier, Bob Ockenden, and Michael Gainey. Tom Schomaker gave us the Essential Practices of Water-Resistance Testing. All these classes were well received and well attended. Everyone had a good experience and took a lot of good information home with them.
    The ladies had three days of activities, including some shopping and visits to various museums.
    My summation is that it was our best convention in many years. The attitude was upbeat, and a great time was had by all. Thanks to Terry Kurdzionak, convention committee chairperson, Gary Borel and his daughter Jena Borel, Paul Wadsworth, and Jordan Ficklin and his staff—Donna Hardy and Cindy Whitehead were present. All of their hard work is greatly appreciated.  
    I recently heard that there is no “I” in “TEAM.” However, there is an “I” in “WIN,” and this convention was a winner. Thanks to everyone who contributed to its SUCCESS.

    More details about the convention will follow in December’s issue of HT.

 

 

 

 

 

Industry News, November 2015

Monday, November 2nd, 2015

Patek Philippe USA Opens

Tuition-Free Watchmaking School

                                                                                     By  Aaron Recksiek, CW21

 

When we reported on the management changes at the Henri Stern Watch Agency in September, it was unknown where long-time Technical Director and Master Watchmaker Laurent Junod would end up within the company. After an official announcement from Patek-Philippe in early October we now know. Laurent Junod has now earned the title Director of Technical Training at the Patek Philippe Horology Programme New York. This newly established in-house watchmaking school is only the second of its kind outside of Geneva, Switzerland. Patek Philippe opened its first satellite watchmaking school in 2013 in Shanghai, China, at the prestigious Maison Patek Philippe Shanghai.
    Patek Philippe, like many other brands, recognized that the amount of repairs being received by their service center was going to drastically increase in the near future due to the favorable sales market over the last 20 years. Their US-based service center currently provides service to around 10,000 timepieces a year, currently split among 19 watchmakers. This number doesn’t include all the repairs that must be sent back to Geneva. Instead of requiring more repairs to be sent back to Switzerland and causing a longer turnaround time, Patek found it was necessary to train new watchmakers in-house to their products and standards. This in turn will free up the veteran watchmakers to handle some of the more complicated repairs that in the past would have made the transatlantic journey.
    The US-based school will follow the two-year curriculum already established in the Shanghai school. While the school follows a traditional watchmaking school calendar, the training is completely integrated into the highly revered Patek four-level tiered training system already available to qualifying watchmakers. Levels 1-3 cover all the basic skills required of modern watchmakers as well as all the skills needed to service and restore most of Patek Philippe’s quartz, manual wind, and automatic watches. Level 4 is reserved for the highly complicated timepieces such as repeaters and split-second chronographs. The current curriculum will graduate the watchmakers with a level-2 designation.
    The current candidates were found using a headhunter because of the secrecy surrounding the project. Out of the initial pool of 300 applicants, 80 were brought in for a formal interview and technical presentations. Six were chosen for the initial program. Classes will not be run concurrently, so the next group of students will not start until this same time of year in 2017. The tuition for the school is free, and the students are also given a small stipend to help them pay for rent and food in the country’s most expensive city. Once students complete the program, they will be offered a full-time watchmaker position with the company.
    Patek Philippe will begin to interview new candidates sometime next year. If you are interested in the program you should contact Patek Philippe USA at 212-218-1240.

Laurent Junod, Master Watchmaker for Patek Phillips for three decades, runs the school.

Six students were chosen from 300 applicants.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:
www.forbes.com
www.hodinkee.com
www.patek.com

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