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

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…



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

September 22nd, 2015

The Four P’s of Watchmaking and Clockmaking…


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.



In Memoriam, William O. Smith Jr. – July 2015

July 15th, 2015

In Memoriam

William O. Smith Jr.William O. Smith Jr. and his daughter Gail.

William O. Smith Jr. passed away peacefully at his home in West Dennis, Massachusetts, on June 1, 2015 at the age of 88. His wife, Mary, and his daughter Gail were with him. Smith was a Certified Master Watchmaker and Clockmaker. He began his training at the age of 12 at the Western Pennsylvania Horological Institute in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, founded by his father in 1936. In 1966, he joined the faculty of the University of Illinois to participate in a Horological and Micro-Precision Research Project. Subsequently, Smith established a Micro-Precision Technology program at Parkland College in Champaign, Illinois, where he taught until his retirement in 1984. In 1987, Smith founded Smith’s Time Shop, in South Yarmouth, Massachusetts, now located in West Dennis.
    Smith was a past president of The Watchmaker’s Association of Pennsylvania and a Director and Fellow of The American Watchmaker’s Institute. Smith is author of many technical books including Twenty-First Century Watchmaking, Hamilton Electric Watch Repair Manual, and 28 volumes on chronographs and complicated watches.
    Smith enlisted in the Navy during WWII where he served in the Farragut Unit in Washington D.C., and later as head watchmaker at Ship’s Service in Norfolk, Virginia.
    He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Mary (Tomko) Smith; by his children, William O., III and his wife Karen; Mark A. and his wife Sandy; Kent R. and his wife Christine; Lynn M. Marlow and her husband Thomas (Pete); Gail M. Smith; Jill L. Conway and her husband Bob; and Sherri A. Smith; 12 grandchildren, and 18 great-grandchildren.
    Funeral services were held on June 8 in South Yarmouth, Massachusetts, and burial followed at the Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne, Massachusetts.  

Here are some remembrances of Bill Smith from some of his friends and colleagues at AWCI.

In 1995, the Massachusetts Watchmakers Clockmakers Association held a large reception for Henry B. Fried. Bill and Mary Smith were among the 100 or so people who attended that reception to honor Henry that evening. Henry remarked to those of us sitting at his table that there was another person in the room who deserved to be honored even more than he did. That person was William O. Smith Jr.

~Jack Kurdzionak, CW21, FAWCI

Bill Smith with Henry Fried in 1995 at an event honoring Henry Fried.
Bill and Mary Smith were wonderful people. I had the pleasure of working with them at AWI in the early 90s. I have used his incredibly well-illustrated chronograph series over the years. He graciously autographed several of his books for me. Mr. Smith will be missed.

~Robert Porter, CMW

My first encounter with Bill’s work was reading his description of vector physics of various watch parts (written in the late 1970s for AJH) and how and why the engineering designs functioned as they did. The thing that drew me in the most was his readability. He was the first horological writer I had encountered that I could follow in my head. As I read his descriptions, which not only read well but progressed logically, I got it the first time without going back again to pick up what didn’t fit. That is a special talent in writing that few authors possess. It immediately gave me a special respect for this man whom, at this point, I had never met.
    Several years later (by this time I had taught several classes for AWCI) while at an AWCI annual meeting, I bought a copy of Bill’s latest book, Twenty-First Century Watchmaking, with the intention of having him sign my copy. To my surprise, he wrote the inscription: “To my esteemed colleague, warmest regards, Bill Smith.” I was shocked. This was the first time I had met him, and I had no idea how he even knew who I was! When I asked him how he knew me, he told me that his “eyes in the field had eavesdropped on my classes and the reports were excellent!” It took me weeks to get over the compliment! Coming from this man who had a world-renowned reputation as an instructor, watchmaker, and professional was more than a compliment. It was a directive to raise my skill level to its highest and to share everything I knew with others. I think that was what strengthened my resolve as a practicing professional clockmaker.
    Sometime later, Bill and I joined our efforts in developing a more well-rounded education program for AWCI and their (at that time) Academy. We worked out several new items to use within the program frame that would answer some of the stated needs from industry that had been missing. Soon after that experience, I became Education Committee Chairman and redirected AWCI’s entire education efforts and certification programs. But as I worked on those items, I would have constant contact with Bill and get his opinion. Since he had dealt with the international community as well as the US watch community for so long, I felt he understood and knew what was needed. It was never a blind following, as Bill was too good of a teacher and debater to just give opinions. We argued many times, but even if I disagreed with him or his views on something, I could never get mad at him. He was just too kind of a person to let anything but intelligence and honesty prevail.
    He was a strong family man, and I got to see how he raised several of his kids—Bill and Gail, in particular. The kids I met seemed to share the same gentleness that Bill had. His wife, Mary, was no slouch here either. As Bill’s editor, she kept him in line as he worked.  
    In the end analysis of what we leave this world when we pass, all we can hope to do is leave it with some knowledge of what we hold to be the best, not only for ourselves, but for the future. We evaluate what we leave by looking at what the future does with what we offered. In my case, I garnered more than a comment in a book. I garnered a way of practicing my professional skills and a need to do them at the highest level; an honest desire to share what I have been given (skills, knowledge, and dispositions) by Bill and so many others; and a need to try to help those who share these desires and want to make our profession vibrant and productive. I will always miss the person, but I will never be without his contributions to my success.

~Jerry Faier, CMC21, FAWCI

Industry News, July 2015

July 15th, 2015

The Tom Scott Collection
More than 100 rare and important clocks, watches, and scientific instruments go on display

By Donna HardyUnique Surveying Compass

Assembled over 30 years by entrepreneur and philanthropist Tom Scott, this collection contains over 100 clocks, watches, and scientific instruments. Forty-seven of the items were made by or have a link to Thomas Tompion (1639–1713) and his successor, George Graham (1673–1751).
    Perhaps the greatest leap in the mechanical evolution of clocks came in the second half of the 17th century, after Christiaan Huygens patented the application of the pendulum to clockworks, leading to greater accuracy. This led to scientific and technological advancements in this field, some of which are in this collection.
    Among the mechanical innovations by Tompion over this period were his grande sonnerie striking clocks, of which there are three in the collection, as well as pull-quarter repeat systems.
    Other highly regarded clockmakers, Joseph Knibb (1640–1711), Daniel Quare (1649–1724), and later Tompion’s successor, George Graham (1673–1751), are represented in this collection with some of their finest clocks.
    Prices range from £2,000 to £4.5 million ($3,054 to $6.8 million).
    A book has been written about the collection, The Golden Age of Horology, Masterpieces from the Tom Scott Collection. Look for a review of this book in an upcoming issue of Horological Times.  
    Exhibition at Carter Marsh & Co., Winchester, UK–

    Part I: July 4–25, 2015

    Part II: November 7–28, 2015

Miniature Ebony and Gilt Brass Mounted Striking Spring Clock


Donna Hardy is Managing Editor of Horological Times.

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

July 15th, 2015

The Four P’s of Watchmaking and Clockmaking…


PFred T. White, CMW21, AWCI Presidentassion is defined as “a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something.” If you don’t talk about your work with excitement and enthusiasm, then you should find something else to do, because you are not passionateabout what you do. You should be enthusiastic when you talk to your customers about the repairs you are going to do for them. To you it may be another job, but to them it is a family treasure or a watch they may have carried through a war or other trying times in their lives.  If you are not passionate about what you are doing, then your business will never grow. To quote Wally Amos, the founder of The Cookie Kahuna, “The fuel that drives many of us is passion. If you are passionate about what you are doing, it is impossible to quit. Another strong supporter is Attitude. A positive attitude will see you through just about anything and everything.”  
    Show me an athlete who is not enthusiastic and excited about whatever game he or she is participating in, and I will show you one who is not a good athlete.  The same rules apply to watchmaking or clockmaking. If you are going to be a horologist, then why not strive to be the best horologist you can be?  Read books, attend classes, attend seminars and conventions, and find a mentor. You may think that what you are doing is the best way of doing that project, but when you talk with another craftsperson, he or she may have a better way of doing it and can do the project much faster than you can.  None of us should be an island: we all need a mentor, coach, or friend who will share information, parts, or moral support with us. I have learned more at a table over a drink or in a hallway exchanging ideas with others than I can put into words.  Develop a network of people you can call on to help you. But remember, it must be a two-way street: when they call on you, you must be willing to reciprocate.  Some of my best friends, those who are here and those who have passed on, have been watchmakers and clockmakers. These friends are passionate about what they do. You could say they love their job, their calling, using their God-given talent to satisfy their clients. Ewell Hartman, CMW, FAWI, had a saying: “Enthusiasm makes the difference.”


 I will say more about the Four P’s of Watchmaking and Clockmaking next month when I talk about perseverance. To be continued.   




June 10th, 2015

to our members who passed the CW21 from January – June 2015

Keith Dickey

Gabriel Ehimen

Tung Lu

Christopher Milton

Phillip Ridley

David Threlkeld

Scott A. Walters

Jennifer Yang

Janey T. Yu










Welcome to Our Newest Members (Jan-Mar 2015)

June 10th, 2015

Hun Amparado 
Gabriel Angeles   
Armen Anserlian   
Eric Aschman   
Christian Busta 
Gary B. Cecil   
Matthew Davis
Michael Davis
Danniel De Castro
Kenneth DeMarce
Dalton Denson Jr.
Jorge Dominguez-Berrios
Shane Donley
Robert Espy
Jason Gallop
Jacinto Gonzales 
Brett Grant   
Stephany Guyot 
Bryan Hanshaw 
Jeff Howard   
Chase Jacobs  
Kul B. Jain   
Grace Kao   
Ryan Kemper
Timothy Knechel
Hannah Mancill  
Amy Martens   
Ronald Martinez  
Mike McDonald  
Roger Middleton   
Tucker Nesbitt   
Matthew L. Nowlin
Pablo Ortiz   
Jeremy D. Reed
Larry Reynolds   
Marcus Sieczkowski   





Welcome to Our Newest AWCI Members (April – June 2015)

June 10th, 2015

Stan Boychuk

Michael Briggs

William Buchalter

Clay Clark

Brian Cleaves

Jay Cook

Patrick D. Davis

Jonathan M. Fixley

Richard Ford

Miguel A. Garcia

Eric George

Brice C. Giesbrecht

Robert Hendrickson

Larry Jeffries

Dick Laninga

Jason Lewis

Austin Lowe

Shaheed Peters

Leonardo Prado

Pedro Ruiz

Bryan Smith

Cameron Weiss

Mark Wilkes

Steven Wojcik

Randall Zadar

Michael Zaytsev






























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

June 10th, 2015

The Four P’s of Watchmaking and Clockmaking…


 PFred T. White, CMW21, AWCI Presidentatience To be a watchmaker or clockmaker you must have patience. There are so many times you will lose your cool if you don’t have patience. Many times when you are putting something together, it just will not go the way you want it to. Wheels won’t line up with the pivot hole, or you flip that part across your bench—now you have to practice patience. It is the very thing that keeps us from blowing our stack and doing something we’ll regret later. We also need patience to sit and work with a hairspring for what seems like hours or taking the time to analyze a problem until we find the solution. I’m sure you remember when you started out as a watchmaker or clockmaker how complicated a particular project might have seemed. But with time and patience, now it doesn’t seem complicated at all.   
    We must also practice patience with problem customers: we need to show restraint and put on a happy face and help find a good solution to their problems. Listen. Really listen, and let them vent. After they have told you all their problems, ask the question: “Now, how can I help?” After you ask that question, shut up and let them tell you what they expect you to do for them. Now is the time for you to pay particular attention and deliver more than they expect. Promise little but deliver much more than expected.
Pride As watchmakers and clockmakers we should be proud of what we do. We are rendering a service to our communities just as surely as the doctor, plumber, carpenter, or trash collector. We are all a part of the community that makes the whole thing work. I grew up on a farm and was taught some good work ethics. I was taught if you plowed a row, you plowed it straight. If you dug a ditch, you did it with pride, so that when someone looked at the work you did, they would see the pride you put into it. And so it should be with all the work we do. You should be willing to put your name on your work just as an artist signs a picture. (I don’t mean scratch your name on the movement but in a fashion that will not deface the movement). I recently was talking with a young man who was serving an apprenticeship in the plumbing trade. He said he had to work three years as an apprentice before he could take a test to become a journeyman. He said, “I’m loving it.” We should all feel the same.
    You should be proud of your association with AWCI.  When you hang that certificate on your wall, it should be with much pride, whether it’s a membership, CW, CW21, CMW, CMW21, CC, CC21—or any other certificate of accomplishment. When you take classes that improve your skills or your understanding of the movement, you will be better able to serve your community. (It’s what you learn after you know it all that matters). You will gain knowledge or skills that will make you a better craftsperson. If you have a certification, be proud to display it, because it wasn’t given to you. You EARNED it, just as CPAs or PhDs earned theirs.  It is something that any watchmaker or clockmaker can accomplish with patience, pride, passion, and perseverance.  

I will say more about the Four P’s of watchmaking and clockmaking next month when I talk about passion and perseverance.
To be continued.  




Industry News, June 2015

June 10th, 2015

2015: The Year of Smartwatches

By Aaron Recksiek, CW21

Here we are in 2015, the year many industry commentators have dubbed “The Year of the Smartwatch.” There has been a recent, some might say frantic, push by many brands to produce some form of smart technology into a wristwatch package, not to mention the number of brands producing non-watch “wearable technology” (Fitbit, Nike, Jawbone, etc.). As we all know, most watch collectors don’t necessarily base their watch buying on useful functionality; rather, they purchase based on prestige and a need to connect with the mechanical world. The big question this year is whether the smartwatch will bring the next generation—a generation that avoids wearing anything strapped to their wrists—to embrace the conventional habit of wearing a watch. Many doubt this will be the case. However, if they do embrace it, this same generation might also discover the joy of the traditional collectible watch and become the next generation of mechanical-watch collectors.
    In this piece I would like to highlight the most intriguing announcements and releases of the year and some of the biggest contenders in this relatively new facet of the industry. We covered some new smartwatches from the Consumer Electronic Show (Montblanc e-strap, Withings Activite Pop, Kronoz ZeWatch, and Guess Connect) in the March HT, so I will not include those here. I am going to approach this alphabetically and not necessarily in order of importance or popularity. Individual brands will be highlighted in bold.

  • Android Wear. This is the smartwatch version of Google’s Android operating system. The software is open sourced and is used by several different companies as the digital framework to go along with their manufactured hardware, similar to the current Android smartphone operating system. The current partners that use the system are: ASUS, Motorola, LG, Samsung, and Sony. The visual appearance varies depending on the brand’s desired interface of their watch. There are rectangular and circular cases with a vast variety of case material and band choices. A selection of 1,000+ different watch faces can be changed in an instant. The operating system allows the wearer to access many of the features of the compatible Android device: music, maps, weather, reminders, fitness, texts, and email. Battery life and charging method varies by device, but most of them need to be charged every day, similar to the paired smartphone.

The Apple Watch

  • The Apple Watch. By far the most anticipated smartwatch ever produced. There was speculation dating to early 2014 about the possibility of Apple developing a smartwatch, and the official announcement came in September 2014 with delivery estimates of spring 2015. In March 2015 the company announced that pre-orders would start at midnight Pacific Standard Time on April 10, and first delivery would be April 24. Unless they were up in the middle of the night to place their orders as soon as the watches went on sale, most consumers won’t see their watches until late May or June. It was widely reported that Apple sold one million watches in the first six hours of the pre-sale. The Apple Watch’s success is largely due to three major factors: variation, functionality, and ease of use. There are 38 different variations of the Apple Watch consisting of aluminum-cased models, stainless steel, and hardened 18k gold. The straps and bracelets are quickly and easily changeable and include fluoroelastomer plastic, leather with two different types of buckles or magnetic loop fastening, and two different bracelets— stainless steel link or stainless steel mesh. The use of the Apple Watch requires pairing it with a compatible iPhone, and it can do more than any other smartwatch on the market. It contains a Force Touch Sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope, heart-rate sensor, and barometer. It gives the wearer notifications of a small pulse using a linear actuator. Wearers can access much of the data and many of the apps stored on their phones without having to remove them from their pockets. The downsides are that it requires the wearer to also have an iPhone, connecting with Wi-Fi or Bluetooth 4.0. It will need to be charged every day, via electromagnetic induction, as the battery life is estimated at 18 hours.

B55 Connected by Breitling

  • Breitling. The B55 Connected is an extremely simplified version of the modern smartwatch that is still a genuine Swiss-made timepiece. The watch connects via Bluetooth to a compatible smartphone and the new Breitling smartphone app. It still uses the company’s B50 caliber SuperQuartz movement, and the smartphone connectivity is there to make the features of the watch easier to use. It can automatically update the displayed analog and digital time based on the time zone you are in. The app also allows the user to control and back up the timers, chronographs, and alarms. The watch is projected to go on sale in late 2015.

  • Bulgari. We now have some more details about the Diagono Magnesium that we first touched on last month in the Baselworld recap. The watch will contain a Swiss-made automatic movement as well as a near field communication chip that connects with the Bulgari Vault smartphone app. The NFC chip will be used to transmit secured personal data such as making credit card payments, unlocking smartlock doors, and transmitting passwords.

  • Gucci. The Italian fashion brand partnered with musician Will.i.am to create the i.am+ Smartband. It’s an integrated bangle-bracelet style smartwatch with independent 3G capability that will work without connecting it to a paired smartphone. Additional features include front-facing camera for video calling from your wrist, a heart-rate sensor, temperature sensor, and GPS. The smartwatch was announced at Baselworld, but no release date has been set.

  • H. Moser & Cie. The luxury Swiss watch manufacturer created a huge buzz all around the watch world when they dropped hints of a major “haute horlogerie smart watch” to be announced on March 9, taking place the same day as the Apple Watch unveiling. Words taken from the press release described “a revolutionary creation [that] provides state-of-the-art ergonomics and functionality, a clean interface, selective connectivity and an extremely long battery life.” They decided to punk watch collectors by declaring their mechanical watches are the smartest of them all. The entire release was nothing more than a marketing gimmick to debut the brand’s new Endeavour Perpetual Calendar Funky Blue, a dual barrel 18,000-beat, manual-wind, seven-day perpetual calendar with a new escapement design, all made in-house.

REDLINE by Hyetis

  • Hyetis. The Hyetis REDLINE smartwatch RDL-001 is a highly ambitious project by a company trying to manufacture the world’s first Swiss mechanical with electronic integrated display smartwatch. The watch was extensively covered back in early 2013, with a projected delivery date by the end of that year, and there have been design and production delays ever since. The endeavor was declared dead by enthusiasts last year, but recent updates from the company have promised delivery in 2015. The first model will contain a Swiss automatic, 48-hour power reserve, 28,800-beat movement, with a smart complications module that will contain an accelerometer, gyroscope, temperature sensor, pressure sensor, compass, humidity sensor, altimeter, and depth meter.

  • IWC. The eastern Switzerland manufacturer announced that soon all their sports watches, starting with the Big Pilot, will come equipped with IWC Connect, an activity tracker integrated into the strap of the watch. Not a lot of specifics have been announced yet, but the chip will provide full-fledged activity tracking and communicate with a variety of devices. With the announcement, Georges Kern, CEO of IWC Schaffhausen, added: “But, and this is essential, we do not touch our beautiful watches—an ‘IWC’ stays a mechanical handcrafted timepiece. We’ve engineered an intelligent design solution which perfectly integrates and underlines our product worlds.”

  • Kairos. Probably the most unique and innovative smartwatch company out there. The spectrum of available products includes the Hybrid Watch: a mixture of mechanical movement, Swiss Soprod A10BV-2 or Japanese Miyota 82S7, and a transparent digital display floating over the analog watch dial. The digital module operates on the Kairos OS software and connects via Bluetooth to Apple iOS, Android, or Windows Phones. It contains touch, gyroscope, 3-axis accelerometer, and gesture-detection sensors. The T-Band: this smartstrap comes in every millimeter size from 18-24mm and can be used with any watch that allows for interchangeable straps. It includes all the functionality of the Kairos Hybrid watch with the addition of a Galvanic Skin Sensor that monitors skin temperature and detects how much sweat your sweat glands are producing, optical heart-rate sensor, and compass. It has the option of a PMOLED display, hidden LED display, or no display at all. All of the sensor data can also be accessed on the paired smartphone app. Kairos also makes mechanical-only watches that can be purchased with plain straps and bracelets, or the Smart T-Band. The Hybrid smartwatch and T-Band both need to be charged every two to three days and connect via a POGO PIN USB charging port and not electromagnetic induction to avoid introducing any magnetism into the mechanical components. The company has an extensive backlog of orders because of the manufacturing challenges and tremendous popularity of the products.

The Hybrid Watch by Kairos


  • Manufacture Modules Technologie’s MotionX-365 Horological Smartwatch Open Platform. This smartwatch tech is a joint venture between Silicon Valley and traditional Swiss watchmaking dubbed Swiss Horological Smartwatches. Starting in June 2015 we will see the release of ten different men’s and ladies’ models from Frederique Constant, Alpina, and Mondaine that will use this technology. There will be no digital displays and all the watches will have analog hands. If you didn’t know any better, you would not suspect they weren’t traditional Swiss watches. The smartwatches will connect to an iPhone or Android app, and the smart features will include: automatically syncing and updating date and time; MotionX activity tracking; Sleeptracker sleep monitoring, sleep-cycle alarms, activity alerts, and adaptive coaching. These watches will require no charging and boast more than two years of battery life.

Model One by Olio

  • Olio. The Model One is the first product to be produced by this new San Francisco-based company. They have drawn strong comparisons to Apple with their statements that they are dedicated to making products with the highest-quality materials and carefully crafted design that enrich people’s lives. The Model One works with both Apple iOS devices and Android smartphones and gives you access to notifications, weather, maps, music, calls, emails, texts, social media, news, sports, finance, etc. The smartwatch also has the ability to pair with other smart devices such as controlling lights, thermostats, locks, and cars. The watch is produced in 316L stainless steel, plain or PVD coated, with link bracelet or leather strap. First deliveries will be in June 2015 and all pre-orders are currently sold out.


  • Pebble. When they broke the record for Kickstarter campaigns in 2012, raising over $10 million, everyone knew this watch was going to be something special. The Pebble Steel has been the most successful single model smartwatch until the Apple Watch rolled out. The watch pairs with your smartphone—Apple or Android—to access apps and data. This is done through the Pebble app store, which is inside the Pebble app itself. This means that all the data on your phone is not always available on the watch, only the stuff you choose to be made available through the Pebble app. The watch screen is black and white with an e-paper display. This means it can be viewed just as easily in sunlight as in the dark. There are millions of watch faces available for download and extremely easy ways to create your own. The sensors integrated in the watch are a 3D accelerometer, compass, and a light sensor. The watch lasts up to a week on a full charge. In March 2015, Pebble outdid themselves again with another Kickstarter campaign—this time for the new Pebble Time, raising over $20 million. The Pebble Time is a full-color screen version of the classic Pebble with an added microphone sensor. The new watch is available in a variety of different colors of polycarbonate cases or 316L stainless steel, with an extensive selection of easy-to-change straps and bracelets. Most smartwatch aficionados consider the Pebble Time Steel the closest competitor to the Apple Watch.

  • The Smartwatch Group. They are not so much a watch company as they are an independent smartwatch research firm. They saw a need to compile all the data available relating to the smartwatch industry, such as trends, product offerings, sales figures, technical details, etc. They have compiled all the data into downloadable reports that can be purchased in a basic edition ($2,800) or a premium edition ($3,400). The reports include: market figures data; list of the top 300 smartwatch companies; applications and use cases; key technologies and operating systems; advice for successful projects; analysis of the global hotspots; and share price considerations. The need for the Smartwatch Group arose because few other industries have the growth projection estimates as the smartwatch industry; many industry experts project tenfold growth over the next five years.

  • Swatch Group. A lot has changed since CEO Nick Hayek dismissed smartwatches in 2013, stating: “Personally, I don’t believe it’s the next revolution.” Since then, not only has the entire industry been scrambling to come up with something, but now the Swatch Group will produce several different offerings of smartwatch technology in the near future. The first release is the Swatch Touch Zero One, mostly a fitness tracking device with viewable data on the paired smartphone app. There is a direct link to beach volleyball (not a hugely popular sport, but Swatch is a sponsor of the International Volleyball Federation). Oddly, an ice-cream cone graphic is used to show the wearer is progressing in his or her physical activity. The more interesting announcement from Swatch is that they plan to introduce NFC chips in several of their brands, ranging from the new Swatch Touch Zero One to the Tissot and Omega brands. The NFC chips will allow the wearer to make contactless payments from a paired smartphone. Swatch has already teamed up with China UnionPay to process payments in that country using the technology. There has been no further information regarding what the full capabilities of these smartwatches will be other than stating that they are “not a consumer electronics company,” so a full-blown smartwatch is not expected any time soon.

  • Tag Heuer. Not much has been revealed about the new Tag Heuer smartwatch. The price will be around $1,400, which is relatively expensive in the smartwatch world. The watch will contain a new, exclusive Intel microprocessor chip; the operating system will be a variation of Google’s Android Wear; and they are aiming for a 40-hour battery life. With Jean-Claude Biver, president of the Watch Division LVMH Group and CEO of TAG Heuer, at the helm, there are expectations they will be able to create something that brings Swiss-made smartwatches to the forefront of the smartwatch industry.

  • Vector. A new tech company is trying to break into the crowded market by offering something unique: a smartwatch with LCD screen and all the normal activity tracking, but with a 30-day battery life, which is achieved by the simplicity and efficiency of their proprietary operating system. The screen is not touch enabled, and the lighting is constantly changing to conserve energy. It connects to a smartphone with an app, just like most smartwatches, and comes in three different variations of case style with a vast array of traditional straps and bracelets.

  • Victorinox. The brand known for its multi-tool pocket knives and reasonably priced Swiss watches will be releasing a smartwatch in early 2016. Carl Elsener, the great grandson of Victorinox’s founder, announced in a Reuters report: “Our concept is something approaching a smartwatch.” Elsener did not give many specifics, but said he would like it to have the “opportunity to expand the functions” and “have a long lifespan compared to a mobile phone or a computer.”

My Thoughts
Will the smartwatch succeed? Absolutely. We often hear people who don’t wear wristwatches say, “I just use my cell phone to tell me the time.” We have seen this trend before with mechanical pocket watches. A century ago, people said to the soldiers returning from World War I, “Why would I need to wear a watch on my wrist? I just use my pocket watch to tell the time.” This didn’t change the fact that while wristwatches were only 15% of all watches made in America in 1920, by 1935 they accounted for 85%. It became much more practical to wear your timekeeping device on your wrist as opposed to in a pocket or pouch. In modern times, with so much technology available, it seems silly for people to dedicate the valuable real estate on their arm to a device that only keeps time. Put the same technology they expect from their smartphone into a wristwatch, and you have the recipe for history to repeat itself. Recently when I was at the theater, a couple in front of me asked the usher for the time. It literally took him 10 seconds of fumbling around in his pockets to pull his cell phone out and give them the time. In the fast-paced future we all envision, this will not stand. For those who never developed a connection to traditional timepieces, a watch that works well with their smartphone will be the natural choice. This is why we will see a growing number of people who have never worn a watch before begin to accept the most personal of devices, the wristwatch—be it smart or otherwise.


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.