A Message from the President – Manuel Yazijian, CMW21

March 11th, 2013

March’s Horological Times

I n last month’s message I talked briefly about the strategic action plan that took place in our headquarters in Harrison, Ohio from January 31st through February 1st. Mr. T.D. Hughes, a well-respected local consultant who helped us work toward our action plan, facilitated the specific meeting. In effect, we identified our top priorities, our critical success factors (CSF’s), then outlined the goals and their owners for each of those CSF’s. Our next step is to begin the implementation of this plan that will take place over the next one-to-three years, as outlined below.

1    Leadership and Financial Planning led by Manuel Yazijian: The goal is to have better communication between the Board of Directors and staff through regularly- scheduled communication in order to help with financial planning, monitoring and meeting of the critical success factors. Keith Rosser, our CFO and interim Executive Director, will help facilitate these meetings via the use of modern technology. Some further goals are to produce monthly operating statements that are to be shared with Board members and staff, as well as the creation of an annual financial plan. The latter will be comprised of a quarterly review, number of potential membership renewals, actual renewals, as well as the acquisition of new members and their retention.

2    Improved Certification Process led by Chief Examiner, Wesley Grau: This involves the formation of a special task force for the purpose of reviewing and revising the CW21 certification program. The intent is to stay up to date with the most recent developments in our supply chain, to review and improve the content of the exam, as well as to ensure financial neutrality of the overall program. For this reason, the current certification program is in review mode and the current target is to roll out the pilot phase in the month of June, 2013. Stay tuned for updates and more solid dates.

3    Staff Development and Needs led by Keith Rosser: The goal is to confirm the assessments, define roles and responsibilities, determine skill sets and gaps that exist, plan for improvement and create scheduled employee reviews.

As a watchmaker and clockmaker still making a living working at the bench, I would like the culmination of our efforts to be in the best interest of my fellow watchmakers and clockmakers. I know very well how difficult it is making a living at this profession when you are faced with so many barriers. This may include the difficulty and sometimes near impossibility of obtaining spare parts, the very onerous and challenging aspect of the technical side of our profession, the small profit margins in comparison with the high level of skill involved, among others. There is so much fine art and precision in what we do, yet it is for the most part hidden from the customer’s view. If they could only see what we can really do…

While your volunteer Board members, whom you’ve elected to look out after your interests, are doing their job as they promised, can you, in exchange, perform the repair without leaving any trace of your presence? Give yourself that challenge every time you work on a timepiece and you will have accomplished a major feat. It would also help us know our efforts are well appreciated.

In the meantime, keep your skills honed, your standards very high, your attitude professional, your tools and equipment in great condition and your workshops clean and organized; you never know who may come by to pay you a visit.

Manuel Yazijian

Presenting: Precision Timing of a High Grade Automatic Watch – Featuring Kari Halme, Guest Instructor

February 25th, 2013

AMERICAN WATCHMAKERS-CLOCKMAKERS INSTITUTE

Presents:

Precision Timing of a High Grade Automatic Watch

Featuring Kari Halme, Guest Instructor

May 6th – May 10th, 2013

 

The purpose of this course is to teach the fundamentals and proper procedures of timing a high-grade automatic watch (Rolex caliber 1575). Topics covered will include key terms, COSC tolerances, influences on timing, dynamic poising, timing analysis, balance staff replacement and adjustment of the ETACHRON regulator system. The student will learn about different influences (proper cleaning, part condition, adjustments, etc.) on timing.

The course will also cover the full water-resistance testing procedure of a high-grade watch using the most reliable, modern testing equipment: Roxer Diabolic E, Roxer Natator 125 and Roxer Revelator R1.

Prerequisites:

  • Membership with AWCI
  • CW21 a plus
  • Minimum 3 years full-time experience in watch repair (and/or) having attended the following AWCI Courses:
    • Basic Watch Repair and/or
    • Automatic Watch Repair
  • Ownership of hand tools as per tool list below
  • Reading pages 99-188 of The Theory of Horology is essential prior to attending the course

 

Length of Course: 5 days


More specifically, the student will learn about:

  1. Key nomenclature of escapement and regulator parts
  2. Types of balance wheels and hairsprings
  3. Verification and diagnosis of the Swiss lever escapement
  4. Balance staffing
  5. Adjustment and truing of the balance wheel and the hairspring
  6. Adjustment of the ETACHRON regulator system
  7. Definition of key functions of the Swiss lever escapement
  8. Influences on timing
  9. Epilame application and escapement lubrication
  10. Overview of the official Swiss chronometer certification (COSC) procedure and its tolerances
  11. Static and dynamic poising
  12. Timing analysis and adjustments (Delta, etc.)

 

In addition, the student will:

  1. Learn the latest water-resistance testing procedure
  2. Have a hands-on experience using the Roxer Diabolic E, Roxer Natator 125 and Roxer Revelator R1

 

A Message from the President – Manuel Yazijian, CMW21

February 19th, 2013

February’s Horological Times

As I write this message, the AWCI Board of Directors met at AWCI Headquarters in Harrison, Ohio for our Strategic Action Plan. The Board and staff participated in an interactive session facilitated by Mr. T.D. Hughes, a well-respected business consultant. This meeting was held over four days, from January 31st through February 3rd. You may remember my October, 2012 message, where I stressed the need for proper business planning—I am keeping true to my promise.

Over the course of the last three months, we gathered feedback from the general membership and compiled this to help us with our planning. We also solicited input from the various members of industry, including, but not limited to suppliers, manufacturers, retailers, service centers and all those who are members of the Industry Advisory Board. Many of them attended to help us plan for the growth of our industry. We did our utmost to please everyone, while also knowing we could not be “all things to all people.“

As you may be aware, you were represented at this meeting by the various Board members who you helped elect. Based on their election platform, they were voted in and they were your eyes, ears, and most importantly, your voice at the meeting. Collectively, we also listened to your concerns and your suggestions and used these at this important meeting. However, keep sending in your suggestions and your concerns at any time—it will help us build a stronger you!

As a reminder to all, Board members pay their own way to travel to these meetings and have been doing so for a number of years now to help save on the Institute’s finances. They do this because they are dedicated individuals who care about you and want to give back to the profession. Many of them are just like you, making a living at the bench; therefore, they lose considerable income when they are away from their workplace. Please be sure to thank your representing Board members for taking the time to help make your life a little easier.
 
This Strategic Action meeting was an important one as we recognize our industry—as all industries—is continuing to change. During the meeting we reviewed the state of the repair industry, spare parts, finances, certification, timely communication, education reform, and staffing needs among others.

This will help us stay on track and plan our goals and implement them over the course of the next five years. By keeping up with the changes and trends, we stand less of a chance of becoming stale. Next month, I will give you more of an update on the results of our meeting.

Talking of stale, when was the last time you ordered fresh oil for your watches or clocks? If the oil bottle does not have a production or expiry date, it’s time to toss it. Some manufacturers recommend a fresh bottle every 2 to 4 years—and not 24 years!

I am always looking for dedicated individuals to serve on committees. If you would like to serve, please visit www.awci.com, proceed to the ABOUT US link and on the left hand column, choose COMMITTEE VOLUNTEER FORM. Fill out your information and click SUBMIT. Or, you can complete the form on page 29. If you have questions, you can contact me at the e-mail address below.

In the meantime, keep your skills honed, your standards very high, your attitude professional, your tools and equipment in great condition and your workshops clean and organized; you never know who may come by to pay you a visit.

Manuel Yazijian

myazijianawci

A Message from the President – Manuel Yazijian, CMW21

January 1st, 2013

January’s Horological Times 2013

I trust you’ve had an enjoyable and festive season with your family and loved ones; now let’s start an exciting new year. My preceding two messages concerned proper business planning, methods of enjoying your practice, the state of the industry in general, and to a certain degree, spare parts. It would be quite safe to say that, without access to the required spare parts, practicing after-sales-service is a futile task. It is important to note that some of the world’s most successful watch brands have pathways in place for independent watchmakers to obtain spare parts, pending on training and tooling, among other criteria. More information on this model is available.

This month’s message however, is geared specifically to those who are watchmakers, certified or not, working for companies of various types and sizes.

With the increased production of Swiss mechanical watches since the early 1990s, we find ourselves with an abundance of watches that require service and this will be so for some time to come. Unlike quartz watches, which were easy to repair and quite often easier to simply replace, mechanical movements, mostly automatic winding in nature, require complete service to exacting standards.

Having said this, you may come across workshop managers who are not understanding of these specific requirements. Their message quite often is that of pushing work out as quickly as possible, even if the mechanism is not repaired to the standards you learned while in the educational stage of your career. Some of your manager’s goals may be to lower your standard of workmanship to satisfy lower market prices, to increase productivity, or to simply perform substandard workmanship because that’s the only standard they’ve known.

You are now faced with a dilemma. Do you lower your standards because this employer affords you an employment, perhaps health care insurance and paid holidays, etc.? It’s a tough situation to be in, especially if you have dependents. Don’t feel singled out; there are many who have traveled down this path before you. They also had to make this difficult decision whether to lower their standards to keep their employment. After all, work seems to be plenty and customers can’t really tell what was done inside the watch as long as the case and bracelet are polished and refinished.

What can be the consequences of such a practice? One of the main ones is that your employer, seeing that you have agreed to lower your standards, will be tempted to press you even more to take shortcuts until the product is truly abysmal in quality. In the eyes of your employer, and to a certain extent, the client, you will be seen as  the person to blame for poor quality work and therefore, a higher comeback rate.

What happens now? You have traded your standards, your reputation and self-respect for someone who has little regard for this profession. How long will it be before you look for other employers (or customers) who truly admire and understand the art and science of watch repair? How long before you lose the precious art and skills you have painstakingly acquired?

If you are forced to practice shoddy workmanship for whatever reason, feel free to document these events and contact the Ethics Committee at the following email address: moc.icwanull@mmocscihte. You may also contact me directly. This practice will be documented and investigated by the Ethics Committee and your matter will be dealt with in the utmost of confidence.

I end this month’s message with the cartoon below which our Vice President, Wesley Grau, shared with me. This was given to him by one of his former watchmaking instructors. I find it summarizes the state of the watch repair industry. Notice the publication date—1956. Not much has changed since then.

cartoon

Feel free to contact me by e-mail to see how AWCI can be of assistance to you: moc.liamgnull@naijizaym

As always, keep your skills honed, your standards very high, your attitude professional, your tools and equipment in great condition and your workshops clean and organized; you never know who may come by to pay you a visit.

 Manuel Yazijian, CMW21

myazijianawci

AWCI’s Clock Tower

December 19th, 2012

 

AWCI Clock Tower

AWCI’s “Henry B. Fried Clock Tower” was photographed just before dawn recently to light up the 1924 E. Howard clock movement (at the bottom) and the clock at the top. The tower was designed and the works restored by Joseph Cerullo and his committee when our building was constructed in 1995. As it was dark when this was photographed, we added back in the kind of scenery we see every day around our headquarters in Harrison, Ohio which is in the Tri-State…the part of the Ohio Valley where Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana all come together. In fact, Harrison is divided by the state line between Ohio and Indiana. As we drive around this area we see rolling hills and farmland dotted by some industry. The focal point is the Ohio River and Cincinnati, known as the “Queen City.” If you’re ever in the area, stop by and visit us and take time to see our museum and library.

(Thanks to Daniela Ott for the photo and Sandy Eichert for putting this photo together.)

A Message from the President: Manuel Yazijian, 12/2012

December 1st, 2012

December’s Horological Times 2012 

MANUELPlease note: The situations outlined in the following message also apply to many of our clock repair members.

Continuing on my last month’s message to both repair professionals and manufacturers…

We have established that the very nature of watch repair is indeed quite complex, if one is to emulate factory conditions; and this is the only way a moisture-proof mechanical timepiece will function well for an average of five years before the lubricants begin losing their viscosity. Anything less than factory assembly standards will lead to a questionable performance.

Unlike a car engine where the oil can simply be drained out and fresh oil filled, a mechanical timepiece has to be completely and carefully disassembled, surgically cleaned, errors corrected, worn parts replaced and surfaces treated where needed. Additionally, up to eight or more different types of lubricants may need to be used in strategic amounts and locations, and finally, the watch needs to be timed and adjusted in order to achieve best performance.  This can be summarized in the table below

 

What Manufacturers’ Initial Assembly Deals With:

 

What After Sales Service Deals With:

Start off with lubricant-free movement parts

Dried lubricants found in movement

Clean parts

Possible dirt and dust in watch

No wear and tear (new parts)

Normal wear and tear

No damage from previous repairers

Possible damage from previous repairers

Proper approach with quality workmanship –

 QC checks at various points

Questionable quality of workmanship

 

Consistency in workmanship

Questionable consistency in work

Properly trained staff

Questionable staff training

Proper final quality control

Questionable final quality control

Table copyright of Manuel Yazijian

The above table covers just the movement section. There are still the dial, hands, casing componentry  (e.g. crown, pushers, gaskets, crystal, bracelet and more). If there is a failure in any of the afore-mentioned tasks or components, the timepiece will function erratically, come to a complete stop, have moisture ingression or have bracelet parts failure, among others. Ultimately, the watch will come back with an unhappy customer.

This message serves several purposes.

  1.  To demonstrate to manufacturers that our AWCI-trained and certified members, CW21 or CMW21 understand the importance of the above and adhere to preserving these practices at all times. By making spare parts, technical documentation and training available to watchmakers who have proven themselves competent through our certification program (CW21), it can take the burden out of your hands and put it in the hands of the independent practitioners who are located country wide—from the smallest town, to the largest city all across America. They will properly service your brand at the mere cost of spare parts from your end. You can then continue to focus on the mostly push-production strategy of watch manufacturing, your specialty. The centralizing of repair centers has its own set of challenges and may not meet a 100% of the after-sales service requirements for your products.
  2. To remind our practitioner members to adhere to our Standards & Practices at all times while performing repairs and not to give in to the constant pressures of taking short cuts to satisfy self-interested parties or to meet unrealistic repair goals. (Please refer to our Standards & Practices on www.awci.com under About Us/Governing Documents/S & P’s.)
  3.  To inform retailers of the complexity of timepiece repair and, therefore, to understand that emphasis must be placed on the above-mentioned points in order to maintain properly functioning watches, and most importantly, a happy clientele.  

After realizing the truly complex nature of repairs, many watch and jewelry retailers come to understand that watch repairs are not necessarily profit centers, but profit generators. Properly functioning watches help create goodwill between you and your client with the ultimate aim and purpose of establishing a loyal client-base who will have warm and fuzzy feelings about your business.  This, in turn, helps increase the sales of your high-end merchandise, such as diamond jewelry, watches etc. This is where your true profits are—this is why you pay premium overhead for your retail location.

The opposite can be quite disastrous to your sales. Clients bringing that same watch back for the 3rd time or more because it was never repaired properly in the first place will have sour feelings about your establishment. They will go to the competition; you will lose those clients forever. The competent watchmaker is your friend and your partner, let him or her make a comfortable living and they will help you be even more successful, especially in a difficult economy. If you don’t, the good ones will eventually leave the profession for other more profitable fields. Those reaching retirement age will eventually cease performing repairs for you, and you will be left with… who?

Please feel free to contact me at the e-mail address below to see how AWCI can be of assistance to you.

Manuel Yazijian

 myazijianawci

As always, keep your skills honed, your standards very high, your attitude professional, your tools and equipment in great condition and your workshops clean and organized; you never know who may come by to pay you a visit.

RICHEMONT IS HIRING ACROSS THE US

November 21st, 2012

Richemont has job opening for CW21’s and CMW21’s in major metropolitan areas. Please see our Career Center for complete details.

Congratulations to These Members Who Have Recently Achieved CW21 Certification!

November 21st, 2012

Michael Chiu                         Houston, TX

Vanessa Contreras              Scottsdale, AZ

Ross Cunningham                Moline, IL

John Dorety                        Oakdale, CT

Ritchie Greening                  Seattle, WA

Eric Hisey                           Tacoma, WA

Steve Hurst                        Raleigh, NC

Keith Lantz                         Stanfield, NC

Stewart Lord                       Evans, GA

Tam Luu                             Walnut Creek, CA

Brenden McDougal               Beltsville, MD

Jonathan Truxillo                 Baton Rouge, LA

Jason Woods                       Lititz, PA

Link to Video: Ficklin Article on Atomic Wristwatch

November 2nd, 2012

The October issue of Horological Times features a fascinating article on the Atomic Wristwatch by Jordan Ficklin, CW21. It begins on page 15 and at the end we refer you to a video on the subject which can be seen at the link below. Other “must-read” articles in this issue include the restoration of an historic pocket watch buried underwater by Hurricane Katrina, plus another article by Jordan Ficklin on Stephen Forsey of Greubel Forsey.

http://youtu.be/kw-QuZ2swOk

A message from the President, Manuel Yazijian 11/2012

November 1st, 2012

November’s Horological Times 2012   

As you read this column, in some parts of the country, snow has already hit the ground and you are safely within the confines of your comfortable workshops working away doing what you enjoy most. In other parts of the world, it may still be warm with near summer-like conditions. Regardless of climate, our work is always indoors; this element of our work has some pros and cons.

The short message is clear: Try to harmonize the outside elements along with the inside elements in order to have a most enjoyable workday.

Since many of our members are engaged in after sales service, also known as “repair,” we must first recognize that a good quality timepiece, with very few exceptions, worked well when it left the factory. It was designed and put together in such a way that if used under normal conditions, it would require a service and maintenance within the next prescribed amount of time, e.g. 3, 4, 5 or 7 years.

Thus, to make it functional again to factory standards, it would be safe to say factory conditions must be emulated. To undo almost all the steps the factory took to assemble the watch is indeed a rather complex and tedious task. Is a watch supposed to function well for the next five years if you keep that worn part in? Why? Did it come with a worn part from the factory? The answer, of course, is no. That part must be changed. Fresh oils must be applied to surgically-cleaned components and adjustments must be made to bring it back to specs.

As a Message to Our Readers Who Are Manufacturers of Watches and Clocks:

 It would be of interest to you to know that many of our members are qualified and certified to industry standards. They are mostly independent business owners who are capable of handling the majority of complex tasks required to protect the investment you have made in your product. These independents have invested a good amount of resources into:

  • Real estate
  • Specialty tools and equipment
  • Training and certification

The product which you have made and marketed, will continue to function well into the future only if properly serviced, according to factory standards, by people who are truly passionate about this art and who care about the product, as well as the role they play as good ambassadors toward your customers – the wearer of your watch, or the owner of your clock.

One of the dangers of a company working with only one representative can easily lead to the lack competitiveness. The absence of competition can usually result in a deterioration of the quality of workmanship, not to mention long delays by one representative who is trying to “eat it all.” The client should have his/her watch back on their wrist as soon as possible while always adhering to factory standards. Long delays can contribute to a loss of interest in the concept of the wristwatch or the switching over onto another brand.

We at AWCI are here to help protect your investment in the good name of your product. In exchange, we would like to have the correct parts to help perform the work correctly.  After all, which is easier, sending the part to the professional watchmaker who can take care of the problem at or near the client’s location, or having the watch sent back to you? Using a professional local watchmaker is also advantageous to you because it represents a minimal investment on your part.

Please feel free to contact me at the e-mail address below to see how AWCI can be of assistance to you.

Manuel Yazijian 

myazijianawci