Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Industry News, July 2016

Tuesday, July 5th, 2016

Rare Antique Chinese Clock

Sells for $1.27 Million

                                    By Donna Hardy

Chinese-clock

A rare antique Chinese animated triple fusee bracket clock surpassed its pre-sale estimate of $500,000-$750,000 to sell for $1.27 million at Fontaines Auction Gallerys cataloged antique and clock auction, May 21 in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
     The clock, which was running and striking, with all animated mechanisms working, was both beautiful and functional. Standing 36 1/2″ tall, the large gilt bronze case had extravagant filigree mounts throughout, with mythical heads above the corners, seashell handles, and jeweled floral mounts. A 6 1/2″ porcelain dial featured black Roman hour numbers, fancy pierced brass hands, and sweep seconds.
     The animation made the clock irresistible. On the hour, the clock activated an animated mechanism of swimming ducks. Spinning glass rods simulated a waterfall in the open frieze panel, and a cylindrical cluster of spinning glass rods formed a fountain in the top of the case. A large spinning pinwheel was surrounded by 10 smaller pinwheels, and a jeweled teardrop finial rotated clockwise at the top.
     The winning bidder was a buyer in the room who had traveled some distance to the sale, but asked not to be identified.  
     A French animated locomotive industrial clock with an excellent bronze case in the form of a steam locomotive on a black marble base with wheels that were animated by an independent spring-driven movement, plus a thermometer and barometer, sold for $30,250. Also, a French industrial animated clock known as “The Bollard,” with a fancy brass case in the form of a nautical bollard post wrapped with rope, also with a thermometer and barometer and a spring-driven mechanism, sold for $15,730.
     The prices quoted include a 21% buyers premium.

____________________________________________________

Donna Hardy is managing editor of Horological Times.
 

A Message from Our AWCI President, Fred T. White, CMW21, July 2016

Tuesday, July 5th, 2016

Fred T. White, CMW21, AWCI President

In November 2015 Drew Zimmerman and I made a trip to Columbia, Pennsylvania, to sit in on the board meeting of NAWCC with the goal of exploring how our two bodies (NAWCC and AWCI) could cooperate because of our shared interests. We were well received, and the idea for cooperation was most welcomed. This thought process started with my visit to Austin, Texas, where I was guest speaker at Capital Area Watchmaker and Clockmaker Guild. After my talk, Jay Holloway approached me with the concept of the two organizations working together in areas where they can complement each other’s strengths. This sounded good to me because of the potential for each group to gain membership and education from each other. Out of this concept, a task force was organized to see where we could cooperate. One area that was discovered was education—AWCI from the technical aspect of horology, and NAWCC from the collector’s and historical point of view. We also realized we could work together on some convention programs and training seminars. We are continuing to explore where we may be able to work together.
     This year’s NAWCC convention will be held in Louisville, Kentucky, July 20-23. Michael Gainey, CC21, will be teaching a class on Advanced Clock Repair—Standards-Based Repair Practices. This class will be the first of our joint ventures. Michael is a very accomplished clockmaker in Columbus, Ohio. He has taught classes on clockmaking at AWCI headquarters and many other locations. His class will consist of setting up a clock in a proper order so the strike and all the lifts will work properly when the clock is assembled. He will discuss re-pivoting techniques and show how to put a hook in mainspring barrels. It takes some very special skills and lots of practice to do this correctly. He will also show how to do things on the Sherline lathe, which many clockmakers own and use every day. Michael will demonstrate some useful adapters and tools that he has made for the lathe. This class sold out six weeks before the class will be presented. I think that is terrific!
     I have found Michael to be very organized in working on the clock section of the Education Committee. To quote from his website, “Mike’s unbeatable combination of an honest and friendly personality, extensive full-time professional training, 36 years of experience, and his certified clockmaker status to name just a few” are what make him a successful businessman and clockmaker. He will be teaching at both NAWCC and AWCI conventions this year.
     We are working very hard to get the Education Committee back to its former glory. Several people are putting a lot of effort into making it work for both clockmakers and watchmakers. We want AWCI to include the entire horological community, so there will be something in it for all.
     Years ago my watchmaking teacher and mentor said to me, “You get out of a thing in proportion to the amount you are willing to give.” My challenge to you is to not sit on the sidelines and do nothing. Get into the game. Do your best, even if it is a small thing you are willing to do. Get in there and give some of your time. I would love to have 100 volunteers saying, “I can do this small job. I may not be able to give hours of my time, but I can give one hour every month.”

 

We want AWCI to include the entire horological community, so there will be something in it for all.

 

 

 

 

A Message from Our AWCI President, Fred T. White, CMW21, June 2016

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

Fred T. White, CMW21, AWCI President

As I am traveling down Route 29 through Virginia admiring the scenery of rolling hills and farm land, my mind goes back to how many times I made this drive with Marvin Whitney, Skee Jensen, and many other watchmakers and clockmakers. We were on our way to a board meeting, convention, or seminar. I have such good memories of the Horological Association of Virginia. This time I am on my way to the HAV convention, which is always a good get-together of watchmakers and clockmakers. There is always a large turnout for fellowship, and this year was no different. Sixty-five members attended, which is very good for a state convention. Wayne Simpson and Rodney Graves were co-chairs, and they ran a very smooth convention. Two classes were held on Saturday. August Cornell, of Syracuse, New York, taught a class on how to use gold solder to repair clock parts and to leave them with very little evidence of a repair. Twenty-four people attended this class. Frank Poye, an instructor from Paris Community College, taught a class of 15 watchmakers on dynamic poising. He showed his technique on timing a watch, including hairspring manipulation. Arthur Candenquist gave a very informative lecture on Sunday morning about how disjointed time was during the Civil War. David and Cathy Hodson were the guests of honor. They flew in from Atlanta, Georgia, to attend the banquet and to hear the lecture on Civil War timekeeping.   
     Jerry Faier and Wes Grau went to the Wisconsin Horological Society’s annual convention, where approximately 15 people gathered. Jerry taught a class on escapements, which was very well attended. Wes and Jerry participated in a round-table discussion on horological issues. From what I understand, their visit was welcomed. If you are an AWCI affiliate chapter and would like a speaker or teacher to come to your meeting or convention, contact us. We want to know what you need. Any time people with like interests get together, good always comes of it.  
     You have heard me say and write, “It’s What You Learn After You Know It All That Counts.” I would like to explain a little about what I mean by that statement. If you sit at the bench day in and day out, and you do the job the same way all the time, you may be doing it right. But what if there is a better way that you don’t know about because you don’t attend classes or conventions where other instruction is available? And so you continue in the same rut. Sometimes at conventions you pick up a valuable idea from another horologist over a meal or having drink. At conventions and classes, you have the opportunity to network and to get to know a person much better. We all need help from time to time, and it’s through networking that we develop those friendships that can help us down the road. We are not islands alone in this world; we all need each other to survive these times when parts are getting harder to come by. By improving your skill level and getting certified, you can get that higher price for your labors. When you graduate from a school, you only have the basic skills—you do not have that thing called experience. The only way you gain that is by doing the time and working with a mentor. The best advice I can give to a beginner is to align yourself with an experienced horologist.

 

Any time people with like interests get together, good always comes of it.

 

 

 

 

Industry News, June 2016

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

A Year Later…

Smartwatches Now Outsell Swiss Watches

By Aaron Recksiek, CW21

Last June, we covered all the relevant and emerging smartwatches for 2015. It was a big year for smartwatches and was seen as the tipping point for market integration of the wearable technology. In February, the research firm Strategy Analytics reported that smartwatch sales in the fourth quarter of 2015 topped 8.1 million units. Swiss watch sales in that same period only reached 7.9 million units. This marked the first time in history that smartwatches outsold Swiss watches. Apple is given the most credit for this milestone, since they sold 12 million Apple Watches alone in 2015 and currently occupy 63% of the smartwatch market.
     Many observers might see this as consumers replacing their luxury watches with a smartwatch. However, when you look at the numbers, Swiss watch sales only declined by an annual rate of 5% over the fourth quarter, while smartwatch sales rose 316% over the same period. So while there are some consumers opting for a smartwatch purchase instead of a luxury Swiss watch, the disparity of the numbers translates to a whole new market being opened up to watch companies. Look at it this way, a year ago someone who may have never worn a watch before, like most millennials, is now starting to wear a timekeeping device on valuable real estate—their wrist. Sure, it may do more than just tell the time, but it is introducing a whole new customer base to strapping something onto their wrists every morning, and being comfortable with that.
     The future is bright for smartwatches as projections for sales are predicted to more than double over the next two years. So far, the previous forecasts have been fairly accurate, so get used to watching more and more people poke at their small watch displays with their fingertips as their smartphones remain comfortably in their pocket.  

Sources
www.wareable.com
www.forbes.com

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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.

 

A Message from Our AWCI President – Fred T. White, CMW21, May 2016

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016

Fred T. White, CMW21, AWCI President

Jordan and I visited four REC schools in April, and I want you to know that watchmaking and the allied crafts that are being taught are alive and well in the US, at least at the schools we visited. What a tiring—but exciting, uplifting, and inspiring—time these four days were! We started at Gem City College in Quincy, Illinois, where we met with Russell H. Hagenah, president; Ryan R. Hagenah, director of finance; and instructor, Jim Hush. We were told that we were the first to visit their school in many years. We assured them that we were there to assist and to help build up their program in any way we could.  After a good discussion, we offered them some things that we could do right away, such as help promote their school at the Maker Faire Austin in Texas, if they would provide us with brochures. We could also help them by lending them movements if they send their instructor to a REC training (date to be determined). We were made to feel most welcome and came away with a good feeling after our visit, and we look forward to working with them.
    After our Gem City visit, we got back in the car for a two-hour-plus drive to St. Louis for a plane ride of another two hours or so to Dallas, Texas. Then, we had another two-hour ride to Paris, Texas. After a night of rest, we met with Frank Pope of Paris Junior College. We toured the classrooms and shops, which were well equipped with plenty of space to work and grow. We gave PowerPoint presentations to roughly 50 students. Jordan gave a good presentation on what AWCI has to offer to the watchmaker and clockmaker, and what we can do for the student and the school. My PowerPoint presentation was from the perspective of the independent watchmaker, and I talked about what exciting jobs you may encounter as you go about doing your daily business. I also gave them some tips on selling the job, for this is important as an independent watchmaker, clockmaker, or jeweler. There was a lively question-and-answer period. Then we met with Frank Poye and discussed the school’s needs and how we may help meet them. One thing we could do if he would attend the REC training was to loan them movements for training purposes. We also let him know that students could receive one-year free membership to AWCI. We were told that Jordan was the first executive director to visit their school, and I was the second president. The other one was Fred S. Burckhardt. Everyone was very friendly, and we were made to feel most welcome.
    Then we were back in the car for another two-hour drive to Dallas, Texas, to visit with North American Institute of Swiss Watchmaking (NAIOSW) where John Sokol welcomed us and invited us into his office. After a short visit, he called in Stan McMahan, Russ Peddy, Michal Blaszczyk, and Houston Clarke. Also visiting was Terry Irby of Tourneau. After exchanging ideas about the watch industry and getting a report on their operation, we were invited to tour their facility, which has the most modern equipment. We met with the students and gave them information about AWCI and watchmaking in the real world. NAIOSW committed to supplying us with two instructors for our convention, Stan McMahan and Russ Peddy, and are going to send their students to the convention. We were treated royally by them, topped off with a great meal at a Texas steak house. There was good socialization and, for me, time to reminisce with Stan about people we have known in this business. Then we went back to the hotel; we had to get up at 4:15 a.m. to catch a plane to Pensacola, Florida.
    After landing in Pensacola, we were in the car for a one-hour-plus ride to Mobile, Alabama, to visit Bishop State Community College. Along the way we found we had the time to go on the Battleship USS Alabama, which was a much-decorated battleship before it was retired. After a nice lunch, it was on to our appointment with Stephen Lange at Bishop State Community College where we met with the president, the vice president, dean, and the director of recruiting. We were made to feel most welcome. After some discussion, they were seeking ideas on how to improve their enrollment. Jordan and I shared our thoughts, which, I hope, will be helpful. We met with both the watchmaking and jewelry students and discussed what AWCI could do for them, and shared some of our work experiences. We also offered them the same program, free membership for first-year students, and invited them to attend our convention.
    I strongly feel we need to visit the schools, and the affiliate chapters, putting the name of AWCI and what we have to offer in front of students and members. There is so much that they don’t understand, because we, for whatever reason, have not reached out to the horological community. Let’s correct that in the future. My hope is that what we did will better the community. We look forward to seeing those students and instructors at the convention this year.

 

My hope is that
what we did
will better
the community.

 

 

 

 

Industry News, May 2016

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016

The New Ronda Automatic R150Ronda-150-Movement-3D-Front

By Aaron Recksiek, CW21

 

Hidden within all the hype and fanfare of Baselworld 2016 was a little nugget of news that has the potential to change the industry in more ways than any other release or announcement.

RONDA AG, of Lausen, Switzerland, released details of their first in-house, Swiss-made mechanical movement in nearly 30 years. Ronda produced their first mechanical caliber in 1961, but didn’t stick to it very long. In the 1970s Ronda started dedicating resources to the new quartz technology that was sweeping the industry. They eventually discontinued all mechanical movement manufacturing in the late 1980s. This new movement has been in development for the last four years.
    The Ronda caliber R150 was designed to be a replacement to the size and dimensions of the ETA 2824-2, 11.5 ligne (25.6mm diameter) and 4.4mm thick. It is a high-beat, 28,800-vph, three-hand with date, ball-bearing automatic. The movement contains 25 jewels, Incabloc anti-shock settings, Swiss lever escapement, and a micro-regulator adjustment system. It is capable of a 40-hour power reserve, bi-directional automatic and hand winding, and hacking seconds. However, the performance leaves a little to be desired. The average rate can vary by ±12 seconds/day, and the maximum variance in all positions (delta) is 30 seconds/day. With an estimated final price of about 66 CHF or $68.30, the movement performs and prices out to be very comparable to the Japanese-made Miyota 9015 automatic. The Miyota 9015 has been a well-performing mechanical movement for many years. However, it still poses a problem for any brand chasing that elusive “Swiss made” label—a label that requires over 50% of the watch parts (by value) to be manufactured in Switzerland with final assembly and inspection also done in Switzerland. This “Swissness” requirement is set to increase to 60% on January 1, 2017.
    The new Ronda R150 is part of a new line of movements named Mecano. This new line of movements is planned to expand beyond basic automatics and become an entire family of mechanical calibers that are so desperately needed by the Swiss watch industry. There has been no word on which types of calibers are the next closest to being announced, but we can be assured that at each Baselworld from now until then, microbrands will be expecting something more out of Ronda.
    Some of the best news about this announcement is Ronda’s projected production goal: 100,000 units per year. Early delivery is set to begin in 2017. It is speculated that most, if not all, of the initial production is already spoken for. Ronda hopes to be at their production goal before December 31, 2019, when ETA has announced they will not be supplying movements or movement parts outside of the Swatch Group umbrella.
    Ronda 150 movement: bridge sieThere has been a slew of new “Swiss made” movements being developed in recent years to help replace the void that will soon be left by the ETA SA movement manufacture. This was the original vision of Nicolas G. Hayek, to eventually wean the highly dependent watch industry off the movements and components produced by the Swatch Group. Some see it as trying to force other brands out of business, but let’s remember it was Nicolas G. Hayek who was brought in to help save the spiraling Swiss watch industry in the 1980s. When you first look at the surface of the problems that might come from a stoppage in distribution, things may seem a little scary, but there is always fear of the unknown. There has not been this amount of independent research and development dedicated to providing the industry with different options since the 1970s. This continued competition for market share will only increase the quality and keep prices reasonable, which helps the small, independent watch brands.

Sources:
www.ronda.ch
www.wornandwound.com

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, April 2016

Saturday, April 2nd, 2016

Eterna Movement SA and AWCI Collaborate to Educate WatchmakersEternaMovement2016_Eterna-Movement-Baselworld_en2

The American Watchmakers-Clockmakers Institute is pleased to be a part of a collaboration with Eterna Movement SA to help develop young watchmaking talent. Eterna Movement SA is partnering with several watchmaking schools in Switzerland and with AWCI in the United States. AWCI will be the only training center for Eterna Movement SA within the United States. In the coming months Tom Schomaker, CMW21, will receive training from Eterna Movement SA in Grenchen, Switzerland, and will receive a selection of sample movements to be used in training in our classroom in Harrison, Ohio.
    The mission of AWCI is setting serv
ice standards and educating the horological community. This collaboration allows us to expand our training opportunities in an exciting way. After Mr. Schomaker receives training, we will add new classes to our schedule. These classes will be available to members of the American Watchmakers-Clockmakers Institute and to representatives of American-based brands using Eterna movements in their products.
    Eterna Movement SA is a supporter of the rebirth of the American watch industry. They showcased their products at the 2015 AWCI American Showcase in Kans
as City and are working in collaboration with Niall Luxury and other American brands. Their Caliber 39 is a highly versatile movement that can be configured through the addition of modules to form more than 88 different standard combinations.

About Eterna Movement SA
Emerging in 2012 from Eterna SA, Eterna Movement SA is an independent movement manufacturer that crafts high-quality mechanical calibers in Grenchen, in the Swiss Canton of Solothurn. The Eterna manufacturers have been in business for 160 years and have produced some impressive developments. When the brand revolutionized automatic movements in 1948 with the invention of the ball-bearing mounted rotor system, it set a standard that still applies today. But the latest innovations from the company also demonstrate its consistent pursuit of continuous enhancement as well as its desire to master the challenges of the watchmaker’s craft. For example, the Spherodrive ball-bearing mounted barrel system established unprecedented standards for quality and longevity in mechanical movements.

2016_Eterna-Movement-Baselworld_en
Sources:
www.awci.com/eterna
www.eterna-movement.com
      

A Message from Our AWCI President, Fred T. White, CMW21, April 2016

Saturday, April 2nd, 2016

Fred T. White, CMW21, AWCI PresidentWe  have just finished our midyear board meeting, and I want you, the members, to know that the Board of Directors is a hard working group. Not only are they hard working, but they are trying to do what is best for AWCI. We had two very busy days, sometimes working through lunch, reviewing a report, hammering out a motion, or debating an issue. It is hard to put into words all the hard work these volunteers do, giving of their own money and time away from their benches to make AWCI work for you. It’s not only the Board of Directors who are putting in many hours, but many committees are doing good work too. One example is the Horological Times Committee. They review every article that is published in HT. They review technical articles for accuracy of the technical information, and they review the articles that keep us abreast of the latest and greatest new thing on the horizon. First, the writer submits the article to the managing editor, and then it goes before the HT Committee, who discusses and decides if it is accurate and worthy to be published. The article then comes back to our editorial staff, who edits, fact-checks, does graphic work, and lays out the magazine. Then off to the presses. I recently visited the NAWCC Board of Directors, and they were very impressed with the quality of our product. I have shown it to people outside of our trade, and they ask, “You do this every month?” and the answer is yes, always. So, you see we have every reason to be proud of what we do. However, we do need more writers to join our ranks.
    Education and certification is our main objective. We have a state-of-the art classroom, which is home base to one of the most talented teachers I have ever known, Tom Schomaker, CMW21. We are keeping an average of eight students in every class, which is small enough to give students one-on-one time with the instructor. If you are truly interested in an excellent education or you want to hone your skills as a craftsperson, then AWCI is where you want to be. Whether you take classes for certification or you want to give your best to your clients, AWCI’s classes can help you. I have never sat in one of Tom’s classes without coming away with an idea or point of view that helps me at the bench. IT IS WHAT YOU LEARN AFTER YOU KNOW IT ALL THAT COUNTS.
    One of the most common types of certification in modern society is professional certification, where a person is certified as being able to complete a job or task, usually by passing an examination and/or the completion of a program of study. The certification team held their annual review of the certification process. It was three very busy days of meetings covering all aspects of the certification process, involving some 14 people who are part of the certification team, either as administrators, assessors, or preparing the watches. To make it easier to take the exam, we have broken it into modules. For instance, you can take the 7750 component of the exam or the quartz component only, or any other part you wish. Or you can take the entire exam at one time. Certification should be something we all strive for—just as CPAs sit for their board to show they are the best at keeping us straight as to accounting and tax laws. Certification is a banner we can wear that says we are among the very best horologists in the world. Are you wearing that banner?

 

 

 

 

 

A Message from Our AWCI President – Fred T. White, CMW21, March 2016

Thursday, March 3rd, 2016

Fred T. White, CMW21, AWCI PresidentAs Uncle Sam says, “We’re looking for a few good men and women.” AWCI needs your help. We are asking that you volunteer to give a small amount of your time to serve on a committee or any other task that may be asked of you.
   AWCI is primarily run by volunteers. However, when you look around you see that only a small number of members are giving of their time. Have you heard of the Pareto Principle, also known as the 80/20 rule? Here’s an example: 80% of all sales are made by 20% of the sales force. You might see another example in action at your church or your civic club—80% of the work is done by 20% of the volunteers. And so it appears to be true for AWCI. Our membership is at 1,500+, so by applying this 80/20 rule we should have around 300 people volunteering. Unfortunately, we are not close to that number.
    Only YOU can help to change this situation. We need you to step up and take part in a committee or to help do other jobs for our organization. Volunteers are not paid, but not because they are worthless . . . but because they are priceless. I can assure that if you answer this call, you will receive much more than you give. Gandhi said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Are you willing to lose yourself for the betterment of our profession, to give a little time and see what reward you will receive?
    As a young man, I came out of the mountains of West
Virginia having grown up in poverty. I was presented with the opportunity to learn watchmaking. One thing I always remember that Theodore White (cousin and master watchmaker) drilled into me was that you get in proportion to what you give. That started me on a path of sharing with others. Over the years I have developed friendships with watchmakers and clockmakers, some dead and some living, who have been willing to share and who have kindred minds. I am referring to networking. It is important to watchmakers and clockmakers of the future—and of the present—because it will help us to survive. So, by volunteering you can start to develop those friendships.
    Volunteering is giving of your time, your energy, and yourself with no thought of what you will receive in return. “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give,” to quote Winston Churchill. My challenge to you is to give of yourself. Don’t be a part of the 80% who says let someone else do it; I don’t have the time; or my ax is dull (that is as good of an excuse as any). Be a part of the 20% who says I have a solution to that problem; I can do that; let’s try this—it might work.
    In closing, let me quote Helen Keller: “I am only one, but I am still one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.”  
    I hope you will take the time to fill out the volunteer form you’ll find on page 21 in this copy of Horological Times.

MsgPresident-March2016 

 

 

 

 

Industry News, March 2016

Thursday, March 3rd, 2016

First 3D Printed CAD-Cut-AwayMechanical Tourbillon Watch

By Aaron Recksiek, CW21

For those of us watchmakers and clockmakers who have been salivating at the idea of being able to 3D print our own obsolete replacement parts, the 3D printing and horological worlds took a huge leap forward towards that ideal with the unveiling of Christoph Laimer’s Tourbillon watch. It’s a fully functional, complete tourbillon watch with all the components (except for some steel screws, pins, and washers) made of 3D-printed plastics: polylactic acid (PLA) or polyethylene terephthalate (PETG). That’s right, the hairspring, escapement, and mainspring are all made of common 3D-printed materials and a Ultimaker 2 printer that can be obtained for around $2,500.
    Employing an incredibly unique design, the watch layout is mostly vertical, which makes it almost as thick as it is wide—98mm in diameter by 93mm thick. Instead of wheels and pinions attached to arbors with pivots rotating within jewels or bushings, the pinions and wheels rotate independently on steel pins that are fixed to the framework of the movement. This overcomes a common problem that has manifested itself and become troublesome in the past: How do you provide enough power to the escapement and balance while dealing with a material like plastic with a relatively low strength level? If you use the traditional method, the wheels and pinions need to be larger for added strength, making them heavier. This requires more power from the mainspring, and it becomes too powerful for the plastic to be a viable material. This also solves a spacing issue by allowing several wheels to be co-axial (sharing the same axis). For example, the escape wheel, balance, and another movement wheel share the same steel pin axis. The time is displayed around the outside of the dial with a triangle indicating the minutes and a circle indicating the hours.
    Christoph Laimer is not a watchmaker (well, not in the traditional sense of the word, although some might argue for that title now). He is a Swiss engineer with a background in electrical engineering and computer science. The Tourbillon watch is his second horological passion project since taking some time away from his regular profession. In 2014, Laimer produced a wall clock also with a recoil anchor escapement, hairspring, and balance wheel. Instead of being hand wound with a mainspring, it is driven by a 1.2kg weight.
    According to most standards the horological community is used to, the Laimer Tourbillon is by no means a precision instrument. I don’t need to tell you that by having a plastic hairspring the timekeeping will be marginal at best. The plastic mainspring will leave you with around 30 minutes of inconsistent power reserve. However, this watch still represents a significant feat in the ability to take an emerging modern technology and combine it with 200+-year-old traditions. With the technological improvements to 3D printers capable of printing in steel, brass, and other metals, 3D-printed parts that are traditionally recognized in the clock and watch industries seem to be just around the corner. The continued experimentation and refinement of this technology and processes would not be possible without pioneers like Laimer.    
     All of Laimer’s projects are open source, and the plans are free and available to download to produce a Tourbillon at home with your own 3D printer. They can be viewed on www.thingiverse.com/thing:1249221. If you don’t have your own 3D printer but would love one of his Tourbillon watches, he is currently taking customized pre-orders on his website www.laimer.ch/. The price is available only upon request.

Disassembled_Parts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


3D-printed_tourbillon CAD-RenderingFinishedProduct

 

 

 

 

 

Sources
www.hodinkee.com/articles/a-major-step-forward-in-horological-additive-manufacturing-christoph-laimers-3d-printed-tourbillon
www.laimer.ch/

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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.