Archive for the ‘News’ Category
Thursday, November 3rd, 2016
The New Witschi WisioScope S
By Aaron Recksiek, CW21
The WisioScope S represents a brand-new standard of precision watch timing in the watch industry’s after-sales service sector. The machine was announced in June at the Environnement Professionnel Horlogerie-Joaillerie (EPHJ), a show designed for brands to exhibit new tools and technologies in the watch industry.
At first glance, the machine resembles the Witschi S1 in size and appearance. The main noticeable differences are the full-color, 800 x 480-pixels display and the extra optical attachment mounted on top of the acoustic microphone. The camera mounted on top of the microphone is capable of visually recording the rate and amplitude independently, or in synchronicity, of the acoustic sound of the escapement. A non-harmful Class 1 laser is used to track the movement of the balance wheel, much like a modern hairspring vibrating tool.
The “real lift angle” of any watch can also be automatically calculated by comparing the optical readings with the acoustic sounds. The real lift angle of any watch might be slightly different than the manufacturer-specified theoretical angle, depending on the adjustments done to the escapement. This machine also allows the rate and amplitude of watches with special escapements to be recorded because the laser tracks the motion of the balance wheel. This is critical in modern industry because of advancements in silicon technology and other new, unconventional escapements being developed every year. The
machine is capable of recording the rates of a watch even in an extremely noisy environment, which is not possible with an acoustic-only machine. The interface is also capable of simultaneously showing the optical readings in comparison to the acoustic readings to help determine if there are any errors in the escapement.
The software for the new machine was developed in collaboration with the Centre Suisse d’Electronique et de Microtechnique (CSEM) in Neuchâtel, and funded in part by the Swiss Commission for Innovation and Technology (CTI). Witschi and CSEM jointly presented the new technology at the Congrès international de chronométrie 2016 (2016 International Chronometry Conference) in Montreux, Switzerland. Now that the innovations on this front have been made, it’s likely that we will soon see a new requirement of higher-precision machines in the modern watch-repair facility.
The WisioScope S will be available for purchase in the first quarter of 2017 and will be priced at 9,450 Swiss francs (approximately $9,651).
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.
Thursday, November 3rd, 2016
“We can complain because the rose bush has thorns or rejoice because the thorn bush has roses.”
This month I would like to talk about attitude. We all have it: sometimes it is good, sometimes bad. A positive attitude will take you places that are far beyond your dreams. Believe me, I am an example of such success. I usually try to avoid talking about myself, but it’s hard not to in this message—so here goes. My wife, Shirley, asked me as we were sitting in a beautiful restaurant in New York, “Did you ever dream when you were growing up in poverty in West Virginia that your life would take you where it has?” My answer: “Not in my fondest dream could I have scripted it any better.” I owe it to my positive attitude and some beautiful people that believed in me along the way, including our landlord, who instilled in me that I was going to go places, and a couple of teachers. My grade school teacher, Clarence Lusk, and my high school principal, Harold Bailey, encouraged me to get an education and keep going even when the going got tough. They said that things are not always going to be easy; if they were, everyone would be doing it. My years as a commissioned salesman taught me if it’s to be, it’s up to me. That’s how I built my business, knowing that I had to work hard and expect good things to happen. When you are down, there is only one way to go—up. So, you set goals high and, to use an expression from my sales background, “hang the bacon high.”
I was recently at my doctor’s office and I saw the best examples of a bad attitude and a good attitude. A patient came in late for her appointment. She approached the receptionist, who said in a gruff tone and not smiling, “Your appointment was at 9:15 (it was 10:30), and there is nothing I can do for you. You will have to reschedule for next week.” Then, the receptionist received a phone call, which she abruptly took, leaving the poor lady standing there. Another receptionist said with a smile, “Come here and I’ll see if I can help you, Mrs. Smith. Let’s see what I can do. We can schedule you tomorrow at 9:30. Will that be okay?” About that time the doctor came to the front and said, “I will see you today. Just have a seat.” With the first receptionist, the lady would have left with ill feeling about her doctor, but the second receptionist saved the day. A good attitude will do the most good in all cases.
I was trained to smile when you answer the phone because a smile is transmittable even through the phone. A smile projects a positive attitude. Try smiling when you approach a stranger on the street and see what reaction you will get. There is a saying, “Smile and the world smiles with you; cry and you cry alone.” After all, who wants to be around a grump? Abraham Lincoln said, “We can complain because the rose bush has thorns or rejoice because the thorn bush has roses.” To pick the rose, we must look out for the thorns, and so it is in life. To achieve a thing of beauty in your life, you must risk getting stuck a few times.
Friday, September 30th, 2016
It has been my pleasure to serve as your president for these past two years.
The past two years have been very busy and have gone by very fast. It seems like only yesterday that I was elected president of AWCI’s Board of Directors in my hometown of Clinton, Maryland. We finished that convention on a note of hope for the organization, looking forward to getting some things done. One objective was to shorten our BOD meeting to one hour or, at most, one hour and a half. We did accomplish that. One of the most difficult things that I had to overcome was understanding the role of the president of this organization. I can say it took a good six months to get a feel for it. It is a very complex job that you spend many hours each week working on. There are emails and phone calls and some very complicated decisions that have to be made. Some you make and hope the BOD will go along with, while some you just put off until the next board meeting.
Thanks to a group of dedicated people that serve on committees, subcommittees, and our Board of Directors, we were able to get some things done. In November 2014, we passed an amendment to our policy manual that provided funding to have speakers and educational programs brought to our Affiliate Chapters. We revised our online “Find a Professional” to make it more user-friendly, and made it so you could add your certification and a bit of bio about your qualifications as a craftsperson.
We sent a letter to membership about the attempt to restructure our membership, because most people did not like the way it was going. We also made a decision to purchase a digital microscope for the classroom and to replace a HVAC unit. In February we made the decision that the theme for the 2015 convention would be: “Join us in the heart of America as AWCI celebrates the rebirth of the American Watchmaking spirit.” Kansas City here we come! It was a great convention; everyone came away with uplifted spirits.
We have made some changes in the BOD structure. We will be down to six elected board members. The REC chair will no longer have a vote on the BOD, which gives the members you elected more power on the board. There have been some changes in the bylaws and the policy manual, all of which you can read for yourself online.
March 11 and 12 we got together at headquarters in Harrison, Ohio, for the mid-year conference, which is required by our bylaws, to discuss the state of AWCI. I am happy to report that we are in good condition financially. Our classes are being utilized to close to capacity. We have started some cooperation with NAWCC: we look forward to exchanging instructors to teach specific classes. These two days in Harrison were filled with reports, discussions, and decision making by a dedicated group of people who give of their time freely without pay, just for the satisfaction of knowing they may do some good for the horologist. For more details about what has happened in the past years, read the minutes online.
The BOD has had a conference call meeting just about every month. I am happy to report that most committees are busy doing what they should be doing. It has been my pleasure to serve as your president for these past two years. My hope is that history will look favorably on my service. Thanks to the two boards that I have had the pleasure of working with. They are truly great men and women.
Friday, September 30th, 2016
WatchTime New York
Takes Place October 14–15 at Manhattan’s Gotham Hall
By Kathy Ortt
The consumer event and show for wristwatch collectors and enthusiasts is being held a second year at Gotham Hall. Twenty luxury watch brands, ranging from internationally renowned to aspiring independents, will exhibit their latest watches. Along with seeing the latest advancement in watches, guests will mingle with watch company executives, industry, experts, and other watch collectors. Last year’s event drew in nearly 1,000 attendees, including collectors, enthusiasts, journalists, celebrities, and personalities known on social media.
The event will kick off with a VIP cocktail party Friday, October 14, from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Roger Ruegger says, “WatchTime New York enables attendees to interact face-to-face with brand principals and experts in the watchmaking industry, and to mingle with other watchmakers, designers, enthusiasts, and collectors—particularly at the Friday night cocktail event. It’s an excellent time to network with peers and discover the latest product developments and novelties for 2016.”
Saturday, October 15, is an all-day session featuring watch exhibitors, entertainment, industry panels, and meet-and-greet opportunities. Several exhibiting brands will have professional watchmakers at their benches. Ruegger says, “The show provides the opportunity to handle groundbreaking new watch novelties, some presented in the US for the very first time, and discuss their innovative mechanical movements with informed professionals rather than in a disconnected retail environment. Select brands will present watchmaking demonstrations live on site for an up-close look into their complications and production. WatchTime New York will also host a few watch accessories vendors of interest to repair professionals, including strap vendors.” Some of the exhibiting brands include Breguet, MB&F, Seiko, Bell & Ross, Armin Strom, and Nomos.
According to Ruegger, “WatchTime has curated some of the foremost experts in watchmaking from various sectors of the field, including preeminent journalists (Joe Thompson, WatchTime Editor-at-Large, and Roger Ruegger, Editor-in-Chief, and Sarah Orlando, WatchTime Publisher), social media influencer Anish Bhatt, WatchAnish, noted collector and consultant Jeff Kingston, as well as several notable watch-themed book authors and speakers—to be announced. Each panel session allows a Q&A during which attendees may present their questions.”
WatchTime New York, formerly known as Inside Basel Geneva, is hosted by WatchTime magazine. The watch venue was completely revamped in 2015 with a new location and a broader range of watch brands and schedule of activities to appeal to consumers of today. Guests may purchase tickets at www.watchtimenewyork.com.
Kathy Ortt is an editor for the Horological Times.
Thursday, September 1st, 2016
Jewelers’ Security Alliance
SIX-MONTH CRIME STATISTICS AND TRENDS
In May 2016 HT, Ken Nichols reported on security in the horological industry in his article, “Robberies, Burglaries, and Thefts: How to Be Safe rather Than Sorry.” In the report below, the Jewelers’ Security Alliance offers updated statistics and information on crime in the industry.
Jewelers’ Security Alliance has released its crime statistics for the first six months of 2016, which indicate a continued decline in crime against the diamond, jewelry and watch industry in the US. Dollar losses decreased from $33.2 million to $30.8 million, and the number of crimes decreased from 562 to 528.
John Kennedy, President of JSA, said of the results, “While violence and large losses still pose a major threat to the industry, the long-time trend of overall losses is still heading down. Improved security measures by jewelers, greater sharing of information on crimes and suspects, and excellent work by the FBI, ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) and local law enforcement agencies around the country have all contributed to improved results.”
Notable features of the six-month results included 30 smash-and-grab robberies, and over 40 gunpoint robberies, which provided a majority of the large losses. Violence in these robberies included shootings, pistol-whippings, the use of pepper spray, and other violence. There were also 10 cases, an unusually large number, in which burglars used vehicles to break into retail jewelry stores, and 20 cases in which burglars broke in from the roof, side walls, or an adjoining business rather than through a window or a door.
JSA received reports of 187 grab-and-runs in retail jewelry stores, 49 distraction thefts, and 36 sneak thefts. Despite the new credit cards with chips, thieves have used stolen cards and counterfeit drivers’ licenses to continue to carry out numerous fraudulent transactions, particularly seeking high-end watches.
Finally, off-premises losses, primarily of traveling salespersons, were concentrated in Texas and Southern California, including the homicide of a traveling salesperson in Dallas, Texas, who was attacked at a gas station close to the airport.
On a positive note, there were many successful investigations that resulted in indictments and convictions of gang members and criminals in the first half of the year. In many of these cases, JSA had assisted law enforcement. Successful investigations included the arrest of seven gang members who carried out smash-and-grab robberies in Southern California totaling $6 million over the last two years; the female robber, backed up by three gang members who stayed outside, who carried out six armed robberies
totaling $4 million in the South; and the arrest and unsealing of an indictment of three suspects who defrauded over 40
retail jewelry stores through counterfeit documents and false credit applications to obtain high-end watches.
Kennedy said that in addition to weekly Email Crime Alerts sent to JSA members and law enforcement personnel, jewelers can get daily crime alerts on JSA’s website at www.jewelerssecurity.org/message_read.php?action=read
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
John J. Kennedy, President
Jewelers’ Security Alliance
6 East 45th Street (#1305)
New York, NY 10017 USA
212-687-0328 or 1-800-537-0067
The Jewelers’ Security Alliance (JSA) is a non-profit trade association providing crime prevention information and services to the jewelry industry. JSA, founded in 1883, has 20,000 member locations and works closely with the FBI and other law enforcement agencies.
Thursday, September 1st, 2016
These volunteers are working to improve AWCI and make it stronger for us all.
At the end of this month, AWCI will experience an exciting time, when we go back to the Chicago area where it all began over 50 years ago. Convention time is a wonderful time to meet with old friends and to make new ones. It is a great time to improve your skills by attending the classes offered at the convention. In the classes this year, you will have the opportunity to look at the way parts will be made in the future as well as in the present. You’ll also get instruction on nanofabrication for horology, the history of horology in Illinois, how to write an article and take good photos for that article, and much, much more. There will also be time to sit down and visit with friends and make new ones. For students or beginners in watchmaking or clockmaking, it is a time to rub shoulders with those people whose books you have read or whose articles you’ve read in Horological Times. You will find they are willing to answer questions and share their experiences with you, which can only make you better at your trade. Come to the Chicago area and have a great experience, and then return to your shops with new ideas and, above all, new friends—some may last a lifetime. Over the years I have had the opportunity to meet and get to know some really great people, but I count my friends in the horological community among the very best. It is not too late to come to Chicago. Will I see you there?
For months we have been talking about volunteers. This organization, AWCI, is not my organization, and it is not your organization, but it is our organization. Since it is our organization, why haven’t you given some of your time to it? I’m not talking about the people who give much of their time, but those who sit on their hands and let someone else do it. We strive to put every person who is willing to work into a job they will find rewarding. Helen Keller said, “Alone we can do little; together we can do so much.” So why not be a part of the “together” group?
In the past couple of months, seven people have volunteered, and they have been placed on committees that fit their skills and desires. Three have been added to the Education Committee and four have been added to the Horological Times Committee. These volunteers are working to improve AWCI and make it stronger for us all. We can always use people to write articles for HT. Maybe you have found an easier way to do a repair, or maybe you have developed a new tool or altered a tool so it works better.
As we develop the classes that will go on the road, we are looking for people to teach these classes, both in watchmaking and clockmaking, with the attitude “Have Suitcase, Will Travel.” These people will travel to Affiliate Chapters or wherever we can put together 10 to 12 students. It is an exciting time at AWCI. Our clock program is coming together with the revision of the CC21 Certification, which we will roll out soon. Clockmakers—start honing your skills. If you are a watchmaker or clockmaker who wants to see how good you really are, then work toward becoming certified. There is a great amount of pride—and credibility—in being able to say, “I am certified through AWCI.” If you don’t believe it, just look at the advertisements for employment in the back of HT.
Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016
Let’s look at how you and I can make AWCI stronger, more vibrant, and work to the benefit of all.
I was recently asked how I would see the future of AWCI in the next year, the next 5 years, and the next 10 years. I wish I had a magic crystal ball that I could look into, but I don’t. If I did, however, here is what I would see. Our membership would be improving by leaps and bounds—and the reason it would be is that there is great benefit for our membership. Everything we are doing is for the members, and they are returning by the hundreds. As leaders, we are asking ourselves, “Is what we are doing going to be of benefit to our members?” (We should not be doing what feeds our egos.) If the project can pass this litmus test—is it good for members and prospective members?—then let’s move forward with it. But if we cannot say that it will help the members, then let’s not do it. We, as leaders, all know it isn’t easy to pass that test.
In this vision of the future, our classes would be full for both watchmakers and clockmakers. There would be an abundance of teachers, teaching both at headquarters and on the road. There would be a waiting list to get into these classes. Everyone would be excited and enthusiastic about going to class. Classes would be taught for the beginner to the most-advanced student.
Watchmakers and clockmakers would have plenty of work and would be teaching apprentices in their shops with that hands-on training that can only be passed on from the master to the student. They would learn that it’s not the tool that makes the craftsman but the craftsman makes the tool work for him. For in the hands of a skilled person, the most simple tools can do magic.
There would be cooperation among the brands so that a shop would not have to buy several sets of water testers or any of the other tools that they require. You could buy one set that would satisfy all of their needs.
AWCI would be independent but would have the full cooperation of and collaboration with all brands, working together for the betterment of the horological community, both from the brand’s viewpoint as well as from the repairperson’s. AWCI, as a certifying body, should not be beholden to anyone.
Unfortunately, I do not have a crystal ball and cannot make all of this come true, but it is a good dream.
My hope and desire for AWCI is that we can overcome our failures and turn them into positives. I have experienced many times in my life that it is not how many times you get knocked down but how many times you get up. Dale Carnegie said, “Develop success from failure. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest steppingstones to success. No other elements can do so much for a man [or organization] if he is willing to study them and make capital out of them. Look backward. Can’t you see where your failures have helped you?”
So I would say to all of us: Let’s look at how you and I can make AWCI stronger, more vibrant, and work to the benefit of all.
Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016
Weiss Watch Company Announces a New,
Entirely US-Made Caliber
During the last year Donna Hardy, managing editor of the Horological Times, has reported on the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) investigations into many of the American-based watch brands that have made claims about being “Made in the USA” or “US Made.” As a result of the FTC’s investigations, many brands have been forced to remove these slogans from their marketing materials, brand logos, and even the watches themselves. The FTC has been very vocal about the requirements for claiming a watch is truly “Made in the USA.” To summarize some of the language they used in their reports: all or “virtually all” parts that are essential to the watches’ function must be manufactured in the US.
Cameron Weiss of Weiss Watch Company in Los Angeles chose the Fourth of July, America’s Independence Day, to reveal a project that had been rumored to be in the works for quite some time—a new mechanical watch caliber with nearly all the movement components manufactured in the United States. Using in-house equipment as well as subcontracting to several local machine shops to help with the work, Weiss Watch Company claims to have successfully produced all the parts for a functioning watch caliber, except the hairspring and jewels. Weiss was already producing the cases, dials, hands, and straps for his watches in the United States, along with final finishing and assembly of completely Swiss-made movements. When the announcement was first made, there was some obvious skepticism as to the viability of this accomplishment, taking into account the difficulty of manufacturing components such as the balance wheel, pallet fork, escape wheel, and mainspring. Weiss decided to host an online question-and-answer via Reddit AMA (ask me anything) on July 6 to personally confirm the details of the announcement and answer any questions that people may have had.
The Caliber 1003 is the product of reverse engineering the ETA 6497 and producing the movement components to a tolerance, minus the layout of the bridges and mainplate, so that they are virtually interchangeable with their Swiss counterparts. That is actually part of the plan Weiss has laid out—to help supply the industry with needed spare parts once the Swatch Group has discontinued the distribution of individual movement components. He claims to already have a contract with a company in Switzerland that is ready to place an order once the production is up and running. To accomplish this, Weiss has launched Pinion Precision Technology, a separate company with business partner, Grant Hughson, to act as the supply arm of the movement and spare parts distribution of their manufacturing efforts. They also plan to sell complete movements to other American brands as well as unfinished, blank ebauches. More calibers are in the works with plans for original movement designs.
The first run of movements will only be available in the American Issue Field Watch. A limited edition run of 50 watches is currently available for pre-order on the Weiss Watch Company website. The $2,500 price tag is considered to be extremely reasonable for the level of US-based manufacturing that went into this watch. This is partly due to what some are calling the “lack of finishing” done to the movement plates and components. Weiss’s response to this criticism is, “Our version is a more American way that doesn’t require additional machinery or add steps to the manufacturing process.” Weiss also says, “We’re trying to recreate a simple utilitarian finish that is more affordable while still providing all the functional benefits of something similar to a Geneva stripe.”
To avoid the problems some brands have encountered in not complying with what is actually considered American-made by the FTC’s standards, Weiss has been working closely with the FTC every step of the way to ensure that the watch is properly represented as a “Made in the USA” product. Weiss stated, “We’ve had an open line of communication with the FTC during the planning stages of the new CAL 1003 movement to make sure we satisfied the claim for USA made” and “The Swiss content in our CAL 1003 movement is considered negligible by FTC standards, and it is virtually all USA made.”
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.
Tuesday, July 5th, 2016
Rare Antique Chinese Clock
Sells for $1.27 Million
By Donna Hardy
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.
Tuesday, July 5th, 2016
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.