Archive for the ‘News’ Category
Thursday, February 19th, 2015
“The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is the knack of getting along with people.”
As the owner of an independent watch-repair shop for many years, I would like to share some of my experiences with you, with the hope that you may find this information helpful in your business. To be the operator of a business, you must be a self-starter. When you get out of bed in the morning, you must have the attitude that this is going to be a good day. A positive attitude is very important to your wellbeing. Who wants to deal with a grump? I once heard that “a bad attitude is like a flat tire—you are not going very far until you fix it.”
One of my customers had a problem with her watch not running after it had been properly serviced. “Let me see your watch,” I said. I started to wind the watch and discovered it was run down. I gave it a full wind and returned it to her. In a few days she was back because it stopped again. I wound it and returned it to her with the explanation: “You must wind it for it to run.” She said, “I do wind it.” “How much do you wind it?” I asked. Her reply: “Maybe four or five turns.” “You must wind it till it stops,” I said. She said okay and left the store. In a few days she was back again with the same complaint. I said to myself, “You must have PATIENCE. Sometimes you will need a bushel of it.” This time I took the watch in with the explanation that I was going to keep it for a week to 10 days. I was going to put the watch in every position and let it run for 24 hours in each position. When she came back, I gave her the results of my run out. The watch kept good time and ran fine during the time I had it. I said, “You must wind it.” Her response was, “I’ll break the mainspring.” I replied, “Break the darn mainspring! I’ll give you a new one.” After that, there was no more problem with the watch, and she remained a good customer for several years.
There are several lessons in this story (which is a true story).
1. Do your best to satisfy your customer.
2. Have patience with any situation.
3. Keep a good attitude.
4. Always think on your feet and come up with a solution to the problem. For every problem there is a solution. Sometimes we have to do some digging to find it.
Satisfy your customer if you can. Does that mean the customer is always right? No, of course not. After you have tried every avenue to satisfy, there does come a point where you have to say that maybe it is best that we part company. This doesn’t happen often.
Practicing patience means that we try to put ourselves in their shoes. Look at the problem from their perspective; try to see it through their eyes. If you do find yourself losing it, excuse yourself, walk away, take a deep breath, and get a drink (of water). Come back to the customer and try to solve the problem. There are some situations where you can’t make them happy, and that is when it is best that you part company.
A positive attitude will serve you well. It keeps you thinking that you can overcome whatever obstacle is in you way. You feel better about yourself.
So remain positive.
Sometimes the solution will just come to you from who knows where. Sometimes you have to beak some mainsprings. (Change your way of thinking.) Here is a motto for small-business owners to live by: IF IT’S TO BE, IT’S UP TO ME.
Thursday, February 19th, 2015
By Donna Hardy
Montblanc’s e-Strap might be the first smart, connected wearable from a luxury watch company
Montblanc’s upcoming Timewalker Urban Speed collection of watches will have an optional strap called the e-Strap. It features a high-end leather strap with carbon-fiber texture. At the bottom, sitting under the wrist, is an electronic module made from DLC (diamond-like carbon) coated steel or in gray steel. The e-Strap’s module is 40mm long, 14.2mm wide, and 9mm high (thick).
Ariel Adams of ablogtowatch. com asks, “Why isn’t Montblanc simply producing a smartwatch that combines technology with luxury watch design and materials? Well, according to most people in the luxury watch world, that isn’t what most of their consumers want….So, for Montblanc and other luxury watchmakers, they are taking charge by offering what they feel is the ultimate combo–a traditional mechanical luxury watch with a strap that contains a smart wearable device.”
Not all Timewalker Urban Speed watches will have the e-Strap. It will come on a few of the new 2015 Montblanc Timewalker Urban Speed watches, but it can also be purchased separately.
The Montblanc e-Strap will be compatible with all 42mm- or 43mm-wide Timewalker watches currently or previously available. It should be able to fit other watches with similar lug space sizes.
The e-Strap’s electronic module will have a 0.9″ monochromatic OLED touchscreen display with a 128 x 36 pixel resolution. It will be able to handle basic calls, texts, emails, calendars, social media, and reminder notifications. The e-Strap will also function as an activity monitor/tracker with a pedometer and accelerometer to measure data that feeds into the accompanying iPhone or Android smartphone application. It will also be able to control your phone’s music player. The Montblanc e-Strap will use Bluetooth 4.0 to connect to its host phone device.
The e-Strap will have five days of continuous use between charges, using its internal lithium ion battery. A micro-USB charging port is built in. Montblanc claims the e-Strap is shock resistant and splash resistant.
According to a report on mashable. com, “The e-Strap ($300) will be much cheaper than the watches it will support—many of Montblanc’s timepieces cost as much as $3,000—but run higher than some smartwatches like the Moto 360 ($249). The Apple Watch will start at $349, but it’s rumored the luxury ‘Edition’ model (like the 18-karat pink or yellow gold version) could cost up to $5,000.”
Ariel Adams concludes: “While it doesn’t represent the sentiments of all luxury watchmakers, Montblanc’s upcoming release of the e-Strap is a healthy sign that the often-conservative luxury watch industry is trying to work with smartwatches rather than ignore them.”
Monday, January 5th, 2015
to our members who recently passed the CW21 exam
Monday, January 5th, 2015
John C. Figlar
Katharine M. Harris
Gregg G. Metzler
Luis Orozco Jr.
Kevin R. Peavey
Alfred Ptasznik Jr.
Justin C. Rogers
Steve Shimonov Sr.
Robert E. Smith
William R. Stiles
Jacob M. Weaver-Spidel
James J. Wienandt
Monday, January 5th, 2015
The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry is one of the best-loved stories. I would like to share it with you as my president’s message for December.
Mr. James Dillingham Young and his wife Della lived in a furnished flat at $8 a week that in its former glory would fetch $30 per week, but the property had fallen from grace. The Dillingham’s were living on $20 per week. In other words, times were hard.
Tomorrow was Christmas, and all Della had to buy Jim a present with was $1.87. That was all, and a lot of it was in pennies she had saved from the grocery money. She wanted to buy Jim something really nice, but what could you buy that was really nice for $1.87?
The only things that Jim and Della had of value was Jim’s gold pocket watch that had been his father’s and his grandfather’s, and Della had beautiful hair that was the envy of most women. Her beautiful hair fell down in ripples and cascades like brown water. It reached below her knees and made a garment for her.
What could Della get for Jim for $1.87 for Christmas? She put on her coat and walked into the street and stopped when she saw a sign that read: “Hair Goods of All Kinds.” She asked the owner, Madame Sofronie, “Will you buy my hair?” “I buy hair,” said Madame. Take your hat off and let me look.” Down fell the brown cascades. “Twenty dollars,” said Madame, lifting the brown rippling hair. “Give it to me quick,” said Della. With the $20, she went shopping for Jim’s present.
She searched the stores for that perfect gift, and there it was—a platinum watch fob chain that was worthy to be attached to such a beautiful watch as Jim’s was. The fob cost $21, leaving Della eighty cents to buy chops.
Della had been admiring three combs in a store on Broadway. Jim knew just what he had to do—sell the watch and buy the combs for his lovely wife for her beautiful hair. The beautiful combs were made of pure tortoise shell with jeweled rims, just the right shade for Della’s hair. Home he went with the three combs in his possession.
He opened the door and to his dismay there stood his beautiful Della with her hair all in short curls. “Jim, I hope you don’t kill me or hate me. I sold my hair to buy you the most beautiful Christmas gift,” said Della. Then she showed him the wonderful watch fob. “My hair will grow back,” said Della.
“Dell,” he said “let’s put our Christmas presents away and keep ‘em a while. They’re too nice to use at present. I sold the watch to get the money to buy your combs. And now, suppose you put the chops on.”
So this is what Christmas giving should be about—being willing to give our most valuable possession to the one we love. But greatest of these is LOVE.
From the White house, here’s wishing you and yours the most joyful and blessed holiday season, filled with all the things that make you happy.
Monday, January 5th, 2015
Becomes a Distributor of Renata Batteries
By Donna Hardy
NSY Kessler Sales, Inc., the North American headquarters for the Swiss-made Renata Batteries, is pleased to announce that Stuller has become authorized as a Strategic-Key Renata Battery Distributor. According to Darrell Warren, Stuller’s Vice President of Tools, Equipment, and Supplies, the addition of the Renata product line was well timed. “Our customers demand top quality and great service, and Renata is a good fit for us.”
To learn more about Renata, please contact Stuller at www.stuller.com, 800-877-7777, or Sy Kessler Sales, Inc., moc.relssekysnull@selas, 800-527-0719, renatausa.com.
The Henry Graves
Sold for $24 Million
By Donna Hardy
The Henry Graves Supercomplication watch, a marvel of early 20th-century watchmaking, sold for $24 million on November 11. It is the most expensive watch ever to sell at auction. The watch was commissioned by New York banker Henry Graves in 1925, made by Patek Phillipe, and delivered in 1933. It boasts 24 complications, including grande and petite sonnerie that emulate the bells of Westminster; a record of the phases and age of the moon; sunrise and sunset indications; a perpetual calendar; and a celestial map of the New York sky. According to Sotheby’s, it is the most advanced timepiece ever made without the assistance of computers.
According to CNN’s website, “The Supercomplication was made as the result of a friendly competition between Graves, a member of a well-known banking family, and James Ward Packard, the luxury automobile manufacturer, to see who could produce the most impressive timepiece. Packard’s attempt was a pioneering feat. It was the first ever watch to feature a sky chart, which included 500 golden stars and was centered above his home in Ohio. However, it contained just 10 complications, making Graves’ timepiece the undisputed winner with 24.”
The buyer of the watch is undisclosed.
Plans to Produce a Smartwatch
By Donna Hardy
LVMH’s biggest watch brand, TAG Heuer, plans to release a smartwatch at Baselworld, March 10, 2015, but they have divulged little else about the watch. This release is timed to align closely with the release of the Apple Watch in spring 2015.
Jean-Claude Biver, CEO of TAG Heuer’s parent company Hublot, has been quoted as saying that TAG Heuer’s smartwatch “must not copy the Apple Watch.” Biver also said, “Communications is not the business of the Swiss watch industry. We don’t have the technology. And if you don’t have the technology, you have to buy it. If you have to buy it, you’re always late.”
Last year TAG Heuer made a one-off smartwatch for members of the Oracle sailing team.
Citigroup Inc. analysts have forecast that the smartwatch market will probably expand to about $10 billion in 2018 from as much as $1.8 billion this year, funneling customers away from traditional products.
TAG Heuer also makes the luxury smartphone, Meridiist.
Thursday, November 6th, 2014
Niall: A New American Watch Brand
By Donna Hardy
Niall is a startup watch company in Kansas City, Missouri. It uses a Swiss-made automatic movement—either an ETA 2824-2 or a Selitta SW200—but the case and all other components are sourced in America. Niall (pronounced Nile) is the brainchild of Michael Wilson, a former marketer whose father owned a fabrication shop where he learned to cut and shape metal on industrial equipment. Niall’s debut watch, the Niall One, costs $3,950, which is in line with Niall’s American competitors, such as RGM and Xetum.
Niall’s website (niallluxury.com) says their quest is “to build the next great American luxury brand.” Wilson would like to build something of equal status to Hamilton, which he calls “the last great American watch company.” He also hopes to develop his own mechanical movement timepieces someday.
According to Techcrunch.com, “The watches themselves are evocative of Hublot or Audemars-Piguet, but the handsome back-slung lugs and the understated face are unique to the brand.” For now Niall is producing only men’s watches with black or brown leather straps, but they hope to produce women’s watches in the future.For the crown, Niall uses a push-down crown system that they call “Airlock.” The Airlock crown has a set of three gaskets that keeps the watch locked and sealed from elements such as water and dust. Niall worked with Corning to create crystals with shatter- and scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass, the product Corning originally created for iPhone touchscreens. Wilson and a partner, Barron Link, assemble the watches themselves in their small business quarters in Kansas City.
Niall is a recent addition to that group of American watch brands on the forefront of a return to watch manufacturing in the US. Other American brands include Minuteman, Kobold, RGM, and Shinola.
“US watches are the wave of the future,” says Gary Borel, vice president of Jules Borel & Co. “Swiss is the best, but there’s no reason we can’t restart this industry in America.…We’ll have American-made movements, no question about it.”
Wednesday, November 5th, 2014
“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”
~John F. Kennedy
One day King Solomon summoned his goldsmith because he wanted a special ring made. Upon arrival, the goldsmith asked, “What can I do for you, old wise one?” The mighty king responded, “I want you to make me a grand ring, one like no one has ever seen before. Make it of the finest gold you can find. I want it engraved with the most prophetic statement you can think of.” What a charge to be given to the goldsmith. He thought, “Wow, what can I as a goldsmith do to honor such a mighty person as King Solomon?” He gave it a lot of thought. After hours of thinking, he came up with “THIS TOO SHALL PASS.’’
In the late 1800s and early to mid-1900s, America was the premier watch manufacturer in the world. They made watches by the thousands from 1852 till 1957. American Waltham Watch Co. made 35 million watches from 1867 to 1956. Elgin produced 55 million. Hamilton, from 1893 to 1942, produced almost 4 million. After 1942, they changed their numbering system. They continued to make watches until 1969; their last model was the 992B. They stopped manufacturing at Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and so ended the era of watches produced in the US. “THIS TOO SHALL PASS.’’
During the heyday of American watchmaking, the Swiss were getting on the bandwagon with watches whose names sounded American-made, such as Hampton Watch Company [not Hampden], Rockville Watch Co., H.W. Co., or W.W. Co. These fooled many customers into thinking they had bought an American watch. The Swiss started making better-quality pieces, and so they made an inroad into the US market. Bulova, Gruen, Omega, Font, Felsa, A. Schild, ETA, and many other brands and ebauches came into being during those years. Parts were readily available, both genuine and generic, from your local material houses. After World War II many people went to watchmaking school on the GI Bill. This produced a flood of watchmakers in the marketplace, and as a result, watchmakers cut their prices so drastically that it was hard to make a living.
In the 1960s the Accutron and the electric watch came out, and then the quartz watch made its debut. That was the end of watchmaking to many craftspeople, so they left the trade and sought other ways to make a living. Those who stayed with it found that the quartz watch needed repair, and there still was Uncle Joe who liked his watch that ticked, and the family heirloom that needed restoring. And they found that they could charge a fair price for their labor.
With the manufacture of so many cheap quartz watches, many people said it was the end of the mechanical watch. “THIS TOO HAS PASSED.” The mechanical watch has made a strong resurgence in the marketplace. Thus the need for a watchmaker who is qualified to work on these timepieces is stronger than ever. The parts issue will be with us until the demand from the customer is so loud that it starts to hurt the sale of watches. In time “THIS TOO SHALL COME TO PASS.”
Friday, October 17th, 2014
Apple Unveils the Apple Watch
By Donna Hardy
On September 9, Apple announced that it would debut its Apple Watch, starting at $349, early in 2015. “It’s the most personal product we’ve ever made, because it’s the first one designed to be worn,” says Apple’s website. Jony Ive, Apple’s senior vice president of Design, said, “It blurs the boundary between physical object and user interface.” Apple is emphasizing the personal and intimate qualities of its newest product. The message seems to be that this is more than “wearable technology.”
So, what are the facts about the Apple Watch? There are three collections, two sizes, and six straps. At the high end, Apple Watch comes in solid (not plated) 18-karat yellow or rose gold case.
Apple’s press release says: “Apple Watch comes with 11 watch faces ranging from traditional analog faces to new faces like the dynamic Timelapse face; the Astronomy face with its interactive, real-time 3D model of the earth, sun, moon and planets; and the Solar face, a contemporary sundial. Apple Watch can be personalized in appearance and capability with additional information such as upcoming events, moonphases or your activity level, enabling millions of possible configurations.”
The Apple Watch features the Digital Crown, which allows the wearer to scroll, zoom and navigate, without obstructing the display. The Digital Crown also allows the wearer to access Siri. The Retina display on Apple Watch features Force Touch, which senses the difference between a tap and a press, providing access to controls within apps.
The watch can receive notifications from iPhones. The watch works with Apple’s new iPhones, as well as the 5S and 5C. It doesn’t work with non-Apple phones. Like the new iPhones, the watch will be able to be used as a payment device, part of Apple’s new Apple Pay service.
In keeping with popular devices such as the Fitbit, it includes an activity app designed to help motivate the wearer to be more active throughout the day, as well as a workout app designed to provide metrics during the workout session.
While Apple displayed the watch’s induction charging system, it’s not clear how often it will have to be used. There was no mention about battery life.
Friday, October 17th, 2014
I am honored by the trust you have bestowed upon me by electing me your president. As your Board of Directors, we can make AWCI a much stronger, more viable organization that can better serve your needs as a member, whether you are clockmaker or watchmaker, novice or accomplished craftsperson.
We need volunteers. Many of you have already come forward and said put me to work on committees, special projects, or whatever needs to be done. For this I’m thankful; it is not my organization but ours. If you have an idea for a project, please come forward with it.
My pledge to you when I ran for reelection to the board was that we should make AWCI work for all of its members. We should offer classes for everyone at every level, with emphasis on quality workmanship.
Our convention in Clinton, Maryland, was a success, and I’m looking forward to seeing you in Kansas City, Missouri, next year. My thanks to Terry Kurdzionak for her tireless and diligent effort in putting this convention together and also to those who were on her committee. Thanks also to David Kurdzionak and Chris Carey (your new secretary) for their efforts in the hospitality room.
Our two keynote speakers from Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc., Ms. Martina T. Driscoll and Ms. Jacqueline L. Devereaux, got us off to a great start. Their warmth and willingness to engage with our members was welcoming. We are grateful to them both for a job well done.
A special thanks to our Educational Symposium presenters: Mr. Andrew Baron; Mr. John Davis; Mr. Michael Gainey, CC21; Mr. Wesley Grau, CW21; and Mr. Aaron Recksiek, CW21. They each presented a challenging program and made us think about how we can use this in our everyday work.
It was gratifying to see that approximately 30% of attendees were attending the convention for the first time. My charge to everyone who attended: If you were happy with the convention, tell as many people as you can that it was a great experience. If you were unhappy, tell us so that we can address the concerns you have.
We were pleased to have Mr. Terry Irby from Tourneau, along with four students: Diomaris Parra, Pablo Gonzalez, Mathiu Perez, and Edwin Larregui. We also had two students from Lititz Watch Technicum, Michael Dudley and Michael Krilich. These young students joined right in and participated in the activities. It was a pleasure having them.
In closing, the Board of Directors needs your help to make AWCI as strong as possible. With your help, we can climb any mountain and overcome any obstacle.