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Chris_Barrett

Making my first watch

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Well, I going to make my first watch...

Baby steps I suppose will be a good idea.

So I'm not going to make a movement, I think buying a suitable movement is the best idea at this stage.

I have quite a sizable quantity of Silver, from my wife's jewelery making business, so casting a case would be the most sensible and cheapest option, given I have everything I need to hand.

My first question is, can anyone suggest a suitable movement for a first time project such as this? I don't want quartz, so all mechanical is the preference.

Any suggestions as to a suitable movement will be most graciously received, however as much detail about the movement would also be appreciated, I am trying to learn after all.

I crave your input, no matter whether it is positive or negative...

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Are you thinking about casting a case in solid silver? For a wristwatch? I'm no expert, but is silver overall not a tad soft for this task? :sign_what:

e.g. the lugs will be too soft to support the springbars for the strap or bracelet, at least for any length of time, the bars/pins/holes will wear rapidly I'd suspect. (Oh and not to mention, would you be able to get it hallmarked as silver in the event you might want to pass it on in any way? )

2c worth as they say - - keep us posted :toot:

 

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If you're going with silver it would be nice if you could start with some of the early wristwatches. Some were made out of silver.

Moreso, since this is your first project I highly recommend that you start with a manual wind movement. They are easier to handle, function in a simpler manner and more importantly thinner as you don't have to worry about making the back side of the case and the case back fit the oscillating weight and stuff.

Oh and another advice, do start with a no day/date movement so that you won't have a hard time with the dial on the first go.

You should be able to find all sorts of affordable swiss movements online.

Something like this. Some had a central sweeping seconds hand so it's up to you to decide what you're going after. The particular style of the crown is called onion crown.

50dbdb18e0627381d737615b8c2ce7b2--silver

I would have started with stainless steel but you might know something we don't... :tongue:

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@mel My choice of Silver, is simply I've got a ice cream tubs full of it. It's going to be nothing more than a practice piece, hallmarking will not be necessary. If Hallmarking is required, I'll just hand it to my wife and she can put it in with her stuff, and send off to the Assay office in Birmingham, Which is a weekly event by the way...

And if it does not work out how I like, or as expected, it'll just go back in one of the ice cream tubs for recycling later...

@gimli I like the look of that watch, I think I'll go with something along those lines.

Not using an automatic movement makes sense, been looking for used movements this morning, and the automatic movements do come across as a little too much for this first attempt. Your suggestion of a simple hand winding movement is something I like the idea of at this time.

Thank you both for your comments & suggestions

@mel forgot, yes I will be casting a case this time, easiest way to utilise the scrap Silver I have.

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Do you plan on making the hands yourself ? Would be nice if you could mimic the style of the ones above as they are period correct for that type of watch.

I don't even know how hands are made but I do know that they are fragile and they have to fit the movement so keep that in mind.:)

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@gimli  suggests a Trench style case - - that would certainly likely be easier to cast and finish than most others - - you could do as was done originally and solder the fixed lugs onto the body of the case. You may not know this was a favourite way to "convert" small silver pocket watches into wrist watches around WW1 times when it became more sensible to be able to gance at your wrist for the time rather than heft a pocket watch out of your waistcoat on the end of it's chain in the middle of a battle - hence the nickname Trench Watches. :yes:

The fixed "D" shaped lugs do need to have suitable leather straps, but these are fairly easily obtained, and are certainly in character for that style of case. Sounds good etc., look forward to progress reports. :biggrin:

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A few more examples. For the record I wasn't necessarily suggesting trench watches, I was just trying to showcase a case type possibility.

A pocket watch conversion would be possible but I'm assuming OP wants to use a "normal" wristwatch movement... Something in the style of the Rolex below seems doable and very nice if you ask me... Remove the hinges and, therefore, the front bezel and glass closing and opening about and just make it standard opening through the case back.

c9e5f2def146ab3b420d2c5db486d01f.jpg

4724cc5eac1d97b84f4492e9a3758559--ladies

6ef6f3ca6ccec6675341c38fb664ad72--vintag

cacb83b9605371520713003f68e0ba23--fossil

Edited by gimli
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@mel I did not know about trench watches, thank you very much for pointing me in a direction of investigation...

@gimli You've provided some very nice examples, thank you. As per making the hands, I don't know at the moment. I would like to, but I don't know.

I'm watching Roger Smiths videos on finishing hands, so maybe...

Given the examples presented here, and a direction of investigation, I like the Trench watch "idea" and I think that is the direction I will head with this first attempt.

I think casting a case ring, bezel, and back are certainly within the realms of reason with my skill set and what I have to hand.

Soldering on the strap lugs a'la Trench style, appeals to me, and if i going to go down the Trench watch route, in keeping with the design.

Hands I will continue my learning process and hopefully make a pair of hands...

 

Oh and I really like that Rolex ;)

 

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I would go for something ETA/AS first, before delving into the realm of Rolex movements...

I think you got the movement wrong or that's not the caliber... Is it actually the model of the watch ?

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Well it seems legit but:

1. It is a ladies movement I think...

2. It's slightly incomplete. Missing the minute wheel I believe. Other parts might be missing as well.

He even says that the balance staff is broken so you'd have to find a new one to replace or have one made perhaps.

This is why I was asking you about whether you know how to handle and repair watches and why it would be a good idea to learn that, first and foremost. :)

The actual calibre number should be near or under the hairspring/balance wheel.

Edited by gimli
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@gimli Thank you, this is one of the reasons I am posting this on here, to get feed back such as this.

Either way I have to learn, if it's repairing a movement, replacing a part, making a part it's all part of the learning curve.

But, acquiring the right movement for this first watch, would be much easier if it did not possess any complication.

Thank you again for you input

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I hand made some silver watch cases in the 90's. Sadly I have no pictures as there was no internet in those days and the watches were sold. I've always liked working in silver. Good luck with your project :thumbsup:

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AS movements are a good call.  In would buy personally buy a new movement and hands, to make it as easy as possible.  You can always try and make your own later.

It also sounds like the book George Daniels Watchmaking would be a good investment.  £50 spent now could save that and more in tools, mistakes etc, and they fetch similar money when used too.

Watchmaking https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0856677043/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_w.KjAb0KXRJJQ

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Normally getting the hands to go with it is the right thing but we don't know what size he wants the dial and case to be... Or what style. :biggrin:

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@scottswatches I was looking at George Daniels book, I was going to ask whether to get it or not, but you've beat me to it.

Right now I getting everything I need together, I've got a a cheap watch repair kit off Ebay, months ago to change the battery in my watch. So I think replacing items in that kit with decent quality tools, would be a good move. I've been looking at Various watchmaking tool companies, AF, Bergeon & Horotec. My wife uses some AF & Bergeon tools for her jewelery.

But Do like the look of Horotec screwdrivers, so I think I'll get the sizes I need (everything below 1.5mm) separately, as pretty much all of my tools are Facom, so I'll use that set of precision screwdrivers (1.5, 2.0, & 3.0mm) for the time being.

I will also need to sort out a workbench, I like the idea of one that I can just sit on top of my electronics bench, as that's the cleanest workbench I've got, it's also in the house so more comfortable.

Movements, I was going to buy those in, learn how they are made, why they are made that way, etc, etc... Eventually I want to make my own movements.

Hand's I should be able to make those sooner rather than later, already making some pretty small pieces of jewelery, quite used to the piecing saw. But if a piece needs a particular style of hand and I don't feel I can make a set then I'd buy them in.

@gimli I will produce some CAD models of my ideas soon, just waiting for my new computer to arrive, the one I've been using for last 8 years died last week, so I'm a bit lost without Solidworks. I think by posting models on here will give you a better idea of what I am thinking, it will also provide others on here a chance to say stop, if I'm making a mistake in the design.

@Roy shame you don't have pictures, I would love to see them...

 

The more watches I look at the more and more I love watches.

I love making things, and making watches is feeling more and more like the natural choice for me.

Thank you all for you comments and advice,  I don't really do forums, but I am certainly glad I joined this one.

 

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