Thursday, February 28, 2019

The second most intimate watchmaker's tool: screwdrivers


Screwdriver blade - before and after polishing

Today our focus is on screwdrivers - the second most intimate watchmaker’s tool. (We'll talk about THE MOST intimate tool some other time).


What is the big deal?

1. Your mechanical watch contains at least a dozen different screws. They vary in size, shape and purpose. The range of screw sizes found in a typical watch goes from 0.50mm to 3mm so your set should contain all sizes.

            

How To Use Screwdriver

2. The width of the screw head slot varies greatly from calibre to calibre.  Therefore, before disassembly can commence, the screwdriver’s blade must be shaped to fit the exact screw slot.

3. Blades are made of hardened carbon steel, and even with utmost care, they can chip. Being able to restore them to new condition is essential.

4. Using an incorrect screwdriver blade will cause permanent and often irreversible damage to screws. This is a sign of extremely poor craftsmanship. This is why properly trained apprentices spend weeks learning how to perfectly shape and sharpen screwdrivers - before they even attempt their first disassembly.

Bottom line: if you just bought a fine Bergeon or AF screwdriver set but don't know how to shape and sharpen your screwdrivers - you've made an amateur mistake.

Good news: here is what you need to do:

- Get yourself a proper, genuine Swiss made screwdriver's sharpening tool.
We sell Bergeon sharpening tool Ref. 2461
 https://shop.clockmaker.com.au/home/112-bergeon-screwdriver-sharpener-ref-2461.html

- Get a fine polishing stone OR 3M lapping film sheet in a range of grades
https://shop.clockmaker.com.au/14-polish-clean
While a polishing stone is traditionally the abrasive of choice, my suggestion is to go for 3M lapping/polishing abrasive sheets. This is a cost saving solution, a practical and quick alternative to stones. The sheets come in a variety of grades (40 microns down to 1 micron, even as fine as 0.05 micron!. Some of the lapping 3M sheets are used in optical, electronic and other industries and are considered a military strategic product, not available to the general public. Getting the sheets imported to Australia from the US took 3 months, plenty of frustration and considerable cost, but we are pleased to be able to offer the 3M sheets to our customers at just $9 per sheet, GST included.

We use 3M daily - not just for screwdrivers but for anything - from deburring to screw head polishing. It is also a popular choice for knife blade polishing.

In stock: grades 40/30/12/9/3/1/0.05 micron, A4 sheet size. The sheets come with PSA (pressure sensitive adhesive) so they can be glued on perspex/glass plates.

What is the best size for you? That would depend on the application. We have 'developed' our own board consisting of 6 stripes (20 x 3cm) of various grades, to be used with a Bergeon screwdriver roller. Only $19.
Available at:  https://shop.clockmaker.com.au/home/163-watchmaker-screwdriver-sharpening-board.html

3M film is not just your ordinarily 'sand paper' - it can be cleaned and will last you for a very long time, even if used daily.         
         
             Bergeon Assortment Of 10 Screwdrivers With Spare Blades      
https://shop.clockmaker.com.au/home/105-bergeon-assortment-of-10-screwdrivers-ref-30081-a10.html

Bergeon Screwdriver Sharpener


             Watchmaker Screwdriver Sharpening Board In 6 Different 3M Lapping Strips         
     3M Lapping/Polishing Film with PSA 1 Micron          



             3M Lapping/Polishing Film with PSA 40 Microns         

             An Assortment of 7 Papers          


Need a watchmaker's loupe, screwdrivers, tweezers or a bench mat?  Visit our online shop: - http://shop.clockmaker.com.au/
          

The Banjo Paterson Test


The $10 Australian polymer note bears the portrait of Banjo - and makes a perfect tester for the mirror finish of our screws. When Banjo is placed under a certain angle over the perfectly hand-polished screws, one can see the reflection of his country house with the windmill. "Land of plenty, land of one".


As you already know: our Australian manufactured screws are designed, machined, deburred, hardened, hand polished and tempered in Brookvale.


Tuesday, February 26, 2019

If I only had an opportunity

Such a familiar saying, so little substance behind it. A lame excuse.  Actually for those who look for them, opportunities are everywhere and plentiful. The problem is that we are impatient to pursue small ones. But those small opportunities are to be chased because they will grow into big ones.

Manufacturing a prototype part is a tricky business because your customer wants it all: fast, cheap and the best possible quality. There is simply no money in it. Yet for a young machinist such jobs are a great opportunity to make their name. If you can do jobs no-one else can or wants to do, soon you will be known as the 'to go to' man. The word will spread and sooner or later, once you become an undisputed expert in your field, you will be ready for big opportunities.

The other day another desperate customer knocked on our door. He urgently needed two custom made parts. To say that we underestimated the amount of work needed to turn the parts would be an understatement in itself.  Josh ended up making $10 per hour. But we delivered on time, exceeding the quality and spot on with tolerances.  The customer was so impressed that he immediately sent more drawings for more challenging parts.

Can we compete with China?  No, not today.  But one day, all those Australian manufacturers who either subcontracted jobs to China - or built their own factories there to save a dollar or two - will realise what a mistake that was.

             

        

Monday, February 25, 2019

The first and only watch manufactured in Australia


No time for fake modesty:  facts only. We are proud and we are celebrating.

No matter whether you are a supporter, believer, dreamer or just a casual onlooker: NH1 is the watch which will be forever remembered as the first Australian wristwatch containing Australian manufactured watch movement components. Dare I say: this is the watch that will be one day highly sought after, a watch which will attract a premium; a timepiece of investment quality to be remembered and talked about in years to come.

Yes, there will be other watchmakers trying to make their mark, and no doubt, one day we won't call ourselves 'the only' .  But NH1 will always remain 'El Primero'.

The assembly is going slower than originally anticipated but hand finishing, jewelling, adjustment and casing cannot be rushed. Here, in our city workshop, Andrew is my right hand; without his help it would take even longer to complete this first batch. Josh is still machining the last few components so he spends his days in Brookvale, working on his own.  Young Michael (I call him Bob) is irreplaceable when it comes to screw polishing: it takes 10 minutes to polish just one screw to mirror finish - and he often spends 6 hours a day just doing that.

The completed watches are tuned with a great deal of pride. We try to squeeze out every second out of that watch heart, and we are extremely proud of the timekeeping abilities of NH1. The full credit for that goes to precision milling as well as work-holding tools - designed and manufactured in our own workshop.

Here is just one detail worth mentioning: the electricity bill to run the Kern mill alone is over $2,000 per month! The beast sucks 60 Amps per phase and, once turned on, it runs for days - machining parts or not. The warm up period is 4 hours before any watch component can be machined to the accuracy required. The air compressor and two cooling units generate so much heat that most of the machining is done from sunset to sunrise.

I have no doubt that NH1 will be judged on watch forums and Facebook groups by its external appearance, the dial style or case size. But such 'reviews' will miss the point completely.  Manufactured in Australia has really very little to do with appearance: the real substance and value is in what has gone on behind the scenes. And this is why NH1 will always remain a watch for a sophisticated, true watch enthusiast.

As I type this, 18 out of 25 watches have been reserved and paid for in full. Two pieces will remain in our own collection and 5 watches are still available for sale: numbers 16, 17, 19, 23 and 24.
The price is $6,000 plus GST.  Delivery time:  4 weeks.

Case signed: Ti Hxx/25, titanium, 45mm
Movement: NH1, manual wind.
Strap : bespoke kangaroo
Dial signed: Manufactured in Australia as a reference to the number of internal watch components designed and manufactured in our Sydney workshop.

Inquiries to nick@clockmaker.com.au

                         

Thursday, February 21, 2019

The Caped Crusader & The Boy Wonder - a powerful duo



So which Town Talk polishing cloth works best for gold and steel?

Well, we can only recommend the one we use and that's the amazing anti-tarnish dual gold polishing cloth.  This is a massive 45 x 30cms monster cloth. 

This brilliant product is a powerful duo - much like Batman and his eager-to-please sidekick Robin...with the gold polishing cloth made of 100% cotton and impregnated with jewellers' rouge and anti-tarnish agents, while the cotton cloth acts as a soft cotton duster.  Alone they are pretty powerful but have them work together and that's where the magic happens.

As you polish with the pink cloth, you will notice the cloth will start removing all the dirt and tarnish from your gold items.  Then the yellow cloth will buff your gold to a shimmering finish. 




KAPOW!  But don't take my word for it.  Try it yourself!

Just $17 from our online store: 
https://shop.clockmaker.com.au/home/66-dual-gold-polishing-cloth-30-x-45cm.html


The mighty Petit Pierre



"How much is this screwdriver?" - he asked, pointing at a Bergeon single pack masterpiece.
"Eighteen".
"How much?"
"Eighteen dollars".
"No, this single screw,  how much is it?"
At that point I thought that he simply could not hear me .
"EIGHTEEN.  ONE-EIGHT!"
"Dollar eighty, that's not bad".
"No, it's NOT a dollar eighty, what can you buy nowadays for a dollar eighty? Certainly not a professional Swiss made tool! It is $18. Which is actually less than what they sell for on eBay!"

He didn't say anything. Instead he bought a set of five Bergeon screwdrivers, as well as tweezers and some other tools.

When I promised the other day that old fashioned 1950s' experience I meant customer service, not 1950s’ prices.  Luckily our supporters are wonderful people, and getting adjusted to millennial prices is just a matter of education.   And when it comes to it, I am the first one to admit how little I know about horological roads less travelled.

Here are two examples.
 
If you asked me yesterday what is the most expensive Bergeon screwdriver, I would have said probably some $50 torque driver. And that guess would be so embarrassingly wrong because the Bergeon Ref. 7965 set of 10 Tork Speed drivers goes for a cool $5,700 Aussie dollars. That is $570 per single screwdriver!

Still not shocked?
How about roughly $12,000 for a set of 10 Petit Pierre screwdrivers? And that is $12K at wholesale price, to a dealer! By the time a single piece is brought into Sydney, it would have to retail at around $1,500 plus GST. Just one single driver.
 
By the way, Petit Pierre was founded in 1973 as a manufacturer of specialised machines for the micro technology industry with great watchmaking experience (movement assembly side). The company is located in the village of Cortaillod, on the Neuchatel Lake, Switzerland. Population: 4,774 spread over the vast land area of 3.67 square kilometres...

"Wow, I am going to buy one PP, just for bragging rights" I told Josh last night.
"No, you aren't. But I'll get you a complete set once you make your first tourbillon" - he generously replied.

Fair enough - horses for courses.
As with anything, dream big but let time do its magic. Patience, mon ami! 


Thursday, February 14, 2019

The talk of the town


For over 100 years a gleeful, eager to please butler wearing a top hat has been synonymous with a fresh sparkling home.

In truth, the butler was a Lancashire gentleman with a passion for silverware.  With an abundance of local, soft Pennine water, and top quality, locally-milled cotton at his fingertips, he set to work to create ingenious ways to polish and clean the very finest of Victorian silver.  Of particular note was his inventive silver polishing cloth which contained a unique combination of silver polishing liquid and local cotton.

With much Victorian fanfare his silver cloth became "the talk of the town" and, so, the Town Talk Polish Company was born in 1895.  As Town Talk became more well-known a talented artist developed the iconic animated image of Mr Town Talk. Practical, reliable, ready to help at the drop of a hat, he continues to represent this fascinating company's values, as well as the highest quality cleaning products for the most beautiful of treasures.

An incredible 124 years later, the Town Talk silver polishing cloth is still considered to be one of the finest available in the world today.

We are proud to be official stockists of not less than 14 Town Talk products and, quite frankly, dealing with the British has proven to be a lot more exciting than dealing with the Swiss.

If you ever need any polishing cloths for watches, silver, gold, glass, spectacles, smartphones or even Ipads, pop into our shop or go online and order on our store at https://shop.clockmaker.com.au/14-polish-clean

Hint:  Any of our Town Talk items would make the perfect gift.                       

Fake Bergeon tools


Oscar Wilde famously said that 'imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.' I disagree: commercial imitation is simply a crime.

The other day I compared Bergeon tools with Patek watches.  Indeed there are countless similarities between the two brands. And one of them is that both are commonly faked.

So here is the question: how can you tell if a tool is genuine Bergeon or a cheap replica? As it is the case with watches - you don't buy a watch, you buy a seller.  The dead giveaways are : low price, lack of original packaging material, missing reference or serial numbers, poor quality and so on.
While from a constructional side a fake tool may look similar to genuine, it will always lack the performance of a quality, well-made, genuine tool.

What amazes me the most is the blatant 'co-branding' where fakers will stamp a tool with both 'Bergeon' and their own brand name. This is a typical Chinese practice - a sign of 'technological patriotism' with clear message: look at us, we can make a tool as good as Swiss, at a fraction of the price, and we don't give a damn about international copyright laws.

While I am an open-minded person, keen to try and review any tool by any maker, regardless of the country of origin,  double-branding seriously puts me off.

And just to make this clear: The Swiss often play the same game: happily re-branding Chinese watch parts, and even some tools, as being made in Switzerland.

Pictured on top: a cheap and nasty movement holder replica; Tianjiu fake Bergeon, and a genuine Bergeon holder. Tianjiu is taking the blatant fakery to the 'next level' by ripping off Bergeon's trademark packaging, colours, description in four languages, reference numbers down to product specifications. (Photo courtesy of eBay).



ORIGINAL Swiss Bergeon Reversible Watch Movement Holder

The Bergeon reversible watch movement holder comes in two sizes: 3 3/4-11mm (4039) and 8 3/4-19mm (4040). Another essential aid, unchanged in design for over 100 years and made to last forever.

In stock

Price: $45




Note: if you are looking for a specific Bergeon tool than we are happy to take your order. Delivery time around 6 weeks .

Our utmost goal is to expand our stock of Swiss watchmakers’ tools to the point where you will be able to get almost everything over the counter, straight away, with no delay.  However, due to the nature of trade and demand for certain tools and products, this is going to be an ongoing project for many years to come.

Until then, every order - regardless of size - matters and remains greatly appreciated.

Here is the link to the online Bergeon catalog:
https://www.bergeon.swiss/download/item/

More Bergeon goodies in stock




Established in 1791, Bergeon Switzerland is the world’s leading supplier of Watchmakers’ tools. If you were to visit their La Chaux-de-Fonds showroom, you would find 3,000 tools on display. But make no mistake - Bergeon is not about the volume - it's all about quality, within an industry used to talking in microns.

How many times have you found yourself in a situation where you wanted to present your business partner with an amazingly sophisticated present – yet you simply could not find one on short notice?

And, what do you give to someone who has it all? Are you still trying to impress them with a bottle of wine or a ticket to a cricket game?

1.  Bergeon set of 10 Screwdrivers

The Bergeon professional watchmaker's screwdriver set is arguably the best
screwdriver set in the world. A set of 10 screwdrivers, boxed in a black Swiss pine case, unmistakeably and clearly labelled "SWISS MADE" will speak volumes about YOUR sophistication. Yes, this is the kind of tool even professional watchmakers can only dream about.

Price: $270

https://shop.clockmaker.com.au/home/105-bergeon-assortment-of-10-screwdrivers-ref-30081-a10.html



2. Bergeon set of 5 screwdrivers

This is a perfect present for your smart grandson, nephew, or niece. Nerdy kids deserve nerdy presents. This one will last forever. A fantastic set for a novice watchmaker or hobbyist.

Price: $79

https://shop.clockmaker.com.au/home/106-bergeon-assortment-of-5-screwdrivers-ref-30081-p05.html



3.  Bergeon 30080-07 1.5mm Screwdriver

There is nothing more annoying than a loose screw on a spectacle hinge!  The Bergeon 30080-07 1.6mm screwdriver is the perfect tool for tightening such screws. A single screwdriver for just $18. This is less than what an optometrist would charge you for a replacement screw.  We have five different individual packed screwdrivers in stock, as well as spare blades for all.

Price: $18

https://shop.clockmaker.com.au/home/111-bergeon-screwdriver-16mm-ref-30080-07.html (pictured)

https://shop.clockmaker.com.au/home/107-bergeon-screwdriver-08mm-ref-30080-03.html

https://shop.clockmaker.com.au/home/108-bergeon-screwdriver-10mm-ref-30080-04.html


https://shop.clockmaker.com.au/home/109-bergeon-screwdriver-12mm-ref-30080-05.html

https://shop.clockmaker.com.au/home/111-bergeon-screwdriver-14mm-ref-30080-06.html



4.  Bergeon Screwdriver Blade Sharpener

Nothing will crash your spirit like a chipped or twisted blade on a new Bergeon screwdriver. But worry not! Screwdriver blades can be easily re-shaped and sharpened with the appropriate tool. Bergeon 2461 is an
absolute MUST. I'll talk about it tomorrow, but if you are placing an order for any screwdrivers and wish to learn how to sharpen them like a pro – then you need this tool. Don't be fooled with cheap Chinese and Indian fake
Bergeon replicas commonly found on eBay!

Our price is $48 for a genuine Bergeon.

https://shop.clockmaker.com.au/home/112-bergeon-screwdriver-sharpener-ref-2461.html

If you buy any screwdriver set AND 2461, we will throw in a perspex board (free of charge). More about that later.

There are tools - and then there are tools



Not all watchmakers’ tools are made the same. A professional tradesman is primarily looking for quality and longevity, as well as serviceability of a tool. Meaning that if you were to invest in a screwdriver, you would not only expect it to last for decades, but you expect that a toolmaker would provide spare blades, invest in research and development of a better tool while continuing to expand the range.

And there is another kind of tools known within the trade as 'boutique tools'.  Those watchmaking tools are simply designed to impress. A Patek or Lange or Cartier technician is not going to use a $10 spring bar tool on a $100,000 watch - but a tool designed to match the quality of the watch itself.

So when it comes to high-end boutique tools,  the undisputed king of bling is tools made by Bergeon.

Bergeon is a Swiss watchmakers’ toolmaker, established in 1791.  Over 228 years of undisrupted history and tradition, and for all those years a synonym for both quality and reputation. A kind of Patek of Swiss toolmaking.

And like Patek, Bergeon sets its own standards and rules.

Yesterday, we got our first delivery of Bergeon tools. Two large boxes filled with screwdrivers, movement holders, tweezers, pliers, two staking sets - and much more. Yes, we are now an official Bergeon AD!

Amongst the tools we now carry in stock are 3 very specific "Boutique Tools" from their prestige "Smile" range: two spring bar double-ended removal tools and one pin pusher. The kind of tools to match your half a million dollar watch; tools designed to be photographed next to any perpetual calendar or tourbillon.

Price? Well - who cares!

If you wonder which spatula you should buy then my advice is - buy both. The difference between the two tools is in the small detail: one spatula is slightly wider than the other and also slightly curved. Both tools are primarily designed for the removal of spring bars on leather straps.

The pin pusher has a 0.80mm diameter tip and is suitable for spring bars fitted on 'pin hole' cases. 
Pin extractorhttp://shop.clockmaker.com.au/home/104-bergeon-smile-line-pin-extractor-ref-7050-609-080.html

Spring bar tools
http://shop.clockmaker.com.au/home/102-bergeon-smile-line-spring-bar-tool-ref-7050-603.html

http://shop.clockmaker.com.au/home/103-bergeon-smile-line-spring-bar-tool-ref-7050-602-s.html


***Bergeon Rodico - $9


My grandfather has been using it for over 70 years, my father for well over 60, and I am using it daily, and there’s not the slightest doubt that my son and my apprentices will use Bergeon Rodico for the rest of their lives.  Unchanged formula.  Unchanged properties.  Simply the best cleaning product designed for watchmakers on the market.

Rodico is a special watchmaker's cleaning product.  It is used for cleaning, balance pivots, train wheel pivots, removing finger prints and stain from plates, bridges, dials, hands; removing excess oil from watch jewels and taking out broken pivots from the jewels.

Equally useful for professionals and watch enthusiasts, and especially those who are taking the case back off their watches or doing minor repairs.

A $9 bar of Rodico will last you for years.  Actually when I think of it, Rodico is so superior that there has never been an attempt by another maker to substitute it.  It’s impossible.

Of course, Bergeon products come in their own Bergeon packaging boxes and, yes, there are watch enthusiasts who simply collect Bergeon as they would collect Rodico watches.  The box itself and all Bergeon packaging material is equally as important as the product itself.

http://shop.clockmaker.com.au/home/101-bergeon-rodico-cleaning-product-ref-6033-30.html

***Polywatch
Polywatch - our short tutorial on polishing plexi/hesalite glasses created a lot of interest, as expected.  However, for those of you who ordered only one a cloth or only the polish you need both to achieve my result.  The cloth itself will not remove scratches.  
Order Microfibre Watch Cleaning Clothhttp://shop.clockmaker.com.au/home/67-watch-cleaning-cloth-18-x-18cm.html

Order Polywatchhttp://shop.clockmaker.com.au/home/99-polywatch-plastic-polish.html


If you missed our tutorial on how to perfectly polish plexi glass in under 3 minutes visit our blog:
https://nickhacko.blogspot.com/2019/02/diy-how-to-perfectly-polish-plexi-glass.html

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

DIY - How to perfectly polish plexi glass in under 3 minutes

You've asked for it, and here it is: THE MAGIC 

How to polish plexi/hesalite/plastic glass LIKE A PRO in less than 3 minutes.

I absolutely *HATE* snake oil merchants. And, as you know, the majority of products that claim miraculous results are just lame stuff, designed to be sold to na├»ve and gullible buyers. Clearly, if I am to endorse a product then (1)  it has to work, (2) it has to work every time and for everyone, (3) it has to be super affordable and, above all, a brilliantly simple solution.

The 'MAGIC' does all 3 and you'll be impressed.

STEP ONE 

Since I didn't have any scratched plexi glass watches in stock, I've scratched my own Omega Moonwatch with 20 microns sandpaper so badly that the apprentices went "wow".

Bloody hell. Of course, you can skip this step - since your plexi glass is probably already showing some scuff marks you want to get rid of.     

          

STEP TWO

Scratch removal tools:

- $7 MIRACLE Microfibre watch cloth from Town Talk http://shop.clockmaker.com.au/home/67-watch-cleaning-cloth-18-x-18cm.html
- $7 PolyWATCH polish (Germany) http://shop.clockmaker.com.au/home/99-polywatch-plastic-polish.html

Cut the cloth in two pieces.

     

STEP THREE
 

Apply a small amount of Polywatch paste to both the cloth and plexi glass.

           

STEP FOUR

Polish! Rub in both a circular and linear motion the entire surface of the crystal, especially vigorously over the scratched/scuffed areas.

It should take less than a minute to remove 95% of all imperfections. Re-apply the polishing paste a couple more times and continue to polish.

           

STEP FIVE

Use the second half of the cloth (clean piece) and polish the plexi glass for 1 more minute WITHOUT paste. This is your final rub, as you are aiming to bring the surface to a mirror finish, cleaning all the residue.



YOU ARE DONE!

The end result is so impressive that you will remain speechless! A pure mirror finish!

                     

 

Of course, you will be left with so much polishing paste that you can repeat the process every few months, keeping your plexi spotless. It goes without saying that polishing your plexi glass before putting your watch up for sale could make the difference of hundreds of dollars.

Why does it work so powerfully? Simply, it is a combination of perfect German plastic polishing paste and top quality English microfibre cloth.

Just two tips: remove all residue with a clean cloth and don’t apply any polish to the pushers and winding crown. (If you accidentally do, wipe it with a warm water damped cloth, then dry well). 

THE MAGIC works on any plastic glass, regardless of the watch brand -  Omega Moonwatches, Omega Speedmaster Reduceds, TAG Heuer, Rolex plastic Subs/GMT Masters down to humble Swatch watches.

Polywatch and a full range of English Town Talk cloths are available both at our online shop and over the counter in our store.

To place your order go to:  http://shop.clockmaker.com.au/14-polish-clean

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Manufactured in Australia



The first H batch of 25 watches is here.

I have been writing this announcement in my head for the past 12 months - from the moment our small team first realised that one day we will be able to machine and manufacture crucial watch components in Australia, in our own humble workshop. Yet today, after assembling H00/25, the very first watch proudly signed "Manufactured in Australia" I simply feel tired, struggling to even pull myself together to make the announcement. There is no adrenaline, no euphoria, no celebration; no self-congratulation.

As they say: the reward is not the destination but the journey itself.  And while we have reached an important milestone, our journey has really just begun.

Make no mistake: while claiming the right to this prestigious title, we recognise that there are probably dozens or more well-equipped machining workshops in Australia which could have the capabilities of making a wrist watch. Cochlear, Resmed, Rhode, ANCA, scientists from CSIRO - they could all have done it. But they didn't think a watch project was worth the trouble, the investment in time and money. And - above all - unlike us, they didn't have a point to make or a race to run.

Is every component in H made in Australia? Of course not. That was simply not our goal. The main objective of the project was to answer just three questions: What does it take to understand, clone and then genetically modify the watch 'DNA'? Could that be done in total insulation, on a remote island, with limited watchmaking expertise and no watchmaking tradition? And would such a watch be affordable to Australian watch enthusiasts?  The answer to the first two crucial questions is ticking quietly on my workbench. The third question will be answered in coming weeks.

In essence, the H is all about engineering, manufacturing and integration. We proved that our in-house design main plates and bridges, winding stems to dial fasteners, can be perfectly 'synchronised' with Swiss-made components - creating a complex, robust, reliable and accurate timepiece. And I am not just throwing in that adjective 'perfectly' lightly, casually and disrespectfully: on the contrary; reaching sub-micron precision is only something a fellow engineer would understand and appreciate.

To sum it up: H is an engineer's watch, designed for an engineer looking for a timepiece with a unique story and origin.

I bow down to Josh who, in just 12 months, mastered both Kern and R04 and who spent countless nights designing and machining tools, fixtures and finally our parts; and to Andrew, who was a reliable team member responsible for design, drawings and measuring while mastering Makino EDM. Without the two of them I would have no role to play.

And the price is ...?

Impossible to calculate. We tried to base it on investment costs, on the cost of tooling and material, on the cost of labour ranging from an engineer’s hourly rate down to humble workshop labourer's minimum wages - and any price we came up with simply didn't made sense. For the lack of better judgement, my guess is that $5,000 + GST for a priceless watch may not be an accurate reflection of our commitment to you - but at least fair and reasonable, taking into account that our time is yet to come.

Where do we go from here?

Right now, the first H number 00 is ready for your inspection. All components – including dials and hands – are in stock, and we are awaiting gold plating on about half of the bridges. The gold plating is still our biggest nightmare, but the decision has been made to accept whatever result we can get right now, complete the assembly, and make the watch available to the public. We are also developing our own ‘in house’ gold-plating capabilities which will allow us to re-plate (if needed) all components when the watch is due for its first service.

Yes, we are taking your orders now. However, there is no time for fake modesty: to call yourself a proud owner of the first ever ‘Manufactured in Australia’ wristwatch is a privilege. We are looking for partners who appreciate our efforts, supporters who clearly understand the importance of this project, and ambassadors who are proud to be associated with us. If this is you, you are welcome to contact us promptly to secure your watch. Priority will be given to existing orders, and we are also opening the waitlist for the next batch of 25 pieces to be available in July/August.

The H manufactured in Australia mechanism is fitted in Titanium 45mm case with Australian hand-made leather strap.  The photos provided are just quick shots taken with mobile phone camera, with no intention to impress you.  The only way to appreciate the workmanship will be once you inspect the watch in person.  You are welcome to make an appointment.   

                 


Well, I told you so



Recently we got an email from Jim who had just received his three loupes in the mail.  To say that he was happy is an understatement.

He wrote, "My three loupes arrived today. I instantly checked them out and I'm very impressed with the quality.  When I compared them to my Chinese/Indian 4X and 10X the difference was amazing.  Items viewed through all three are clearer (in fact, crystal clear), colours seem to be more vivid, and the field of view is discernibly brighter.  There's also much less vignetting at the periphery compared to the cheapo ones.  Another happy customer.
Cheers,
Jim"


We are really grateful for Jim's feedback but this is hardly a surprise.  I have been using an ASCO loupe for years, as well as all the apprentices, and the reason why we sell them is because we are happy customers too!  Actually our plan is to expand the range with new models to arrive soon.

*** Professional watchmaker's loupes

And not just for watch enthusiasts: a perfect gift for a stamp or coin collector - or anyone interested in fine detail.

It's not too late to get 1, 2 or 3 loupes for yourself or a friend. 
$29 each plus delivery.  (If you buy 3 loupes delivery is free!) 

Visit our online store to place your order

http://shop.clockmaker.com.au/

Daily prayer



Those of you who have been subscribers to our newsletter for years certainly know who I am and what I stand for.  However, if you are still in doubt then let me tell you this.  When I open my eyes in the morning, I don’t pray, “Lord, today allow me to be a shining example of humbleness and modesty.” That’s not me.  Rather, I pray, “Lord, today I need your strength to keep fighting corrupt corporations and big brands so that the smallest watch brand in the world may thrive and prosper for generations to come".  And for that to happen God and I need to work together.  My part in that partnership is to find the absolutely best product for loyal rebelde supporters.

The rebelde carbon fibre Made in Germany iridium nib fountain pen is our flagship writing instrument.  The events that led to getting our name on it can only be described as a miracle - but that is a story for another day.  Let me just say that I am extremely proud of our fountain pen, and I have no doubt that you will be truly impressed as well.

In stock.  $250 with free delivery or collect in person.

Fine nib.  Both catridge and bladder included.

The buckles have landed

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About six weeks ago, we were happy to report that we were expecting delivery of our stainless steel buckles, machined out of surgical steel.   Good news!  The buckles arrived last week and we have already shipped free samples to the first 20 subscribers who put their hands up last year.  Of course, due to the overwhelming response we could not send a free buckle to all.

However, if you would like to order one, the price is $35.

The buckle is 18mm wide and comes with a slender pin – which means it’s perfect for fine, thin, leather straps like those on Omega and IWC watches.  The photo above shoes the straps for our upcoming Mark 1 automatic watch (both kangaroo leather and Italian cowhide).  The kangaroo leather straps are made by James B. Young in the Northern Territory.  As our buckles can be shipped in a flat envelope we will throw in free delivery on buckle orders.

PS:  Once again, the $35 is the for buckle only and not for the buckle and strap.             

  

Happy Collecting,

Nick