Tuesday, November 19, 2019

One challenging restoration: Patek Philippe Nautilus bracelet

This was one of those annoying jobs: fixing other ‘watchmaker’s’ errors.

In short: the previous repairer decided to ‘fix’ a worn out Patek bracelet pins with mild steel pins. In about year or so, these new pins were literally eaten away by sweat. Consequently, the bracelet disintegrated into a number of pieces. According to the owner, Patek service centre was not impressed and suggested ‘full bracelet replacement only’ quoting $17,000. Can we help?

The job was approached in stages: drilling out all pins, paying special attention to alignment. Then making the new set of pins – this time out of stainless steel. Reaming out gold mid links by hand, then riveting the links together one at the time, polishing by hand. Last stage: making one missing Nautilus casing screw. The screw was made in CNC lathe meaning programming, tooling and turning of just one piece in a machine designed to produce thousands of the screws at time. Kind of transporting single 10kg box on a semitrailer from Sydney to Perth! Possible, but crazy.

Total repair cost: $1,200. Would we do it again? Probably not.
The most challenging part of the restoration was finding the exact centre of the pins to drill through. This photo shows a microscope installed directly into the spindle of schaublin 102 lathe. 

No comments: