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