Wednesday, March 11, 2020
NH2 No.12 Timascus/Titanium
Of course, no two independents are the same and each one will have its own story to tell. For some of them, it's all about the design, others focus on finishes or complications, and a handful even embark on a journey of making their own watch components in their own workshops. The final product reflects everything that the independent stands for, and since the watch manufacturing process is an endless pursuit of perfection and creativity loaded with technical challenges so are the timepieces themselves. A practical creative journal in time.
Independents have been around for ever but its only in the past 20 years -thanks to the internet- that their work has become known to a wider audience. Yet only a few have attained true global recognition including F P Journe, Philippe Dufour, Derek Pratt, Constantin Chaykin, Kari Voutilainen, Vianney Halter.
If watchmaking is a calling, then independent watchmaking is a curse. A lifetime of solitude, trying to prove a point- whatever that point might be. One thing is certain: independent watchmaking is not about money it is about satisfaction.
This morning, after two months of making, NH2 No.12 Timascus/Titanium movement has finally been completed. This is our first watch featuring guilloche decoration on a 3/4 bridge and balance cock. No. 12 is the most challenging project so far, and even last week I still wasn't sure whether the watch would be completed. While giving up was never an option, the longer we worked on it, it became more and more obvious that No. 12 is a labour of love.
The most difficult moment was on 19th February, when late Wednesday night, I got a phone call from Josh informing me that the main spindle on a Kern had to be shut down. The pump which circulates the coolant liquid through the main spindle had failed. Calls like this from the workshop are the calls I dread the most.
Bringing the mill in for service could mean weeks of delay and tens of thousands of euros. The worst feeling of all is the uncertainty. My only instruction to Josh was 'Gather as much data as you can, and contact the Germans'. It was around midnight when Josh called again. He was able to disassemble the pump motor, and pinpoint the fault- a failed impeller and pressure valve. By 10 o'clock Monday morning our pump parts arrived in Sydney. On Tuesday, the five axis mill was back in action.
NH2 No. 12 is much more than a watch, it is testimony of what is possible when enthusiastic and talented young independent watchmakers work together. It is also a testimony to 'Manufactured in Australia'. A small colony down under, probably the least suitable country for watchmaking of all.
NH2 No.12 Timascus/Titanium is available for inspection at our Sydney office.
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