Thursday, August 27, 2020

The Moon watch video you have been waiting for...


It took us exactly a week to produce this restoration video. It features the iconic 1969 Omega Speedmaster - 'The Moon Watch". The ‘before’ and 'after' images speak for themselves, but what you will be impressed with, is the complexity of the mechanism. Whether you are a watch enthusiast or a crazy Speedmaster fanatic, this video will take your appreciation of watch collecting to the next level.

Watch here:

Do you really want THIS Speedmaster?

The Omega Speedmaster Mark 4 Professional Automatic was launched in 1974. It was fitted with Calibre 1045, a second generation of automatic chronometer movements. The first one was cal.1041 but while the two movements were designed and released in a span of just two years, the 1045 will be remembered as the ugliest Omega movement ever manufactured.

And by ugly I mean cheap crap containing cheap plastic parts and cheaply stamped unfinished sheet metal levers. The shame of Swiss manufacturing, a disgrace to fine mechanical engineering; a blasphemy to design, an abomination of horology. 

Rightly, you ask “why?” The answer is simple: the writing was on the wall - the end of mechanical watches was nearing fast. The Swiss Titanic was sinking, and in desperation, Raoul-Henri Erard and Albert Piguet thought that the cheaply made calibre 1045 will be the lifebuoy they desperately needed. It surely wasn't.

As Napoleon once said, “What is history but a fable, agreed upon?” - and horological history, like all else, is written by the winners. Omega reference book ‘Omega - a journey through time’ mentions calibre 1045 briefly, as a 'derivative' of 1041. By definition, derivative is a product having a value deriving from an underlying variable asset. And while 1041 was an asset which could lend itself for improvement, 1045 failed to deliver any value at all.

The bottom line: stay away from any 50 year old watches containing plastic parts. Such watches are not only difficult to repair, but finding spare parts, is almost impossible. Even when parts are available, plastic
deteriorates over time. Common signs of deterioration include discoloration (yellowing or opacifying), crazing and cracking, warping, or parts simply 'become sticky'. None of what you want or need in a mechanical watch.

Today, we have completed yet another restoration of Omega calibre 1045. And by 'we' I mean Andrew who slaved for two days to get the Mark 4 back into working order. "Never again" I say, but then again, watchmakers are like dogs - throw them a stick and they'll run to catch it.

You should be smarter: as a collector, you simply cannot afford to put you’re hard earned cash into a watch - regardless of brand - which fails a basic longevity test. There are literally thousands of great Omega models out there waiting for you; so save your pennies for cooler stuff.

So how can we help you?


1. Battery operated watches

Regardless of maker, Swiss battery operated watches (also known as quartz watches) are repairable even when 20 or 30 years old. 
>From a simple battery replacement and water resistance test to complete overhaul or mechanism replacement - we do them all.

2. Rolex

Our speciality is vintage Rolex watches made from 1960 to 2000, sports models like Submariner and GMT Master, Explorer, as well as Datejust and Presidents. Complete overhaul starts at around $950. Restoration starts at $1500 plus parts. If you have a modern Rolex which is less than 10 years old, our suggestion is to send it directly to Rolex. No, we are not an authorised service centre for Rolex - nor any other brand - we are proudly independent.

3. Omega

Again, we love Speedmaster Moon watches made before 2010. Complete overhaul starts at $750 plus parts for relatively modern examples, to a couple of thousand for late 1960s to 1970s. Seamaster and non-chronograph models range from $500. We religiously don't touch calibre 8500 or later due to lack of spare parts.

4. Breilting, Panerai, Hublot?

Easy to repair, but DEFINITELY NO - due to ridiculous 'no parts to independent watchmakers' policy. 

5. AP, Patek, JLC, Lange?

High grade watches require specialists tools, specialists training and access to spare parts. As such, they should be sent to their maker/brand.

6. All other brands?

>From case to case. If spare parts are available, then yes, we can fix it.

Please keep in mind that Swiss brands are flooded with repair work. Turnaround time is 3-6 months and in some cases even a year. Our turnaround time is around 6 weeks. We don't chase work nor compete with brands. Our charges reflect our level of expertise and the majority of our customers are watch collectors. The first step is to email us a photo of your watch and let us know what's wrong with it. If we can help then you are welcome to drop your watch in person or send it by registered mail. However if you are to visit us then please arrange for an appointment. Thank you for your cooperation.

Buying and selling:

Have a watch to sell? Send us a photo and some indication as to how much would you like to get for it. We'll reply promptly. 

Selling is easy: our stock changes daily and what's available is listed online. For your convenience we offer a four instalment 90 day lay-by. We call it "The frugal deal". It works - almost half of our watches are now sold this way and you are loving it. We live in uncertain times and at the end of the day, watch collecting is a hobby, so acquiring a piece to add to your collection should be enjoyable, with no sales pressure, a risk free transaction. 

Instagram. The majority of our Instagram followers are fellow machinists and watchmakers. If you are on Instagram and would like to see new watch  parts manufactured in Australia, then you are welcome to follow us at

Watchmaker’s tools shop. This is a serious matter: Swiss tools are disappearing fast! Even those tools which are still in production are difficult to obtain. Just a couple of examples: the jewelling tool we've placed an order for and paid for in full, 12 months ago, is yet to be delivered. The Bergeon 'economy' screwdriver set of five is our best selling item – Bergeon is out of stock. Same for hands removal tool. And the list goes on. On Friday, my Swiss contact emailed me to let me know that a famous watch case manufacturer who is to celebrate 150 years in business went out of business, permanently. Modern facility, 40 people, all specialists – gone forever. Under ‘normal circumstances’ they would be easily be absorbed or taken over by a major brand, but times are not normal and the Swiss watch industry is contracting. Bottom line: take good care of your Swiss tools and don’t hold your breath for discount. Link to our tools shop is here:

YouTube is a new project. There are at least a dozen reasons why we create horological video content. Video production is a fantastic learning opportunity to all of us. It sharpens our attention to detail and it allows you to see what watchmaking is all about; persistence and patience. Watches are complex precision instruments that require regular maintenance. Right now we are documenting a Speedmaster Moon watch restoration project. You will be amazed with the complexity and skills required, and in return, your appreciation for your own watch will grow exponentially. Our best customers are educated and appreciative customers! When you subscribe to our channel, you are not just helping us grow, but helping us pass on the skills to other watchmakers and students. Link to our channel:

Our biggest challenge

Dealing with impatience and unrealistic expectations. The vast majority of our customers are very reasonable people, but Covid times are clearly putting some stress on others. “Is my watch ready?”, “Why has the parcel not been delivered yet?”, “I’ve emailed you the other day and haven’t heard back?” – these are all normal and valid questions. Except that times are NOT normal. We should be grateful that the postal and courier service is still somehow functional, but the system is overloaded and slow. If you haven’t heard from us then that’s most likely because we are yet to hear from our supplier. We take customer service seriously, and quite frankly, we know that the vast majority of our customers are over the moon. We also strive to improve our customer service whenever possible, but if you are not happy with what we have to offer then perhaps, your expectations are a little unrealistic.

By appointment only

To make an appointment to visit us is super easy: call 02 9232 0500 or email to . We are open Monday – Friday from 10-4pm . Please keep in mind that we don’t keep stock on premises. We are a super busy workshop, not a showroom. Thank you for your cooperation

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Do you have an eye for detail?

Can you see it?

Of course you can. It's an escape wheel jewel from a Seiko 7S26 movement. Yes, it's tiny. In today's video, Andrew and I talk about different shock resistance devices in wrist watches - and why the function of these devices can not be assumed by how they look. 

You should watch it - for no other reason than from an educational standpoint. The video is only 6 minutes long and I guarantee your appreciation of both horology and the work involved in the servicing of your watch will increase significantly.

Let me be clear: we are not making YouTube videos for entertainment purposes only. Our goal is to share with you what horology is all about. Every member of our small team is actively engaged in the production. The content that comes from independent watchmakers is unbiased and the result of decades of practical experience gained behind the bench - the only content you can trust. 

Monday, August 17, 2020

Apprentice Book Review - Chloe


Mr Oatley- The Celebrated Watchmaker

A review of the book Mr Oatley- The Celebrated Watchmaker, a book filled with the wins and losses of early Australian convict life and the path to working as a free man of the country. Small drawings depict the referenced material throughout and there is no dull moment in the story of this mans life, as this review explores just a small facet of his life.

'At least twelve have survived, each dial engraved 'Oatley, Sydney' , and most are numbered and dated with the year. They date between 1820 and 1827, and are numbered between 7 and 31. All but one have cedar cases. Clock No.19 is now in the Mint Museum, the restored south wing of the Rum Hospital, which stands next to Hyde Park Barracks in Macquarie St, Sydney. It is dated 1822 and has an eight day weight driven movement with a thirty inch long seconds pendulum. It strikes on the hour, and on the face there is a seconds dial above the figure 6. The dial is silvered copper and the clock case of Australian cedar is 8feet 7 inches high. '

Mr Oatley, or James Oatley may not be names that ring a bell for some, however after reading this book and it's descriptions of the township of Sydney in its youth, to the history of Oatley himself, it is clear that he has left a mark on Sydney today, if you only know where to look. Oatley was a watch and clockmaker by trade and was born in England, but much like many men of England, he stole and paid the price in transportation to Australia. Once there, his previous occupation was noted in the muster and he rose to prominence as the townships official government clock maintainer, however he was superseded by Mr Robertson in 1822. Oatley then moved to open his own business and later was given the challenge of the clock in Hyde Park Barracks.

The clock of Hyde Park Barracks and it's maker is highly disputed, as parts resemble that of those made in England by parts makers, however certain other parts show the skill of Oatley making from the junk metals around him. The dial itself is an example of this as it appears to have been made from copper sheathing plates off of the ships as metals such as copper were expensive and hard to source, so he turned to the most viable source available, ships. The dire need for this clock also pushed this turret clock into creation as an Act of Parliament passed in 1799, placed a tax on watches, thereby forcing many to rely on publicly displayed clocks, thus Oatley's need to complete the clock with the resources around him. The clock slowly has been added to, with the bell coming later as the township gained more income to fund such a project.

The Oatley property in George St was bought by Oatley himself and granted by the governing body, to open his watch and clockmaking workshop. He occupied it throughout his lifetime and his son continued the workshop after his death. Later a jeweller by the name of William Kerr moved into the Oatley premises of 544 George St. This being a place of proximity to the wealthy and leading citizens allowed Kerr to secure a commission to make the gold mounted trowel and mallet for laying the foundation stone of the Great Hall of Sydney Town Hall in November of 1883. These premises then passed to the Kerr brothers from 1922 to 1938, where it now stands as the Commonwealth Banking Corporation. 

Oatley has many more stories and incidences throughout his life and much more is explored throughout the book, it is almost impossible to describe the book in a single way other than this: a life history of one man and many others sprinkled throughout, and such a short history of a time of Sydney in its youth. A very good read whilst small it has many images and many stories and facts of the city of Sydney that truly connects the past with the now.                          

Seiko DIY disassembly and reassembly tutorial: Chapter 3.

Pulling the watch mechanism apart is not difficult at all - especially if you handle the components with care.
The most delicate of all is the balance wheel assembly which consists of 3 parts: the large and heavy balance cock, balance wheel and rather super delicate hair spring. This is the very heart of the watch - one slip of a screwdriver, sudden move or flip over and the heart is gone.

Yet if you watch the video you will see how it's done. And yes, this delicate operation can be performed successfully even by a hobbyist as long as the instructions are followed and the process is understood.

Again, there is a bit of a homework: sorting out and identifying the screws. There are 5 types of screws and while they are small, all of them are distinctively different. Easy.

Even if you are not a part of the Seiko DIY group, you should really watch this short video. Educational, fast paced and to the point.
And if you do wish to join our Yahoo group, here is the link:

Friday, August 14, 2020

Seiko Day / Date disc disassembly


Featuring: Why Seiko makes plastic wheels? How to pull apart calendar work and how to handle plastic parts.

If you are a watch owner then you will love it. The watch mechanism is a miracle of mechanical engineering and precision. Watch parts are light, well made and not easy to handle so taking a good care of your watch is essential. 

The bottom line is this: if you watch the video and conclude 'not a big deal, I can surely do it' than this mean our tutorial works. And yes, you should do it. 

Watch here:

Yes, you can do it!


There is no doubt that face to face gathering wont resume any time soon. Especially so, our Watchmaking classes.
Yet strangely enough, 'thanks' to coronavirus, our classes are now moving to YouTube. 

Yes, you can do it. Actually, any technically minded person willing to follow straightforward instructions will be able to complete our course. Once again, we are pulling apart a trustworthy Seiko 5 fitted with a 7S26 movement - the pride and joy of Japanese horology. A simple 'no frills ' watch which you will get to know inside and out. As we say, nothing beats that special feeling of being able to tell the world that YOU have pull a watch apart - and put it back together - yourself. 

This instalment is just under 10 minutes and Andrew and myself are showing how to take the mechanism out of the case, then to remove stem, hands and dial. Your feedback is needed: feel free to let us know if the tutorial is easy to follow and are you able to see clearly what is going on.

Of course, there are many 'pull apart' watch videos on YouTube, but our course is different: we are real watchmakers with unparalleled interest in helping you to complete the course. 

Watch it here:

Monday, August 10, 2020

Test yourself - Do you have an attention to detail?

The video starts with a question: Do you have an attention to detail? Then, we show you an image and you have to figure out what's not quite right with the object presented.

If you can figure it out, then - CONGRATULATIONS - you possess efficient allocation of cognitive resources in order to identify and process the relevant elements of an issue, task or dimension. Or as we say: you are watchmaking material.

(If you've got it - do let us know in the comments)

This video is called 'How to sharpen and shape watchmakers' screwdrivers and it is a pre-requirement for our Seiko online course. 

Test yourself here:

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Workshop Update

Another important milestone: all 10 components of the three quarter bridge assembly of NH2 are now designed and made in-house. The project started with development of the ratchet wheel and from there we moved to click and click spring, crown wheel and crown wheel hat , all held down by four different types of screws.

While our parts are CNC machined for precision,  many hours are spent on hand finishing and polishing. All these skills are homegrown and for the first time in the history of Australia we have the live and kicking prototype of what one day is going to be a true in-house watch mechanism.

As promised: Horology Do-It-Yourself

The first ten essential watchmaking tools that will get you started.

One rule here: buy the best tools you can afford - and buy them from someone you can trust. 

The recommendation list is a result of decades 'behind the bench' experience you can only get from a practising Master Watchmaker.
Yes, we do have tools to sell, but the purpose of this video is not to sell you the tools, but to make your life easier by pointing you in the right direction. It's all here: suppliers, tool numbers, prices and more.
Only 4 minutes long, it's a must watch.

Note: a company in Queensland that has been selling 'Nicholas Hacko' branded watchmaking tool kits, has been doing so without my approval or consent. The only tools that I personally recommend are the tools featured in this video.

"This is the only thing grandpa took with him when he left Berlin". No pressure...

If you wondered why you didn't get the newsletter since Thursday: well there wasn't one sent. We had simply run out of time recording the new 'behind the bench' video. As the person in charge of our YouTube, Bobby came up with a plan to install a 2.5 kg camera right over the bench which would allow us to film above the bench shots. That required a mini crane and some fine balancing, but once we assembled the rig, the rigidity and balancing was even better than expected. So we got carried away recording the restoration of a 1910 Glashütter pocket watch.
The restoration was one of the most difficult projects recently undertaken. The entire watch was completely gummed up. Fifty or sixty years ago, it was over-lubricated with the wrong oil. It was most likely one containing animal fat (which was not that uncommon back then).  Not a single gear could move - despite the fact that the main spring was still fully coiled. Dissembling the watch 'under full power' is a recipe for disaster, but there was simply no other way of doing it.  I am not going to spoil your enjoyment, but you should definitely take a moment and watch the video. 
This week we will start transferring our Seiko DIY project onto YouTube. This is a project for hobbyists who want to take up watchmaking as a hobby.  Over the years thousands of students all over the world undertook our online course and managed to disassemble and reassemble their Seiko.  I am still receiving complimentary emails from happy students. Since we now have enough man power to create YouTube videos, this mini video series called 'Seiko for novice horologists' will soon be available online. The first chapter starts with a list of recommended tools and quick show and tell on how to sharpen the screwdrivers properly. For investment of around $300-$400 in tools, you would be on your way in no time. I can not recommend a better hobby for anyone regardless of age, gender or your skill level- than watchmaking.  Every step of disassembly and reassembly will be recorded and explained in detail so there is no doubt that it can be done. The secret? Patience following instructions, quality tools and plenty of light.

The sense of accomplishment once your Seiko is reassembled is simply overwhelming.  Even if you lose or break a part that would be just a temporary hurdle. Most Seiko parts are still available so there is no reason not to complete the project. Just to point out the obvious: an investment in quality watchmaking tools is a priceless investment in itself.

Stay tuned for more! 

Behind the bench

I have just uploaded a two minute video showing day 1 of the restoration project of an 1860's gold pocket watch. The mechanism contains over 120 components and features a stop watch and minute repeater function. Every single component is hand finished and the quality of workmanship is simply amazing. These are not ordinary parts, these are actually some of the most difficult components to make due to their complex geometry. The disassembly and assessment of the quarter repeater took 6 hours. The watch came in with a broken minute wheel which was made in our workshop. 

The main challenge is the removal of the surface rust which effects almost every steel component in the watch. 

This video is only two minutes long so please check it out:

The Art of Guilloché

(/ɡɪˈloʊʃ/; or guilloche) 

is a decorative technique in which a very precise, intricate and repetitive pattern is mechanically engraved into an underlying material via engine turning, which uses a machine of the same name, also called a rose engine lathe.

Today, only a handful of specialist guillocheur, outside of Switzerland, make the watch dials following the traditional methods on vintage hand operated rose-engines. Joshua Shapiro from California  is one of those artisans. 

Last year Joshua needed assistance with slicing meteorite for his new dial project-  we were happy to help.  We also made a number of rather intricate racks for his straight guilloche machine. He is a fine young man and we continue to collaborate offering our machining skills and capabilities.

His latest project was the 'Infinity watch' which generated global interest. The entire batch was sold out. The prices for the steel version was USD$21,000 and gold $29,000. He is currently busy designing and making parts for his in-house mechanism.

Horology Raw & Uncut, 57 minutes interview with Josh Shapiro is a must watch for any watch enthusiasts - especially is you are interest to learn more about guilloche dial making, rose engine and history of the craft. 

Watch it here:
If you subscribe to our YouTube channel, you will help us grow. Our intention is to introduce you to some of the most eminent independent horologist.
Make sure to like us and leave your comment. Thank you.