Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Looking into watchmaking

I find myself in between projects and just simply needed something new to take on. I have always been curious of watch movements and spurred on by my recent purchase of a Seiko 5 SNK809 off of Amazon, my curiosity for the inner workings of a mechanical watch has been re-ignited.

I began my research on the web first and have come across several sites of other's who have had the same idea; "just how hard is it to learn how to work on a watch"? I have been getting into various conversions of a Hamilton pocket watch movement in to a wrist watch along with other larger dial movements such as an Unitas/ETA 6497 and 6498 movements.

What are my first steps? tools and knowledge absorption. What tools do I already own that can also be used for watchmaking, what tools can I modify or fabricate, finally of the tools I have to buy; which ones can be cheap and which ones not. My first resource for both knowledge and tool selection has been, "Master Watchmaking: Tools and Materials of the Trade" by Byron G. Sweazey. This 58 page book describes the various tools used for watchmaking as written in 1952. Fortunately, the hand tools for the watchmaking trade really hasn't changed since the 18th century, if not older.

I make a basic list of tools and cross off what I already own, research and locate cheap versions of tools I can skimp on and locating what nicer (more cost) tools and went to purchase. While at it, a couple more books to order, 'Watchmaking' by George Daniels and I tracked down a hardcover copy of, 'The Watchmaker's Handbook: Intended as a workshop companion for those engaged in watchmaking and allied arts: illustrated American edition revised and enlarged' by Claudius Saunier and Henry G. Abbot.

Next to find some watch pieces, I found a working example of a Hamilton 917 movement pocket watch from the 50's and now to locate a non-working version to compare against a working one and to fix. I can not wait until I get started, I think I may also start with ordering a Unitas 6498 and a case and have a go at a watch creation sooner rather later.


  1. Awesome site, I just posted a comment and it disappeared after asking me to sign into google, arrrggggg. Anyway I started from newest posts while looking up something for a NetApp oddly enough but was intrigued enough to end up here on your oldest post where you began your quest for knowledge. Great site keep doing the conversions.

    1. Any new curiosities for you lately? I haven't written a post in a while, but have plenty of new things...

  2. Thank you very much and I most certainly will continue my quest for knowledge. Recently it's been refining my cooking skills, but have a few other projects in mind as well.