Mechanical Watch
May 5, 2022 2:38 PM   Subscribe

In the world of modern portable devices, it may be hard to believe that merely a few decades ago the most convenient way to keep track of time was a mechanical watch.
posted by Devils Rancher (53 comments total) 72 users marked this as a favorite
 
I saw this the other day! He has other cool videos describing mechnical function in incredibly great detail. Does anyone know what library is used to create this? I looked at the source and it is uncompressed Javascript with no usual attribution headers.
posted by geoff. at 2:44 PM on May 5 [1 favorite]


It's hand-written javascript and WebGL. Check out his other entries too... his blog is a masterwork.
posted by MengerSponge at 2:46 PM on May 5 [4 favorites]


Note to anyone worried about performance: you can "globally pause" all the animations if it seems like the tab is going slow.

Amazing post, I've only just begun.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 3:09 PM on May 5 [1 favorite]


I still mostly keep track of time with a mechanical watch; it's easier and frequently more discreet to look at my wrist than it is to dig my phone out of a pocket. An accuracy of plus or minus around ten seconds a day is acceptable for most of the purposes I need to know the time for, and I'm just geeky enough to appreciate wearing a piece of fine precision engineering on my wrist.
posted by Pseudonymous Cognomen at 3:11 PM on May 5 [5 favorites]


An accuracy of plus or minus around ten seconds a day is acceptable for most of the purposes I need to know the time for.

You say "most". What are the exceptions?
posted by Paul Slade at 3:26 PM on May 5 [3 favorites]


On my first day at work for IBM (almost 50 years ago), I had just gotten an inexpensive Timex. Felt somewhat like a grownup.
I got a tour of a new 370 installation, where the guys were testing the disk drive. This disk model had a permanent magnet that weighed over 30 pounds. Next day, I noticed that my watch had stopped.
Apparently, balance wheels like magnets as much as credit cards do.
A trip to the degausser, and good as new again.

I like the animations, but the whole thing is kind of 'duh' for me. Doesn't everyone know how a mechanical watch works? Dial telephones? Slide rules??
/boomer
posted by MtDewd at 3:48 PM on May 5 [8 favorites]


I still mostly keep track of time with a mechanical watch; it's easier and frequently more discreet to look at my wrist than it is to dig my phone out of a pocket.

I don't wear a watch very often, but whenever I am in a long meeting and forget to wear one, I regret it. Checking the time on your phone is much more obvious than just glancing at your wrist.
posted by Dip Flash at 4:06 PM on May 5 [3 favorites]


I like the animations, but the whole thing is kind of 'duh' for me. Doesn't everyone know how a mechanical watch works?

No! I mean I have some idea that there's a spring that gets wound up to store energy and there are gears and whatnot but... no. Until I saw this page I had no real idea how a watch actually worked. This is wonderful.
posted by bondcliff at 4:06 PM on May 5 [18 favorites]


How the hell did these things precede indoor plumbing?
posted by paper chromatographologist at 4:18 PM on May 5 [16 favorites]


I bought a really cheap see through mechanical pocket watch off aliexpress a couple years back, just so my nephews could see how they work. We put it under a microscope, and it kept them entertained for a while. It cost like $13 shipped, which is mind boggling in itself, and it actually does work reasonably well. The movement has at least 9 or 10 jewels and could at least theoretically be regulated. The rest of the watch is pretty crappy and gaudy, but it's a nice demonstration piece.

I do own a couple decent mechanical/automatic watches, but I have to admit, I always go back to wearing a cheap plastic Casio digital. It's just too convenient, accurate, and trouble free.
posted by 2N2222 at 4:20 PM on May 5


Check out his other entries too... his blog is a masterwork.
Indeed. There's a previously for his post about cameras and lenses.

If you want a different way to see how a watch (well, a clock) works, I suggest the wonderful and soothing Clickspring series on making a mechanical clock. (also previously)
posted by cardioid at 4:30 PM on May 5 [6 favorites]


Neat! Thanks!
posted by Eideteker at 4:30 PM on May 5


...it's easier and frequently more discreet to look at my wrist than it is to dig my phone out of a pocket

I've long regarded my phone as a modern pocket watch and actually like pulling it out of my front pants pocket to consult it. All it needs is a fob.
posted by Insert Clever Name Here at 4:35 PM on May 5 [1 favorite]


You say "most". What are the exceptions?

Apart from the one time I neglected to reset my watch for a week and missed a train because of it there haven't been any, so far! (Learned my lesson there, though.)
posted by Pseudonymous Cognomen at 5:02 PM on May 5 [3 favorites]


I got a tour of a new 370 installation, where the guys were testing the disk drive. This disk model had a permanent magnet that weighed over 30 pounds. Next day, I noticed that my watch had stopped.

Recalls to mind an anecdote I heard years ago. Story was that back in the day Harry Houdini came to town and sold out the theater for an 8:00 show. A large clock over the stage showed the minutes leading up to the hour, hitting the hour, and passing it. No Harry. Audience eventually began murmuring, talking, scuffling, whistles, until it looked like the audience was going to cut up nasty, at which point, Houdini appeared, feigned bewilderment, and said he was on time, and if they doubted him, they should check their time pieces. (Presumably as they were busy checking the large clock was reset.)

So the story I was told. I expect it was an elaboration of the magician Signor Falconi, who did a number with strong magnets on early watches.

If you liked the post (and how could you not?), you may also enjoy Wristwatch Revival, videos of a guy who, well, revives wrist watches. And pocket watches. For the hardcore, there is also Watch Repair Channel.
posted by BWA at 5:02 PM on May 5 [4 favorites]


Another previously for his page on the internal combustion engine.

This stuff is a masterpiece of visual and interactive design. If only the rest of us applied this much time and care to the web...imagine...
posted by JoeZydeco at 5:04 PM on May 5 [4 favorites]


Related: This feature-length documentary about mechanical watchmaking, Keeper of Time, was just released a couple of weeks ago. I haven't seen it yet, but I went to film school with the guy who directed it. The trailer definitely looks cool.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 5:13 PM on May 5 [3 favorites]


How the hell did these things precede indoor plumbing?

Well, they didn't, because Romans had plumbing. But the impetus for a really good portable clock was to aid in sea navigation, as with John Harrison's H4 marine chronometer.
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:39 PM on May 5 [8 favorites]


merely a few decades ago

I regret to inform you that a few decades ago is now in the 2000's. Please adjust your internal timepieces accordingly.
posted by pwnguin at 5:40 PM on May 5 [5 favorites]


Outstanding!

The last wristwatch I owned and wore had a leather band. I moved to Miami Beach and my constant sweating rotted the leather, and when it finally broke, I never wore a wristwatch ever again. That was around 1995 or so. I got my first cell phone around 1997, so it's been a pocket watch for me ever since (though that "bulky" Nokia I had didn't fit too well in my pockets).
posted by SoberHighland at 5:44 PM on May 5


When I lived in Osaka I had a Casio that synchronized to the atomic clock every night, so it kept essentially perfect time.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched the doors of a Hankyu train open exactly as the second hand hit the top of the dial on the minute it was supposed to arrive.

Here in the US if I’m within five minutes it’s good enough for me. I reset my cheap mechanical watch about once every other week or so.
posted by The Monster at the End of this Thread at 5:52 PM on May 5


I own two automatic watches (self-winding mechanical watches) and five quartz watches. One of my quartz watches is a Timex Easy Reader that I bought in 1994 and another is a Timex Weekender from the early 2000s, both of which are still running today (new battery and new strap for both).

I've also got two Casio G-Shock squares, one of which syncs to atomic time so it's always accurate and has a solar battery.

I started wearing a watch probably around 4th or 5th grade (1974 or 1975) and it feels like I've always had one on my wrist. I've never wanted a smartwatch, I just like analog or digital watches.

I'm certainly not as into watches and watchmaking as, say, the average reader over on r/Watches, but I do appreciate all the intricate details of a mechanical watch and the solid performance of a quartz. Smartwatches just seem like some other high-tech gizmo, and I've already got my mobile phone for that.
posted by ralan at 6:51 PM on May 5 [1 favorite]


Apparently, balance wheels like magnets as much as credit cards do.

For this exact reason, my grandfather wore a magnetic resistant Omega Railmaster.
posted by hwyengr at 7:48 PM on May 5


I had no desire for a watch until junior high school, when I looked around and saw a watch on the wrist of every other kid. My parents were delighted by even by such a modest impulse toward joining in, and bought me a Timex.

It lasted for a few days before I cracked the crystal, but I loathed the feeling of a foreign object encircling my wrist and never wore one again.

I also hated how it inhibited me, how careful I had to be not to bang it into anything or get liquid or dirt on it, and I couldn’t understand how my classmates could put up with that.

Now all the kids carry smartphones, which are an order of magnitude more fragile and constraining!

I do own an old Accutron though, because I saw one at a thrift store and liked the idea of using a tuning fork instead of a pendulum or balance wheel to drive clockwork, and thought a friend with an interest in old timepieces might like it, but they moved away before their birthday and we didn’t stay in touch.
posted by jamjam at 8:19 PM on May 5 [1 favorite]


Mechanical watch service/repair/making videos are my catnip. When that balance wheel goes back in and kicks into life, all is well with the universe, if only for a moment. :)

Related: This feature-length documentary about mechanical watchmaking, Keeper of Time, was just released a couple of weeks ago.
posted by Artifice_Eternity


Thanks for that. :)

If you liked the post (and how could you not?), you may also enjoy Wristwatch Revival, videos of a guy who, well, revives wrist watches. And pocket watches. For the hardcore, there is also Watch Repair Channel.
posted by BWA


Great channels, been following them for years.

Here are a bunch of other horological channels from my YT subscriptions:

General service/repair/making
Steffen Erich Pahlow
Otets Vash
JD Richard
Red Dead Restoration
Only Vintage Watches
Liani
ADP Watches
Pasquale Watch

Historical and technical lectures & info.
AWCI
Horological Society of New York

Escapement Animations
Ken Kuo Escapement
posted by Pouteria at 8:47 PM on May 5 [7 favorites]


If you liked the post (and how could you not?), you may also enjoy Wristwatch Revival, videos of a guy who, well, revives wrist watches. And pocket watches.

Seconded. I love Marshall's videos. There's something soothing and tranquil about, "And now we're going to completely disassemble, clean, and oil a non-running 80 year old mechanical watch movement. See how after it's done it only loses 2 seconds a day."
posted by mikelieman at 12:26 AM on May 6 [2 favorites]


I have five watches:
- A bulky, annoying “men’s” watch covered in dials and doodads, which I pretty much never wear.
- A pocket watch with glass on both the dial and backplate so you can see all the happenings within, but unfortunately it’s broken. I keep it since I had it all the way back in high school.
- A first-gen Pebble, with one of the early bird serials from the original Kickstarter launch (it bricked itself in a failed update in 2014-2015, but I kept it as a memento).
- A series-7 Apple Watch, which is my standard daily watch.
- A Movado that I got from the Mrs. on our tenth, which I use as a fancy-events watch, but also as a secure-facility watch since my job involves IT work in government buildings where wearing a “smart” watch would get me arrested. There’s something nice about an analog watch, especially one that trusts you to tell time we’ll enough to not bother with either a second hand or any markers on the face other than a jewel at 12.
posted by mystyk at 2:33 AM on May 6 [1 favorite]


I have three watches:

Quartz Victorinox that's about 12 years old. Silver bezel, black face. It's my daily wearer, especially for outdoorsy days. I use it for checking my time and pacing my intervals when I run (I hate having to pull out a phone and fiddling with it while I exercise), and it's also a good companion for camping, where I want to conserve battery on the phone. It has a few nicks on the bezel from rock climbing, but figure that's character building.

Fake IWC automatic that I bought at the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul for fairly cheap in 2014. Silver bezel, white face. I had a store in the States overhaul it for a $100 in 2016 and it's overall been fine since then. My alternate daily wearer for indoor days. I like to try to keep it wound up and ticking, but there are some weeks where it sits idle.

Vintage Seiko Goldfeather. Gold bezel, white face. My pandemic isolation obsession was not making sourdough, but buying up nice clothes on Ebay as people were shedding menswear on the cheap. I've always liked keeping to a dress code while working remotely, and the pandemic was a fantastic time to upgrade my wardrobe while everyone else was transitioning into athleisure. This came out of a three month rabbithole on reading up on classic Seiko watches and the lineages of Grand Seiko, King Seiko etc. The Goldfeather is purely intended to be wrist jewelry. It's a complete mechanical, so requires daily winding. Mostly only use it when going out, and when I want some thing that has a warmer look than the IWC or Victorinox. It has a nice bygone elegance, and I love how it isn't just old fashioned but that it palpably feels old, like owning a classic Mustang in a garage with a Prius.
posted by bl1nk at 3:59 AM on May 6 [1 favorite]


When my left wrist is not in a plaster cast, I wear a beautiful Mr Jones 'Memento Mori' watch with an hour hand that reads 'remember' and a minute hand that reads 'you will die'. Since I had the battery changed a few months ago, it has started to run slow. I am not sure what I should take away from that.
posted by Hogshead at 5:18 AM on May 6 [3 favorites]


Do kids even bother to learn how to read a traditional dial clock face these days? Is it a skill today's 20 year olds ever felt the need to acquire?
posted by Paul Slade at 5:47 AM on May 6


a few decades ago

At the end of TFA we find that this can also be expressed as "half a century ago".

Cool site, Thanks for posting!
posted by achrise at 6:06 AM on May 6


My late father wore a Citizen self-winding watch for many years. He'd found it in the mud about twenty feet down in Lake Eacham in Queensland, after tracking down a faint tick-tick-tick he kept hearing while swimming. It had one of those springy steel wristbands with the big snap-over-centre clip, and our best guess was that somebody had had their hands in the air like they didn't care when jumping off the pier and the water had dragged it off them.

I remember being massively impressed with that watch, both because it was still running after being under all that water and because it kept itself wound up all by itself. These things both struck my ten year old self as rather magical, given the care with which I was required to treat the little hand-wound Dunklings Rivana that Mum had bought me to wear at school.

Fully wound, either of those watches could be left unworn and still run for about three times as long as an Apple Watch can on a charge. Pretty limited range of apps, though. Mine didn't even run Date.
posted by flabdablet at 6:07 AM on May 6 [5 favorites]


It had one of those springy steel wristbands with the big snap-over-centre clip, and our best guess was that somebody had had their hands in the air like they didn't care when jumping off the pier and the water had dragged it off them.

I lost a really cheap Times on a velcro strap hitting the water off of Action Park's Tarzan swing. (And some skin on the Alpine Slide, of course.)
posted by mikelieman at 6:20 AM on May 6


Recently read this (2017) piece by Gary Shteyngart

I wear a Garmin Instinct but I'm deeply torn, because I love mechanical watches.
posted by exlotuseater at 6:30 AM on May 6


- There’s something nice about an analog watch, especially one that trusts you to tell time we’ll enough to not bother with either a second hand or any markers on the face other than a jewel at 12.
-Do kids even bother to learn how to read a traditional dial clock face these days?
Years ago, Mrs. Dewd sold clocks with hand-painted faces.
There would be some kind of overall theme for the background, and little related images where the numbers would be on a regular clock.
More than once, someone would ask how you could possibly tell the time.
posted by MtDewd at 7:29 AM on May 6


I have five watches: …

I have three watches: …
If we're just listing our watches now, I have a Seiko Lord Matic De Luxe, a line which was only produced for two months (December 1975 and January 1976) using surplus "hi-beat" 5626 movements for the discontinued King Seiko line, with a silver washi dial and the original metal bracelet and a Seiko 6309-7040 dive watch on a NATO strap (I probably wouldn't make the same choice if I were getting the watch now, but the stripes are inspired by those on the RAF strap James Bond had his Rolex Submariner on in Goldfinger).
posted by Strutter Cane - United Planets Stilt Patrol at 7:46 AM on May 6


Fantastic article and I now know why Apple Watch apps are called “complications”. I thought they were just being precious. Even as an Old, I had no idea how mechanical watches work ….
posted by freecellwizard at 8:30 AM on May 6


I wear a 1950s-era Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust with a rose gold bezel that once belonged to my grandfather. Sure, I have to reset the time and wind it if I haven't worn it for a few days, but there's something special about a mechanical watch. I'm not a huge fan of the modern trend for gigantic watches, and the old Datejust is sized right for comfort and restrained elegance.
posted by slkinsey at 9:12 AM on May 6


In high school, I was exactly the kind of nerd who would wear a pocket watch on a chain every day, so I did - nothing fancy or old, just battery-powered department store pocket watches. One of them almost certainly had a train or a deer on it. I eventually stopped, as carrying a cell phone became more common and pants with appropriately sized watch pockets became harder to find, but sometimes I miss it, as I am still exactly that kind of nerd at heart.

Analog clocks are more pleasing to look at than digital ones, to me, and I love to hear a clock ticking. (I have an analog mechanical alarm clock that I keep in my bedroom - I don't use the alarm or even the clock, really, but it has a nice loud tick.)
posted by darchildre at 9:28 AM on May 6


I'm in an all Apple household, but the only major Apple product I don't own and use is an Apple watch. My wife has one, and while there are a few times I think one might be useful, I am strongly tied to my analog watches.

I cycle through a series of Nixon watches. All analog. None mechanical. I've been eyeballing one of the mechanical ones, but the cost is more than I can convince my wife to go for at the moment (I mean, I did just upgrade my laptop, so perhaps I understand the objection!)

But really - a mechanical watch, even at several hundred dollars, will last, what, forever? Vs. an Apple watch (at a substantially higher price) that will be outdated and unsupported within 4-5 years.

(My first Nixon watch was an El Dorado, stainless steel and heavy as hell. It died on me after 11-ish years because the jackass who changed the battery the last time I brought it to a jeweler pinched the seal and it ended up taking unrepairable moisture damage. I bought the watch because it had my family name on it. I keep buying Nixon watches for the same reason. It's fun for me. But these days, when a battery dies, I send it to the manufacturer for service. I still miss the El Dorado. The replacement is similar in size but not nearly as heavy.)
posted by caution live frogs at 11:15 AM on May 6


Wow, these are beautiful animations. If we're tossing in links, here's one of my favorites: Adventures in Amateur Watch Fettling - both blog and youtube restorations of old (mostly Seiko) watches.
posted by sapere aude at 11:35 AM on May 6 [2 favorites]


Very cool post. Thanks!

I've only fairly recently begun wearing watches all the time. First I fell for some cheap shiny baubles on AliExpress; eventually I found a decent looking and well functioning Seiko 5-knockoff with a shiny green dial. So far, so good; it's most definitely worth the 7 dollars it cost me.

Then I learned about Pebbles, and what happened when FitBit bought the brand and killed it, and what happened after. And that there was a good and complete Pebble app for my Ubuntu Touch phone. And it rapidly went downhill from there.
I currently own four working Pebbles and I can't guarantee I'll stop there. I wear one every day. They're really well made, I love how long the battery lasts, and that the e-paper screen is always on, and easier to see the brighter the environment is. They are also fairly repairable.

I like my tech slightly outdated. It's so much cheaper and it's better for the planet. But it strikes me as weird and more than a bit decadent that this is tech from 2015 and already considered obsolete.
posted by Too-Ticky at 12:46 PM on May 6


This is fascinating, and it's reminding me that back in...I think the 90s, I saw a job ad for a European watch manufacturer (I don't remember which one). They were looking for watchmakers, and were offering a paid training and apprenticeship program in return for working for them for a further couple of years.

I didn't apply for it, because even then mechanical watch repair was kind of a niche market, but I sometimes wonder how differently my life would have gone if I had.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 12:57 PM on May 6 [3 favorites]


This was so good that it convinced me that not only do I need to own a mechanical watch, I need to take one apart and put it together again, and after a while disappearing down that rabbit hole, I have ordered some tools and a movement I can afford to destroy if I get it wrong.

(I realise this is tricky stuff, but I have a good microscope and I've done a lot of ultra small electronics work, so I'm not entirely new to working at this scale).

I have had the innards of mechanical watches explained before, but this was the first time I've really grasped the whole mechanism. All of Bartosz's work is incredible.
posted by automatronic at 2:16 PM on May 6 [5 favorites]


This is fascinating, and it's reminding me that back in...I think the 90s, I saw a job ad for a European watch manufacturer (I don't remember which one). They were looking for watchmakers, and were offering a paid training and apprenticeship program in return for working for them for a further couple of years.

I didn't apply for it, because even then mechanical watch repair was kind of a niche market, but I sometimes wonder how differently my life would have gone if I had.
posted by Mr. Bad Example


Same here. Thought about it, but that was when the quartz era was cranking up big time, and watchmakers were saying 'it's over for mechanical, find another career'.

In fairness, it was sound advice at the time, and probably still is for all but the most passionate and dedicated.

Also, there is nothing wrong with quartz watches as such, they deliver the goods at very competitive prices, and my current watch is a basic sub-$100 Timex that suits me fine. :)

I do prefer analog dials though.
posted by Pouteria at 3:00 PM on May 6


I'm attracted to the idea of watches, but I'm a clumsy oaf and I normally beat them to death, long before their batteries run out. So, in situations where there is no point in carrying a phone (out in the boonies, with no reception) I have a $15 Casio to help keep me oriented. So I know I need to eat or turn around.
posted by Bee'sWing at 4:13 PM on May 6


Thanks for posting Devils Rancher it's a great post and fun recollections ^ for people.

Life in four watches - For, I think, my 12th birthday I got my first watch - a windup Russian item that withstood a lot of violence and abuse, but it's repair price when I was 16 was four times it's purchase price so I left it with the shop.

Next was a Seiko perpetual which got stolen, then followed ~15 years of filthy jobs with regular schedules and I never needed a watch (I've never been social so little need for a watch).

Gifted a gold Omega Seamaster for 21st, but it's a large lump of ostentation, and I was working and living a bit on the edge (and ice-skating a lot, a dodgy place in Glen Innes where we used to skate all night to Blue Monday under the black lights - most of wore all black too, with hints of white, Ice Darkness Pure_noise - like an oobe) then so wore it long enough so as to not offend giver (my dad) and put it in storage - where it still is, have tried to sell a few times but no one wants such a thing.

Late 80's bought a Casio WH-28 as was doing lot of cycling and needed a timer - a VERY tough watch; you could tear the face off (falling onto road) in rain and it kept running! That watch lasted until ?2002 when I was a gardener and working with Agapanthus (has irritative, to me, juice), juice got under strap causing large inflamed area, which went away a few days after watch left off, so ... put watch on again, instant red welt, throw watch in box. Five years later here's my watch in a box! Why did I throw it there? Put watch on, large red welt - first lesson in epigenetics I suppose.

Today I'm either here at the PC, or have a phone, or a bit like Lee Child's character I can quite accurately (enough) guess the time. For much of the period upto ?1989 I probably couldn't have told you the day, date, month or even year! Now I'm a businessman trying to avoid time getting marked out in chunks, and I always know the time.
posted by unearthed at 2:39 AM on May 7 [1 favorite]


Coincidentally, Watch Repair Channel has just posted his first new video in over a year.
posted by Pouteria at 4:22 AM on May 7 [1 favorite]


Do kids even bother to learn how to read a traditional dial clock face these days? Poking fun at young people was never easier, but not always.
posted by StephenB at 2:37 PM on May 7


I have an attorney friend whose hobby is finding buying mechanical watches in disrepair and fixing them up. He once told me he could strip down a Rolex, and Omega and a Patek Philippe, mix their parts together in a bowl, and rebuild all three with little difficulty.
posted by slkinsey at 3:29 PM on May 7


I regret to inform you that a few decades ago is now in the 2000's. Please adjust your internal timepieces accordingly.

As recently as 2003 a mechanical watch was still the most convenient solution for some special cases.
posted by ckape at 6:06 PM on May 7 [2 favorites]


This was so good that it convinced me that not only do I need to own a mechanical watch, I need to take one apart and put it together again, and after a while disappearing down that rabbit hole, I have ordered some tools and a movement I can afford to destroy if I get it wrong.
For what it's worth, I believe it's Citizen who sells mechanical watch movements on their own, for remarkably inexpensive prices. Like, $20–30 territory, I think? In case anyone else wants to try destroying their own watch movement with a pair of tweezers and a lot of muttered cussing.
posted by DoctorFedora at 5:24 PM on May 8


Yes, Citizen own Miyota which mass-produces both quartz and mechanical movements. Their catalog site lists all of them and there is some nice footage of the factory where they're made in this video. Most of the process is automated, which makes the cost very reasonable. The whole process is quite similar to the production of small metal parts and assemblies used in the electronics industry, it just happens that in this case the product is completely mechanical.

Mass-produced movements like these from Miyota, Seiko, ETA and others are used as the basis for dozens of major brands as well as hundreds of microbrands and individual watchmakers who are basically just adding custom cases, dials, hands, etc and then doing marketing and sales.

The basic design of a movement seems to be extremely standardised at this point. I've watched a few videos of stripping down and rebuilding different types, and they're all very similar. Bartosz' explanation is equally applicable to Omega and Rolex as it is to Miyota and Seiko. It's only when you get into extremely expensive territory with extra complications, tourbillons and the like, that things start to differ.

The one I bought to take apart is a Miyota, and once I succeed in putting it back together, I can take my pick of dozens of off-the-shelf cases, dials, hands, bezels etc to build a watch around it, or even get some custom bits made. There is a huge scene of people building their own watches or selling small-batch designs with custom parts.
posted by automatronic at 4:16 AM on May 9 [2 favorites]


« Older Needs more Orcagraphic Lift   |   Fabulously Unscrupulous Newer »


You are not currently logged in. Log in or create a new account to post comments.