(This is a massive post, so please only read if youíve got a cup of tea and a comfy seat)
I have been a member of these forums for a few months now but Iíve been quietly obsessed with watches for as long as I can remember.
Iím 27 and have had watches for as long as Iíve been aware of them, but itís nothing to write home about. Iíve never had the money to get serious with it so itís been cheap digital watches or nothing.
Over the past couple of years or so Iíve got back in to it and have had a Wenger Aerograph ďVintageĒ on my wrist for a while now (as I said nothing special). Thatís set to change at Christmas when my lovely fiancee/santa brings me a Citizen Nighthawk, as reward for designing and having made a bespoke engagement ring that I used in August.
I am very excited about it.
Anyway, this is a long way round to getting to the meat, but a bit of backstory is sometimes nice...(?)
I work in an architects in Scotland, weíre quite big. I also have a degree in Product Design and got the job as the model maker in house 5 years ago and as such have access to a Rapid Prototyper, Laser Cutter internally and many contacts that can do acid etching, metal plating for RP parts and many other techs outsourced...can you see where this is leading?
Basically Iíve designed a watch. I have no background in horological assembly, or indeed any knowledge of anything. Iím green. But I know what I like. I have a few questions that I am hoping to get answers to/pointed in the direction of so I can get my idea produced! Please donít see this as me being lazy. I could spend the next year reading forum posts, learning stuff etc, but the best way to learn is to ask those in the know. So if you could be so kind as so help, I would be greatly appreciative.
I have designed the case outer (aesthetics) and will be 3D modelling and Rapid Prototyping this in our Objet machine. Itís a photocuring resin and as such can be finished itself to an amazing smooth finish.
This will then be plated by a company that specialises in metal coating RP parts. They can do a lot of finishes and are reasonably cheap (£50 i expect)
Our machine has incredible tolerances, so the finish and fit will be pretty close. Itís obviously not going to be to the tolerances of a properly made/machined watch case, but it will be enough I hope. I will then take this if it works and all fits and get a proper bit of metal machined at a local shop if I can find one that does intricacy.
Dimensions of case are as thus:
41mm dia face/glass
44mm dia outer case
22mm lug width
As an aside, do any of you have a sectional showing how a watch is constructed once assembled i.e. showing everything in place?
Hereís the first question. I will make this case to fit a pre-made movement. However I have no idea about this. The movement should fit in the 41mm dia so thereís no gaps around it (and by that I mean no 5mm gaps. a 0.5-1mm gap is fine.)
1: Iíve saw movements on websites that are aesthetically pleasing (either already plated/finished or skeletonised) and are assembled...but are they ready to go out the box? You just put them in, wind up and off you go?
2: Are there any relationships between case and movement i.e. is there anything mechanical that I need to be aware of? Or is it simply a case of putting a movement in a case designed to accept it and youíre good?
3: I do not have the ability, tools or knowhow to deal with a face/hands etc. Is there places in the world where they can take an idea, or a face design and get it manufactured to pro standards i.e. under a macro lens it stands up as an actual watch face?
4: The movement will have 3 chrono dials on it, to the 12, 9 and 6 position, a date and power reserve at 3. Is there a movement that is in this configuration or close to it? I am willing to loose the reserve if its a problem.
I will be making the crown and getting it plated too, but the chrono pushers are kind of standard fare. Is there anywhere that I can purchase these pushers?
Is there a resource or website that shows how movements in a chrono including the pushers and assembly, how that all works? Iím thinking about the interaction between the moving parts outside the case and how it relates to what goes on inside the case.
I will fabricate these as well but wouldnít mind having a glass caseback to show off the movement, but I donít mind.
Again I will amend the case to fit the standard sized parts.
Iím not going to achieve anything close to depth resistance, but a wee splash here should be ok if I install some kind of o-ring? I would really appreciate any knowledge on this.
There you go. In a nutshell I am going to fabricate the case, caseback, crown. I am looking to source the movement, chrono pushers, face and glass. I would appreciate help on movements, chrono pushers and the face, if you would be so kind.
I hope this is not too much to get through and I really hope to hear some good replies. I know a lot of you will see this as complete rookie stuff and send me to google. But if you could take a moment out of your day to instill any of that vast knowledge I see around these forums, I would really appreciate it.
Final word on budget. There is none. It will be an ďas and whenĒ purchase but I am thinking sub £200-£300 for movement/face/glass. The other stuff I can get through work.
p.s. I will be creating CG vis of this watch so will show you all when I've done that.