When did the craftsmanship end?

Thread: When did the craftsmanship end?

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  1. #1
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    Wink When did the craftsmanship end?

    Hi all


    Just somthing I have been thinking about....maybe I am wrong in lots of the things I say/think (sorry for that), but when did the high craftsmanship come more or less to a end in watchmaking?

    Well, not "end" but turn from man made to more or less robot made as watches more or less are today.

    A pocket watch from the 1850´s was more or less made by hand.But, as the industy change, so did the watch making. Stil a pocket watch was turnd out with very high craftsmanship in 1910 to.

    When Omega or Angelus made a watch in 1928, I think it had more hand work, crafsmanship than they did in 1962.
    Today some say that a Rolex or Cartier is hand made.....well, maybe the movement is. I am no expert, but I do not think that a 2008 watch from them have the same craftsmanship as they did back in the good old days.

    Who was first to stop with man made watch and who was last?

    Thanks for looking

    Cheers
    Vegard_dino

  2. #2
    Member Ray MacDonald's Avatar
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    Re: When did the craftsmanship end?

    Machine tooling and assembly line methods came into American watch making as early as the late 1850s. So it's been a long process from hand made to today's robotics.
    That's a good thing though, as millions of people in the late 1800s and early 1900s era got a good watch at a decent price. Also a lot easier and cheaper to fix with standardized parts.

    There are fathers who do not love their children; there is no grandfather who does not adore his grandson. ~ Victor Hugo

  3. #3
    Member Eeeb's Avatar
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    Re: When did the craftsmanship end?

    Lathes have always built balance staffs... nowadays the lathe is run by a computer.
    Milling machines have always carved cases... nowadays the milling machine is run by a computer.
    ... etc...
    Man as a species designed all of this so they are all still man made.

    Hand made?? well, not making them by hand makes them even more uniform and still as exact and cheaper. The standard ETA 2892-A2 meets chronometer standards 'out of the box'... so it has a lot of craftsmanship too. It is just craftsmanship by metallurgists and computer programmers and production engineers and ceramic engineers...
    "Forever is composed of nows." - Emily Dickinson

    "The watch has to be surrounded by a history.
    You need more than just a great design. You need to create an atmosphere around the product.
    Who is the company behind it? Why are they using this material?
    People need to be able to identify the watch with themselves. It's based on emotion." - Ralph Furter

    ...that's just my opinion and I've been wrong before and will be again and might be now!

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  5. #4
    Member pacifichrono's Avatar
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    Re: When did the craftsmanship end?

    The craftsmanship ended with the watch they produced just before yours.
    Regards from Sunny San Diego..........Tom
    ____________________________________________________
    "There are two kinds of people in this world, my friend, those with loaded
    guns and those who dig!"................Blondie to Tuco in TGTB&TU (1966)


  6. #5
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    Re: When did the craftsmanship end?

    High end watches like JLC, Patec etc have a hand finished, decorated and adjusted movement, but I imagine the bits are first machine ma
    Rolex I would not classify as handmade, a manufacturer turning out millions of watches a year. I had a look inside my wifes Rolex a couple of weeks ago, in connection with another thread.
    The level of finishing was not much ahead of HMT, sorry to say.
    But machine making is definitely not a bad thing, the precision and consistency in quality are far higher than if a person made them.

  7. #6
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    Re: When did the craftsmanship end?

    Hi all

    Thanks for replying me

    Yes, I agree in that a machine made is better when it comes to precision and a more stabil quality, than the one made by one man.

    But, stil, a high end watch today like Rolex or Omega that turn out millions of watches, are more a "robot"watch. To me

    So, maybe we have lost some of the old tyle, but got cheaper watches and easyer too repair than a watch from 1830´s.

    And, yes, Eeeb, stil man made as we did make the machine to do the job..but stil.....maybe it is only me..but I feel that a vintage watch has what a old car/vintage car have to me, charm and "life"....aa..hard to say what I mean. And maybe, maybe I am making some here mad by saying that a modern watch has lost that..just as a modern car has lost it.

    Well, thanks for taking time all

    Have a good evening

    Cheers
    vegard_dino

  8. #7
    Member Ray MacDonald's Avatar
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    Re: When did the craftsmanship end?

    There is no doubt that many fine watches made today still have some elements of fine craftsmanship in them.
    However it has been a very very long time since the parts of a watch were made by hand, and all the assembly and adjustment of these parts was carried out in a small shop by a skilled craftsman.
    Anyone who still believes this is simply not living in the industrial age - even if many watch marketing departments try very hard to convince him.

    There are fathers who do not love their children; there is no grandfather who does not adore his grandson. ~ Victor Hugo

  9. #8
    Member radger's Avatar
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    Re: When did the craftsmanship end?

    To me, at least, 'high craftsmanship' has never really came to an end in
    watchmaking.
    I know that high end modern watches are designed on cad and produced by
    CNC machines.... but these are only tools and even the 18thC watchmaker had
    tools.
    Who could deny that 'high craftsmanship' must have went into the production of
    marques like JLC's Gyro Tourbillon or Ulysse Nardin's 'Trilogy of Time'.

    High Craftsmanship and Quality I don't think are neccessarily exclusive.

    These days, as far as I know, only Patek Phillipe make no compromise whatsoever
    to quality and will only adopt modern techniques if the quality is improved or at
    the least hasn't suffered.
    This philosophy was probably common amongst 18thC English watchmakers.
    Non functional embellishments such as ornately engraved and pierced ballance cocks,
    Egyptian pillars and exceptional hand finishing was the norm.

  10. #9
    Member Ray MacDonald's Avatar
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    Re: When did the craftsmanship end?

    I agree that one should never neglect quality - if hand craftsmanship can make a better timepiece. However 100 years ago true quality was measured in timekeeping accuracy above all else.
    Unfortunately the superiority of hand craftsmanship was not the situation in the 1880s, when mid grade machine made and factory assembled American watches were as good or better at keeping time than the top grade Swiss watches. The Swiss had to learn innovative factory methods from the USA to compete.
    The British stuck with the old school small batch manufacturing methods and were virtually wiped out as watch manufacturers after 1900.

    There are fathers who do not love their children; there is no grandfather who does not adore his grandson. ~ Victor Hugo

  11. #10
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    Re: When did the craftsmanship end?

    Tru

    Some try to convince us that they stil make it in a small work shop, only by some skiled workers, but, that´s only in the adds.

    Yes, the english watchmakers had that idea, and they are gone....well, some are english watchmakers is there now, but ot making it as it was back in the 18th.

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