Time it Takes to Put Together an Automatic Watch?
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Thread: Time it Takes to Put Together an Automatic Watch?

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  1. #1
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    Time it Takes to Put Together an Automatic Watch?

    Does anyone know how many man-hours it takes to assemble a typical automatic watch?

    And what about the process of putting together even an ETA movement - how long does it take to complete one movement? Are all pieces placed by hand within the movement?

    I'm just curious about the assembly process and I know there are a lot of knowledgable horologists out there to help answer this question!

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Member cottontop's Avatar
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    Re: Time it Takes to Put Together an Automatic Watch?

    I don't know the time in man hours, but I do know more is done by machine than you might think.
    cottontop
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  3. #3
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    Re: Time it Takes to Put Together an Automatic Watch?

    Then it would be in machine minutes.
    Quote Originally Posted by cottontop View Post
    I don't know the time in man hours, but I do know more is done by machine than you might think.
    cottontop

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  5. #4
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    Re: Time it Takes to Put Together an Automatic Watch?

    At watch fairs and seminars for WIS they often have demonstrations by watchmakers how they put together a prepared disassembled movement. I think this takes usually less than an hour. Whether it is an automatic watch or not is not really relevant because the auto parts are only 5-10 parts. Not much in watch that usually has 150+ parts. You must also consider that there is some assembly line work even in manufactures. So one person will do all the bracelets, another will put together the movements, a third will case the movements and put the dial and hands on, a forth will close the case and so on.

    Apparently it is possible to fully machine assemble a movement. I'd love to see that. Must be some amazing machines. I'd think that the machine time would be under 10 minutes and the man time under 60 minutes for a watch with around 150 parts.

    Would be great to hear from a watchmaker.

  6. #5
    Moderator Public Forum John MS's Avatar
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    Re: Time it Takes to Put Together an Automatic Watch?

    If you are talking about the assembly of completed parts between the plates and screwing everything down then it is probably an hour.

  7. #6
    Vintage & NAWCC Forum moderator Ben_hutcherson's Avatar
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    Re: Time it Takes to Put Together an Automatic Watch?

    When I put together a movement with which I'm familiar, I can do it in about 20-30 minutes. If it's an unfamiliar movement, it may take 2 hours.

    Bear in mind that in a manufacturing situation, the same employees are doing the same operation over and over again all day and can do them VERY quickly.

    Somewhere out there on the internet, there's a movie taken in the Illinois Watch Company factory in the 1920s that shows the complete production of a 16 size Bunn Special. It's amazing watch how quickly some of the tasks are completed, such as poising the balance.

    Watch ILLINOIS WATCH COMPANY Online - VideoSurf Video Search
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  8. #7
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    Re: Time it Takes to Put Together an Automatic Watch?

    Quote Originally Posted by Watchalex View Post
    At watch fairs and seminars for WIS they often have demonstrations by watchmakers how they put together a prepared disassembled movement. I think this takes usually less than an hour. Whether it is an automatic watch or not is not really relevant because the auto parts are only 5-10 parts. Not much in watch that usually has 150+ parts. You must also consider that there is some assembly line work even in manufactures. So one person will do all the bracelets, another will put together the movements, a third will case the movements and put the dial and hands on, a forth will close the case and so on.

    Apparently it is possible to fully machine assemble a movement. I'd love to see that. Must be some amazing machines. I'd think that the machine time would be under 10 minutes and the man time under 60 minutes for a watch with around 150 parts.

    Would be great to hear from a watchmaker.
    Isn't the Seiko 7s26 movement completely machine made? Hence the lack of difference between the J and K ending serial number models.
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    Re: Time it Takes to Put Together an Automatic Watch?

    I'll bet more assembly is done by hand that most people think....

    Here is a interesting video of the Vostok factory, you can see there are quite a number of operations done manually, including final assembly. I'll wager all movement manufacturers, be they Swiss, Russian, Chinese or Japanese, are similar.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-JMoUoMtXo
    Last edited by lysanderxiii; December 8th, 2011 at 04:16.
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