Friday, 28 October 2011

George Daniels

George Daniels, CBE, DSc, FBHI, FSA passed away on the 21st of October. He has been hailed as the greatest watchmaker ever even in his lifetime. Comparisons are always drawn with the great Abraham Louis Breguet whom he admired and whose work he studied in great detail.

In the course of a long career Daniels made 37 watches from 'scratch'. This means that he made 'everything'- the gears, jewels, springs even the cases! He always placed technical advancement over pointless decoration. This is why his watches have a rare beauty.

He is most famous for the invention of the co-axial escapement. This has been described as the most important advance in mechanical timekeeping in 250 years. This design takes away the need to use oil in the escapement by reducing friction to a minimum.

Daniels selflessly poured out all his knowledge into his book 'Watchmaking'. This book & his work have been an inspiration for some of the big names in independent horology today. My wife gifted me a copy on my birthday this year.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

A ruined dial

I have started making parts for No.1-04. The movement ring is done. I am working on the dial now. Everything was going well till I started drilling the minute markers. Halfway through I had an uneasy feeling about some of the earlier holes I had drilled (the holes are not clearly visible while drilling since they are under a paper template). This is what I found under the template-
If you look carefully you will notice that some of the holes at the six o'clock position (in the image) are a bit dodgy.

Here is a close up-
They are elongated. These holes are 0.4mm Dia. The problem was that I had allowed the drill bit to project too much out of the drill chuck. A 0.4mm bit will certainly flex when you drill brass.

Here is a closer look at the offending holes-

There is nothing else for it but to start over. Silly mistakes can sometimes cost an entire days work.


Thursday, 15 September 2011

Pictures of No.1-03

My friend Sachin Kadam, who is an avid photographer, visited on saturday. He did not really know what to expect and just got his camera along (no macro lens, light tent etc.). All the same, I think he took some really nice pictures of No.1-03 (that was finished a couple of weeks ago).

Hope you like them as much as I do :-)

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

A Family Reunion!

Ladies & gentlemen, in the picture below you see the entire production of A D Sambhare Watches over the last two years.

From left to right, No.1-01 (which is essentially a prototype that I decided to keep), No.1-02 (this one is sold) and No.1-03 (I just finished this one a few days ago).

This picture is possible because No.1-02 is back for a check up and the reason is interesting. The owner said that the power reserve is just about 25 hours. This is considerably less than the 40 hours that I promise. So I requested him to send it over. I wound it and it went for over 43 hours! I can only assume that he is not used to winding a brutish 16 1/2 ligne hand-wound movement :-). Perhaps he is too delicate with it. I will observe if he winds it all the way when I meet him next.

Anyway, I spoke to a friend who dabbles in photography and we might take some nice pictures of these three soon.


Saturday, 13 August 2011

No.2: Sneak Peek

No.1-03 is on the way & I have only got enough parts for three more. This means that I have to start design work on No.2. So, I bought some parts.

No.2 will be based on the ETA 6498 movement. I want No.2 to have the seconds hand (if I decide to put one in) at a more symmetrical location, i.e. at 6 o'clock. Also, I want it to be a little more compact. No.1 is 44mm without the crown. The case I have found for No.2 is 41mm. I feel this is a great size for a man's watch.

One case is required for development purposes. It needs to be measured for a 3D model. I file somewhere inside to be absolutely sure that it is not a plated case. All this renders it unsuitable for a customers watch. Here is the 3D model of the case. I also need to make one of the movement.

Also, I would like to wear it for the next few months to make sure everything is as I want it to be. The hot Indian weather & my sweaty wrist should highlight any potential problems. To this end, I happen to have an NOS, older version of the 6498. This got a quick service

The older movement is marked 'Unitas' under the balance. The new ones are marked 'ETA'.

I love the way it fills up the case. This case does not require a movement ring.

and here's the front. This is the watch I will be wearing for the next few months, come hell or high water :-)

And this, gentlemen, is how one justifies the purchase of yet another watch to ones wife, "It's just a development prototype, darling!" :-)

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Peerless Mantle Clock

As promised, I am posting more pictures & details of my Peerless mantle clock.

It would be best to start with a video :-). It has Westminster chimes every quarter & strike on the hour. (sorry about the kids screaming in the background)

The sound is all the more pleasing when you consider that this clock is just 190mm wide X 140mm deep X 210mm tall.

The glass is thick and bevelled.

The dial font is quite interesting. The Arabic numerals are engraved and filled with paint. The three winding arbours are for time, strike & chime.

This clock has a "silent lever" at three o'clock. One can silence the chimes & strike at night if one so wishes.

Some details shots of the woodwork....

The movement is accessed through a door in the back.

Lets see what's under the bonnet :-)
As you can see, this clock has a balance wheel, just like a watch. That makes it more versatile, a pendulum clock needs to put in beat every time one moves it. The downside, I assume, would be the higher beat rate and the consequent higher wear.

And now, the reason why this small clock sounds like a much bigger clock.
It had five rectangular section coil gongs! I am not familiar with clocks but my research says that rectangular section gongs sound better than round section gongs. Also, the longer a gong the deeper the note. Coil gongs allow you to get deeper notes in a small form factor. I believe these gongs were difficult to manufacture & tune.

Here are the markings on the backplate . It was made in Germany by Peerless.
I wonder if the serial number will help date the clock.

Hope you enjoyed reading about this lovely clock :-)

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Birthday Gifts

It was my birthday on the 13th & a very happy one if it is to be judged by the gifts I received :-)

From my wife I got a book I have wanted for close to three years now. 'Watchmaking' by George Daniels is considered to be the Bhagwad Geeta/ Bible/ Koran for anybody interested in watches. It was out of print & when a new edition came out earlier this year I lost no time in ordering one. Special thanks are due to my friend, Camden Coffman, who organised a sizeable discount for this book.

Since this was something I requested, my wife gave me another gift that she chose- a chair with height adjustment! For years she has seen me hunched over my desk, working away. Quite often one does not notice the discomfort one is in till one experiences something better. I must say using the turns is much more comfortable with the chair at the lowest setting. So, a big thank you to my wife for a thoughtful gift!

Next up is an HMT NASL-04 watch from my sister-in law, Sasha. This is one of the new breed of HMTs. I am very pleased with this watch. The design is very balanced & the dial is readable. Even the lume is decent. This could very well become my every day watch!

It is good to see HMT pay attention to details on their watches.

And last is what I consider to be a gift to myself. I have always wanted a chiming & striking clock. I bought this years ago on ebay-UK. Since shipping costs were prohibitive I had it delivered to my uncle in the UK. He managed to get it this time & handed it over on my birthday. It is a 'Peerless', German made, with strike & Westminster chimes. I will make a separate post on this clock.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Video of No.1-02

Here is a video I shot of No.1-02.

It is a bit fuzzy, I still need to perfect this. Next time I will try some sort of magnification between the lens & the watch. I wish my camera had macro mode for video :-)


Sunday, 19 June 2011

DNA Newspaper

The Pune edition of DNA Newspaper has run a small article on my collection today. It is most flattering to read about oneself in the press :-)


Thursday, 16 June 2011

No.1-02: Pictures

As promised here are the better pictures.

In the two pictures below you can see how all the hard work on the anglage has paid off.

The blue steel dial marker.

I really like the way the minute hand gracefully arches towards the dial.

On to 03 now!

Kind regards


Tuesday, 14 June 2011

No1.-02: Completed

Hello after a long break. Many things have happened in the last two months to keep me away from the blog.

Anyway, the watch is complete now. Putting a watch together after all these months of work is always full of suspense. One can never be sure if everything is all right. The proof of the pudding, as they say, is in the eating :-). So here it is, No.1-02. All together and keeping great time! I will take better pictures in the light tent later.

I also made a teak wood box for it.

The name and serial number are laser etched on the box.

A detail shot.

As an additional treat my wife made a small booklet with the story of the making of this watch. This fits into a little compartment in the bottom. It also contains the specifications, care instructions & pages for the service record. No.1-02 is now ready for it's new owner!

I have learnt much during the making of this second watch. One decision I have taken is to give the plates much more pronounced bevelling. I will have to reduce the 'empty spaces' in the plates for this but, in the end, it's all about the overall balance.

Another decision is to dispense with plating altogether. I have suffered much heartburn due to the plating on 02. To date I have not found a source for plating who is capable of delivering 100%. 02 was delayed nearly 2 months because of plating issues. I trust that the protected environment of a watch case will keep the brass from tarnishing. On the other hand, tarnish might add a different dimension to the look of the watch over time. It might even act as a service indicator :-). In any case, bare brass can always be plated at a later date when a good source has been identified & developed.

These are my thoughts as I plan work on No.1-03.