Sunday, June 23, 2013

IWC Project Watch

Well, this project went a little south on me. On the positive side, I saved a fine timepiece from the jaws of the scrap bin and I have a decent watch for casual wear. On the negative side, it really didn’t come out as well as it could have. The main problem, of course, was and still is the broken lug (See Blog Post From January 22). The replacement came out a little larger than it should have and the soldering was left lacking and is off on the position. In hind sight, I should have brought it to someone that uses a laser for soldering. In the past, I’ve gotten better results from laser or pulse arc welding when it comes to work on watchcases. Note to self: spend the little extra for a lot better results.

My watchmaker had no problems with the movement. He did a cleaning and oiled it and it is running and is keeping good time. We decided not to touch the dial. It has some discoloration around the edges and some spotting on it but, all and all, it is in pretty good shape and still attractive, so it was left original. We were also able to buff out the crystal instead of replacing it and it looks as good as a new one. Then, I added a burgundy DeBeer crocodile grain strap to it for the finishing touch.

After all is said and done the project cost me about $300.00, including the watch to begin with, so I’m still into it for under gold value and I know I couldn’t find anything comparable for that price. On the wrist, it looks good and the faults aren’t terribly noticeable, so I’ll wear it for a while then on to the market it will go. I’m sure someone out there would be glad to give it a permanent home.


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Holy Grail of Watch Books

Swiss Timepiece Makers 1775-1975 by Kathleen H. Pritchard

In watch collecting we hear the term “Holy Grail” thrown around quite a bit. To most collectors, their “Grail” watch is something in their area of collecting that is hard or damn near impossible to find, not to mention the cost that comes with it. To a Rolex collector, this might be a Paul Newman Daytona. Okay, probably a bad example. That one might be almost all collectors’ “Holy Grail” watch or holiest of holy. For another collector, though, it may be something else. Now, as far as reference books go, there truly is one Holy Grail book (except for those who had the foresight to buy them when they came out). That book, actually a two volume set, is Swiss Timepiece Makers 1775-1975 by Kathleen H. Pritchard.

I searched for these books for over 2 years and I only saw them up for sale twice, out of my price range, in all of that time. I finally found a set in Germany for 350 euros and I ordered them through an Abe books company. The next day, I got an Email saying they were already sold. About a week later, what appeared to be the same set came up on Ebay, in Germany, and I finally got my coveted books at a hefty cost (around $900.00 with shipping). Someone who’s not familiar with all of the variables that go into researching timepieces might ask, “Are these books worth that kind of money?” You bet they are. These books pay for themselves in just the amount of time saved during research of a watch, let alone the information contained in them that you just don’t see anywhere else.

Published by Phoenix Publishing Company for the N.A.W.C.C. in 1996, these books are about 1800 pages and are packed full of information. All of this information is meticulously crossed referenced and the books include trademarks, hallmarks, key figures in the various companies and bios of many companies. These books are truly encyclopedias of Swiss watch makers and I can’t begin to explain how useful they are in research. Although no endeavor of this magnitude is without errors and omissions, they are few and far between and I, personally, have not encountered any yet. These have now become some of my most used books and I refer to them on an almost daily basis.

The author, Kathleen H. Pritchard, passed away in 2005 and is sorely missed in the horological community. In the past, she published numerous articles in the N.A.W.C.C. Bulletin, as well as other periodicals. She spent over twenty years compiling the material for these books and had been updating and compiling more information for a revised edition when she passed. Hopefully this research will eventually be published. The watch community as a whole is indebted to her for her contributions.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Fantastic New Logo And Other Happenings

I’m back. Finally! If anyone was actually tuning in here, I’m sorry about the long delay. I’ve been working on my website. As I got more involved in the process, I decided to change the scope of the site. Originally, I envisioned creating a sales page on the site – I still do plan on spotlighting different watches, but those I plan to do in detail.

At any rate, I’ll detail the exact plans for the site in an upcoming blog post. For today, I wanted to show off my amazing Logo.

I hired JeanWogaman to create the image, and I couldn’t be happier with the work!  She captured exactly what I wanted, walked me through changes to the original design and, besides the obvious – she’s an amazing artist and illustrator – she was also pleasant, professional, and an absolute gem to work with.  If you’re looking for artwork for your business, I can’t recommend her highly enough.  She’s phenomenal.

I’ve had the image in my head pretty much since I came up with the business name. I wanted the child sitting on his father’s knee, listening to the movement of his dad’s watch. I really wanted the image to capture the child’s expression – wonder and excitement.  I think she really nailed it.

Thanks so much, Jean! Truly phenomenal!

I’ll be going back to my regular schedule of Monday, Wednesday, and Friday blogs.  Look for more information on the website changes coming soon, or go check out the website.  It’s linked in the sidebar.