Not many people in the entire world choose to take on such a massive and difficult project. Making a tourbillon watch completely by hand with no base caliber, no factory made parts, no plans or drawings. Just an idea. An idea that slowly develops into a plan, into drawings, into parts and finally a complete watch.
I believe it takes a special kind of madness to take on such a task. Granted that this project has developed over several years and at times it has felt like the most difficult thing I've ever done. So many problems and complexities are involved in making any kind of a tourbillon watch and having to design and make each and every part individually takes it to a whole new level. It is not just a matter of making the parts, but also developing tools and methods. Quite often more time is spent making a suitable tool than actually using it.
The vast majority of fine watches today are made using CNC machinery and teams of people working on them. It just makes sense to do that. However a handful of people around the world still use traditional methods to make amazing pieces of mechanical art by hand. These pieces are truly unique and they all have a story. As the world slowly gets saturated with the products of modern industry, these handmade pieces remain a desirable curiosity among watchmakers, enthusiasts and collectors alike.
Making the gear train
Main plate and fitting the gear train
The tourbillon cage
bridge and winding & setting mechanism
This project has been on hiatus for a few months and upon launching this website in January 2019 the work will continue. The movement is not far from finished, it runs very nicely and the case design has been chosen. Some parts still need to be made, some need to be finished. There will be new material posted on this page as the project continues.
March 2019: The project continues with making parts for the motion works. I started with the two brass wheels.
Dial and case making
I decided to make the dial at this point because I wanted to be able to tweak the appearance of the watch to my liking. I made a few dials, but this is what I decided to go with. The dial is made of nickel silver and it is rhodium plated. The dial is decorated with circular graining and acid frosting.
At this point I realised that it would make sense to make the case and especially the front bezel so that I could actually see all the proportions and and compare the real thing to my hand drawn sketches of the final watch. Fortunately I didn't need to tweak the appearance too much. I machined the case parts in a few days from raw stock and gave them an initial graining and polishing to have an idea what I want them to look like. The case is made of Grade 5 titanium and the lugs for the wristband will be separate pieces. There will be a flat sapphire crystal on the wrist side and a domed sapphire crystal on top.