Time is flying

Another week passes almost instantaneously

The hours, as I mention, are pretty long but it doesn't seem that way at all. I blink and Monday turns into Wednesday then before I know it, it's the weekend.

Since the last blog post we've gotten to dig into some new stuff, like movements, specifically the ETA/Unitas 6497 as pictured below.

My partially reassembled (or is it disassembled) 6497

We disassembled and reassembled our movements a handful of times. Going over new procedures on each pass and eventually getting to oiling the jewels-which was pretty darn challenging. 

This was the first time a lot of us got to actually dig into a mechanical movement, for me it was a welcome break from the hours of filing, but for others, as parts got damaged or flew away, I noticed the frustration building. With watchmaking, a huge portion of the challenge is simply knowing how to handle and manipulate the parts. You can't tell someone how much pressure to apply while holding a screw that's 1mm in diameter, you have to experience it to know. And the first few times, it's not unusual to launch the tiny part into oblivion only to never have it return.

Back at home in the tiny workshop in my room I usually got to operate in private, meaning nobody witnessed the continuous catharses of my watch rage. Even though there was some heartache and lots of searching for parts on the speckled vinyl floors, I think it's safe to say that everyone was relieved to get some hands on time with a watch movement (I'm also like 99% sure I'm making my class more insane with my horrible puns, but my soul is fueled by puns and coffee, so they'll have to deal..).

The pallet fork

Above is the pallet fork, on the opposing end of the pallet you can see the pallet jewels which are tiny synthetic rubies that strike the escape wheel (which translate to the tick of your seconds hand). Oiling the pallet jewels was probably one of the more challenging maneuvers to date, and this is a pretty big movement. It includes navigating an oiler primed with JUST THE RIGHT AMOUNT of oil onto the correct surface of the pallet jewel then having the escape wheel/pallet jewel advance so that the oil is distributed properly. Right now, in my mind, proper A+ oiling is far more challenging than simple assembly.

Timing the movement

After multiple run through's with my movement I had a little spare time, so I thought I'd try my hand at regulating my movement. Timing a movement is a bit more comprehensive than the average person may suspect, and in my opinion those timing apps that people are always sharing on forums and social media are dangerous tools that may make watch owners more neurotic. Timing includes checking things like amplitude, rate, and beat error; these are things that are pretty impossible to get an accurate read on without a timegrapher. In addition, you time the watch in multiple positions, gravity alters the power and consistency of your watch, and since your wrist isn't a stationary object it makes sense to time in all these positions.

Most folks may notice that their watch keeps a X amount of time using one of these apps or based on their observations, but a timegrapher may reveal that in certain positions your watch keeps a very different rate of time. The goal of regulating is to minimize the variation in all these positions so that the average rate is something acceptable. 

I was able to regulate the 6497 to some wonderful specs in the dial down position, and averaged out the rate looked very good, but the "delta", the range between your positional rates, was still a little big. So even if you show someone your watch that "gains 1 second a day" or whatever, it could still have a large delta, meaning some positions it gains 20 seconds a day, but it just averages out to something else. At any rate, I probably need more experience here before I can explain it more concisely, so stay tuned for my updated attempt at sleepy horology explanations!

My bench neighbor's bench, he's also named Nick.

I also like looking at everyone's benches, each layout is unique, representing how the person approaches watchmaking, but the tools we have are largely the same.