More on watchmaking...

by technoguy


Well, it seems that my definition of a watchmaker has created somewhat of a debate on the topic. While, I still think that the term originally applied to craftsfman who made the entire watch movement and case, it can also be, somewhat more loosely, applied to those who have to hand make an occasional part to repair some antique watch or clock movement. That also requires a fairlly high degree of mechanical skill.

Whether or not the Timexicans here are "watchmakers" is, ultimately, in the eye of the beholder. Many people here are polishing their own cases and replating them, exchanging stems from one watch to another and cutting the stem to make sure it fits a different case, combining parts from different watches to make "Franken watches" with a unique appearance. No, they are not turning fresh wheel staffs or winding their own hairsprings, but I would still consider what they do to qualify, at least, at the lowest level of watchmaking. One must remember that the basic Timex movement was considered disposable. If it was not, and required the actual making of parts, then I am sure that a large percentage of the people here would probably be doing that!

I think that the trend toward disposability, even in high-end timepieces, is here to stay. It is now cheaper to manufacture an entirely new movement then it is to try and repair a damaged one by making and installing new parts. Yes, it's a sad trend, but one that has been obvious to me for several decades now.

I think that even if one is not exactly functioning at the level of the original watchmakers of centuries ago, one can still legitimately take pride in what they can do with regard to collecting their Timex watches. Finding a beaten up, non-running Timex at a flea market and then restoring it to almost like new condition IS something to be proud of...whether one is called a "watchmaker" or not.


Posted on Oct 4, 2005, 4:45 AM

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