People who make their own mechanical watches

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Step 1: Primary tool. [complete]

Step 2: Fire. [behind schedule]


They are called watchmakers.


I’d be hopeless at assembling the bits myself, so I’m still impressed, but: is it really building a watch “from scratch” if you buy the movement (all the mechanism/clockwork) ready-made?


So does anyone have a kit recommendation?

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No really a kit but start with a ETA/Unitas 6497 or 6498 any variation or clone will do. They are robust calibers and easy to customize.


Thanks for this! I’ve been wanting to design a case for a couple years, but could never really parse out a good place to start.

The watch in that photo looks awesome. Nice utilitarian aesthetic.


My guess: It’s probably a Damasko/Sinn case. You’ll find similar watches there.

Not as such. But this was featured on BB a couple years ago…

I ended up buying it to help me figure out how to do some basic service on an old mechanical watch. It’s not for the feint of heart, but if you enjoy maker projects and delicate work, it’s a lot of fun. Bear in mind I didn’t attempt to build my own from scratch, and I wouldn’t be able to make the time (pun unavoidable), so patience is required.


Block quote I once almost managed to put together a Lego kit and I’m still proud of myself.

There are Lego watchmakers out there who’ve kludged escapements from real Lego bricks, but it seems to me pretty obvious that there’s a market for custom made escapements that are Lego compatible, to make such clockwork far easier for the first-timer.

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If you’re looking for “from scratch,” there’s Chris on his YouTube Clickspring channel. Building a clock from raw stock wasn’t enough of a challenge for him, so he’s reconstructing the antikythera mechanism using mainly period-appropriate tools and techniques, like casting his own bronze and making this great hand drill:

No affiliation, just a huge fan.


I’d do it, but I think it’d be a smartwatch. In fact, I’d love to see people make old-school Pebble Time Steel-compatibles running over when the time comes, but yeah, I know…

To me “from scratch” means everything.

The real watch subculture though involves watch-bashing; cases, movements, faces, hands, date/day indicators, and straps are pulled from other watches to get the desired ‘unique’ look. Seiko 5 watches are very popular when it comes to the movement due to their ruggedness.(I only know about this stuff because for a while I was really into automatic watches.)

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