Timepiece Tool

December 2, 2011

Swiss Watchmaker's Lathe Instrument Grinding Down Hand Made Watch Part - Geneva, Switzerland - Daily Travel Photos
(Geneva, Switzerland)
f/4 || 1/125s || @50mm || ISO400 || Canon 5D || Canon 50mm f/1.4 Embed Code

A lathe type machine used to mill down an already tiny piece of raw metal for use in watchmaking.

And this brings us to why some watches cost nearly one million US dollars. The watchmaker above informed me that for most fine Swiss watches, each part is hand made from a single piece of tiny metal using hand-operated machines like the one above. To complicate matters, the pieces are mere microns in width and must fit and interconnect with impossible precision. One minor mistake and the watch will not keep time at all, let alone, very well. Just absolutely fascinating!

Travel Guy Works the Swiss Watchmakers Lathe - Geneva, Switzerland - Daily Travel Photos
(Geneva, Switzerland)
f/2.2 || 1/320s || @50mm || ISO400 || Canon 5D || Canon 50mm f/1.4 Embed Code

The Travelguy hops on to the lathe to test his skills as Switzerland's newest and least trained watchmaker.

The watchmaker appeared to tire of demonstrating so he asked me to take the driver's seat... me, a man-child of zero minutes of watchmaking experience under my belt. Holy crap that was difficult!!! The tiny blade I hold in my hand must continuously be sharpened to mill the piece of metal correctly while my other hand spins the mill manually. I made enough incorrect moves that the blade dulled immediately and with that, the end of my brief and non-lucrative career as a Swiss watchmaker.

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