Friday, March 13, 2009

18kt Gold and Titanium Watch


I finally finished this watch. It has taken about 150 hours of work. I have made about 15 watches in 20 years so far, and it just goes to show how dumb I am, because I seem not to be able to remember what a lot of work all this is.
This was definitely the most difficult watch I have made, because of the titanium. All the pieces had to be mechanically joined, unlike if it was made out of gold or silver.
Then I just solder the damn thing together.

I heat blued the titanium, which is a moer of amount more work, but this surface is prone to scratching, so after it gets scratched, I am going to disassemble this watch and make everything the native grey of titanium again.
And believe me, blueing is a mission, because you got to get it all the same colour and if you blue something that has ONE itsy bitsy fluff on it, it is fucked and you start all over again, because there is this pale blue dot on the dark blue background.

I had to start with a solid plate of titanium because I can't weld it. This is because that dude from the Antarctic, Mr. Claus never brought me the laser welder I have asked from him for one THREE years running.


So I drill it out on my drill press.

Then I use a hacksaw and cut the excess stuff off.
And then I file it round with my trusty 15 inch round bastard file.

Some more sweat and some delicate hacksaw work.

Then some delicate filing with my other delicate files, gets the basic idea going.
I have also marked out twelve hour marks.


Eventually I get to this. The pre-finished blank.


Then I start on the bracelet part of it. This is the most work, really.
Lots of work, filing them all equal and drilling all the holes and sanding then down to 1200 grit.

But eventually I am here, at the basic chassis.

This is a fold over catch I made. I am going to do a Hidi on this type of catch soon.
Very effective, very strong, very simple.
Here I have drilled and inlayed the hour dots and made the inner sleeve. This is press fitted into the titanium casing using a hammer and an old engine valve. Nothing, if not basic. In fact the only machines I used in this entire project were a drill press and my hanging motor.

Now it moves into basic watch making, which I don't want to get into here, because it is boring to photograph.

But basically, I drill the hole for the tube casing, make the back plate,drill and tap the holes for the back plate, make the screws,make the face mokume-gané style and fit the movement to the face. That includes soldering two little pegs at the back of the watch face, which hold the movement in place.
Then I make the crown wheel, (winder) cut the stem,( winder shaft that goes into the movement) fit the glass, put on the hands etc, etc, etc.

Anyway after all that is done,

I have a finished waterproof watch.
Nice in't?

Close up of the face. A somewhat difficult thing to make, I might add. Made out of 18kt white and yellow gold and copper. And rolled to .3mm thick.
The back. It is held down by eight screws. Taping titanium is tricky.
In fact, titanium is quite a hard mistress.
She will break your drills, kill your taps, blunt your files, and leave you without sharp tools whether you like it or not.
Anyway, now I will never be late again....
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