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Second day of Watchmaking – Frustrations of a spring Hater!

by aimeri

Lets talk springs!

Have I told you all how much I hate them? Well, I do hate them. I realize they are very important for the movement, being used for several tasks and all, but have you ever noticed how jumpy they are? Well, I lost not one but two this past Saturday and felt really frustrated with the whole spring-losing thing. Claudio (my mentor) said that I was doing well and should not feel discouraged with such minor details, but I can’t help but think what will I do if I lose a spring on an expensive watch.

Leaving my frustrations behind and going back to watchmaking, this weekend was not as productive as the last one. On my last post I called it a mechanical watch, but I did not mention that it was an auto-winding. I was not able to finish putting the auto-winding movement back together and  I will have to finish it in two weeks.  That is really sad because I know that in two weeks I will not remember were I left off and I will have to keep bugging Claudio for help. That is exactly what happened this time and I feel really bad about it. I know I am learning and all, but I feel like I should somehow know more about it all. Claudio is very gracious about it all and he keeps saying that I am only learning and its ok to have questions and get stuck. Also he mentioned that this watch that I am working on was not a good choice, since the movement is fairly complicated. He wants to give me a pocket watch next time so we can focus on oiling the movement and also he wants to teach me a little about theory as well. I love pocket watches and I am definitely looking forward to two week from now.

I hope I will be able to share more of my experiences in two weeks from now, since this post was rather dull. I spent most of my time this weekend trying to find lost springs and I don’t feel like I learned a lot.

Here is a picture of the movement I am currently working on:

Watch I am currently working on

My currently unfinished automatic movement.

Sorry about the quality. I had only my cell phone’s camera on me at the time.

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  1. Posted September 19, 2009 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Hello Aimeri,
    We’ve all gone through losing things. It is an inherent part of training, to lose and break things. If you did not do these things, you will not know the extreme care required the next time around.
    The big trick to watchmaking is a very steady hand, which translates into something like this. No excessive late nights, or drinking- Need plenty of restful sleep, and nutrition is totally paramount. For grasping what your mind needs to accomplish, vis-a-vis your finger dexterity skills, the mind and body needs an extremely healthy diet. As a student, learning from these very basic set of instructions and building upwards, will form the platform for the future of the watchmaker in you.
    Trust me, my professor use to shoo me out into the street to eat if I was feeling hungry…lol! (Not kidding)
    Good luck on them springs, best
    Prem C

  2. Posted September 19, 2009 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    Well, I’ve had a mainspring shoot across the room out of a mainspring winder:) Click springs I find tend to be maniacal.

  3. Posted September 19, 2009 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    I stopped losing both click springs and setting springs as soon as I figured out this trick. I take a piece of pegwood and put it into the crook of the spring. Instead of flying out, it spins around the pegwood. Before that I lost TONS of clicksprings.

  4. Posted September 19, 2009 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    That is an awesome idea Mike! For removing them that should definitely do. But I find that my main problem, and I should have been more specific, is when I have to put them back where they belong. When I think they are in place and I am ready to move on, zaaaam goes flying the spring across the room. Oh well, I will learn someday. At least my mentor is very patient.

  5. Posted September 22, 2009 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

    Even after years of experience, It still happens to the best of us at times, Aimeri. One tip for putting them back would be to sharpen a piece of pegwood to a taper and press it down flat across the spring while you maneuver it into place with your tweezers. I have a small, clear, acrylic rod pointed like a pencil on one end and tapered on the other, which I use for this and numerous other tasks.

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