ASSEMBLING

A watch comes to life.

Until now, they were all just individual parts – turned, milled, polished, decorated and gold plated. Now the watch takes shape in several stages.

The watchmaker uses a pressing tool to insert the jewel bearings for the spindles of the toothed wheels into the plate and bridges. This is a crucial operation. The way the jewels are pressed in influences the correct vertical play of the gear-train. Do the gear-wheels and pinions mesh together correctly? Does the height need adjusting by a few hundredths of a millimeter? Once the gear-train is adjusted, the bridges and plates are screwed down, the mainsprings are assembled in the going barrels, the movement is ready to receive the escapement. With the installation of the escapement, consisting of the escape-wheel, the pallets and balance-wheel, the watch comes to life.

But the watch still isn’t ready for final assembly. First, the movement must be completely disassembled. All parts are washed in cleaning baths and then dried, reassembled and lubricated. Once the movement has been regulated, the watchmaker sets the hands and re-inserts the movement into the case. The back of the case is then fixed in place with tiny screws. The finished watch is subjected to a rate test on a watch winder for several days. Water resistance is also tested. Only when the watch has passed all the quality tests is it ready for the customer.

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