Building a movement from scratch?

Discussion in 'Horological Books' started by Paul Raposo, Jul 26, 2006.

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  1. Paul Raposo

    Paul Raposo Registered User

    Nov 4, 2005
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    If I wanted to set out and build a watch movement from scratch, (I don't really), which books would be the best teaching tools? Any opinions?
     
  2. Paul Raposo

    Paul Raposo Registered User

    Nov 4, 2005
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    If I wanted to set out and build a watch movement from scratch, (I don't really), which books would be the best teaching tools? Any opinions?
     
  3. D.H. Grace

    D.H. Grace Guest

    Paul,

    Three books that pop to mind immediately are

    George Daniels, Watchmaking

    Claudius Saunier, Treatise on Modern Horology

    W.J. Gazeley, Watch and Clock Making and Repairing

    There are lots of others, but those are the first ones I'd pull off the shelf.

    Regards,

    David Grace
     
  4. Fortunat Mueller-Maerki

    Fortunat Mueller-Maerki National Library Chair
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    The various books by John Wilding and by Bill Smith are probably best:

    # John Wilding
    Title: Construction of a "Large Wheel" Skeleton Clock
    Keywords: how-to
    Other Keywords: skeleton
    BHM ID: 227

    # John Wilding
    Title: Construction of a 3/4 pendulum electric Clock
    Keywords: how-to practical electrical
    Other Keywords: plans
    BHM ID: 216

    # John Wilding
    Title: Construction of a CONGRAVE Rolling Ball Clock
    Keywords: how-to
    Other Keywords: Congreve rolling-ball
    BHM ID: 225

    # John Wilding
    Title: Construction of a Drum Water Clock
    Keywords: how-to
    Other Keywords: water clepsydra
    BHM ID: 231

    # John Wilding
    Title: Construction of an elegant Scroll type Skeleton Clock
    SubTitle: and a mainspring winder
    Keywords: how-to
    Other Keywords: skeleton
    BHM ID: 226

    # John Wilding
    Title: Drum Water Clock [A…]
    SubTitle: An unusual project by John Wilding
    Keywords: practical how-to
    Other Keywords: water drum plans instructions
    BHM ID: 6398

    # John Wilding
    Title: How to Construct a SCISSORS CLOCK
    SubTitle: and a hand operated grooving tool
    Keywords: how-to
    Other Keywords: scissors
    BHM ID: 229

    # John Wilding
    Title: How to make a Congrave Clock
    SubTitle: (book edition)
    Keywords: how-to
    Other Keywords: Congreve rolling-ball
    BHM ID: 233

    # John Wilding
    Title: How to make a r weight driven 8 Day Wall Clock
    SubTitle: (book edition)
    Keywords: how-to
    BHM ID: 3363

    # John Wilding
    Title: How to make a replica of an 18th century 30Hour weight driven Alarm Clock
    SubTitle: (book edition)
    Keywords: how-to alarm
    BHM ID: 3362

    # John Wilding
    Title: How to make a simple 16th Century Style Clock
    Keywords: how-to escapement
    Other Keywords: foliot
    BHM ID: 228

    # John Wilding
    Title: How to make a weight driven 8-Day Wall Clock (updated)
    SubTitle: with optional striking - datework -perpetual datework
    Keywords: how-to
    BHM ID: 223

    # John Wilding
    Title: How to make Galileo's Escapement
    Keywords: how-to escapment
    Other Keywords: Galileo
    BHM ID: 3361

    # W.R. (Bill) Smith
    Title: How to make a Grasshopper Skeleton Clock
    Keywords: how-to advanced practical
    Other Keywords: skeleton grashopper plans
    BHM ID: 238

    # W.R. (Bill) Smith
    Title: How to make a Skeleton Wall Clock
    Keywords: how-to practical
    Other Keywords: skeleton
    BHM ID: 239

    # W.R. (Bill) Smith
    Title: How to make a Strutt Epicyclic Train Clock
    Keywords: how-to specific
    Other Keywords: epicyclic skeleton
    BHM ID: 4624
     
  5. Fortunat Mueller-Maerki

    Fortunat Mueller-Maerki National Library Chair
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    Sorry I did not read your post correctly, my posts are for clocks not watches. I agree with David that Daniels, Watchmaking is the bible on making watches from scratch.

    Fortunat
     
  6. Paul Raposo

    Paul Raposo Registered User

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    Excellent replies, David and Fortunat, thank you both.

    Although I don't have any plans in the immediate future of building a movement from the ground up, I'm not sure what the distant future might hold.

    I figure if I understand the mechanics of building a movement, it will help me as I learn more about watch repair.

    Thank you again and I have started my search for Mr. Daniels' book and hope to have the other two as well.
     
  7. Grouse

    Grouse Guest

    Web Horology "special project" has about 25% of the 'Saunier' Watchmaker's Handbook completed.

    It is in the eBook area.

    Sam says there is a lot to be done before it is completed. He plans on having it fully searchable by a KeyWord search that is Indexable.
     
  8. Fortunat Mueller-Maerki

    Fortunat Mueller-Maerki National Library Chair
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    The news that there soon will be a complete online edition of Saunier is very encouraging.

    Sauniers Treasie remains one of the most mportant books ever written on horology.

    Every serious student of horology shoulkd own a copy, the originals have beautiful hand colored engraved plates.

    Fortunat
     
  9. Richard Watkins

    Richard Watkins Registered User
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    Ah, confusion!
    The online Saunier is the American edition of the "Handbook", which is a modified version of the English edition, which is derived from a couple of Saunier's books. It is a very good book for watch repair but not much use for watch making.
    Saunier's treatise is, in my opinion, regarded too highly. It is fundamentally a treatise on the cylinder escapement with a few other bits tossed in. There is very little useful guidance for someone who wants to make a watch.
    Other than Daniels' book, which is excellent, my translation of Berthoud & Auch ("How to Make a Verge Watch") is the only other book that I know of that actually describes watch making. The few other books that are relevant (such as Glasgow "Watch and clock making") assume you buy an ebauche and so just describe finishing.
     
  10. Grouse

    Grouse Guest

    Even Henry Abbott gave credit to Saunier, so who am I to argue. The book stands on its own rights as an oustanding leiterary work from that period. I doubt if any one could become a Watch Maker by reading books. It takes years to develop the dexteriority needed.

    I am enjoying the book as it is being presented,"One page at a time". A lot of effort is being put into it. I hope Sam and his Wife continues to copy it to the Web.
     
  11. Richard Watkins

    Richard Watkins Registered User
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    I agree with Grouse - the "watchmakers Handbook" is excellent, but it isn't much use for watchmaking. Saunier's Treatise is a totally different matter.
     
  12. Fortunat Mueller-Maerki

    Fortunat Mueller-Maerki National Library Chair
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    Again my appologies. I seem to be a very superficial reader of this list lately. I had not read Grouses posting correctly. Upon learning that "Saunier" was beeing published electronically I autoatically assumed it was the "Treatsie" which to me is one of the alltime best horological books, and as Richard notes of immense value in many horological endeavors, incl. watchmaking. If I had my choice I would scan the treatsie befor the Saunier HAndbook anytime.

    Fortunat

    Title: Treatsie on Modern Horology in Theory and Practice
    Author: Claudius Saunier, Julien Tripplin, Edward Rigg(Translator)
    Publisher: Tripplin / Keller
    Keywords: theoretical advanced
    Language: ENG
    Notes: English translation of 1872[?] french edition, with 22 hand colored fold-out copper plates
    Edition: 1890s? -- Copyright: 1867
    Kind: Book
    Type: Timekeeper (general)
    Geographic area: France
    Topic: TheoryGeneral
    Organization: NA/other
    Pages: 844 -- Height in cm: 28
    Print Status: 2 (1 means in print - 2 means out of print)
    BHM ID: 1928

    -----------------------------------


    Title: Watchmakers' Handbook
    SubTitle: Intended as a Workshop Companion for those who are engaged in Watchmaking and the allied Mechanical
    Author: Claudius Saunier, Julien Tripplin, Edward Rigg(Translator)
    Publisher: Lindsay
    Keywords: reference
    Other Keywords: handbook
    ISBN: 1 55918 118 4
    Language: ENG
    Notes: 1993 reprint of 1882 English translation published by Tripplin of 1870 Guide manuel de l'horloger
    Edition: 1993 -- Copyright: 1882
    Kind: Book
    Type: Timekeeper (general)
    Geographic area: France
    Topic: Reference
    Organization: NA/other
    Pages: 482 -- Height in cm: 21
    Print Status: 1 (1 means in print - 2 means out of print)
    BHM ID: 142
    --------------------------------------------

    Title: Guide-Manuel de l'Horloger, traitant des notions de calcul et de dessin d'utilite journaliere pour l'horloger,
    SubTitle: .. des methodes d'apres lesquelles il doit choisir, eprouve et travailler les metaux, …
    Author: Claudius Saunier
    Publisher: Revue Chronometrique
    Keywords: reference historic advanced
    Other Keywords: handbook
    Language: FRE
    Notes: Part one of original French editions of Sauniers classic handbook for Watchmakers, with 7 foldout plates. The "practical" companion volue to Treaties on modern horology
    Edition: 2nd edition, 1873 -- Copyright: 1873
    Kind: Book
    Type: Watch (general)
    Geographic area: France
    Topic: Reference
    Organization: NA/other
    Pages: 262 -- Height in cm: 18
    Print Status: 2 (1 means in print - 2 means out of print)
    ---------------------------------------
     
  13. Fortunat Mueller-Maerki

    Fortunat Mueller-Maerki National Library Chair
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    In addition to Daniels, which is unsurpased as an account of making a watch there is an interesting first person account on the web of somebody who "kind off" made a watch from scratch. He designed and made from scratch the plates and bridges and case and dial and hands, but used the wheels of an ETA 2824-2 caliber.

    This can be found at http://web.ticino.com/dcorson/watch/index.html

    Enjoy

    Fortunat



    Title: Making a Watch by Hand
    SubTitle: ,,,,,[weboffprint from www.ticino.com/dcorson/watch/index.html A seven part series]
    Author: Donald W. Corson
    Publisher: The Author
    Keywords: case dial/hands movement lathe basic practical how-to
    Language: ENG
    Notes: A detailed step by step description of an amateur machinist named Donald Corson making the case, dial hands and part of movement of a wristwatch from scratch, a weboffprint from www.ticino.com/dcorson/watch/index
    Kind: Book
    Type: Wrist Watch
    Geographic area: Not Geographic
    Topic: Making Craft
    Organization: Maker
    Print Status: 1 (1 means in print - 2 means out of print)
    Entered By: FMM
    BHM ID: 9673
     
  14. D.H. Grace

    D.H. Grace Guest

    #14 D.H. Grace, Jul 28, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 7, 2017
    Richard,

    Can't say I agree with either of your following statements regarding Saunier's Treatise:

    The cylinder escapement is NOT the primary focus of Saunier's Treatise. The book covers most of the watch escapements that were then known--verge, cylinder, duplex, lever, virgule, and detached. The cylinder discussion, at about 200 pages, is a bit longer than the lever discussion, at a mere 120 pages, but that's not because Saunier decided to ignore the ins and outs of the lever or any other escapement. Nor does it mean that the smaller sections, like those dealing with verges and chronometers, are even less worthy of a reader's attention. Name another source that explains what Breguet and Motel were trying to accomplish with their specific detent geometries. Again, Saunier's Treatise is NOT "fundamentally" about cylinder watches, and should not be dismissed as such.

    As far as useful guidance for someone who wants to make a watch, where other than Saunier can you find such full explanations of the theory and historic development of each escapement, clear discussions of the theories behind watch design, as well as instructions and helpful hints for executing those designs?

    Daniels certainly provides more modern, practical advice in the areas he covers, but you can be certain that his own copy of Saunier's Treatise was extremely well thumbed through while he was writing Watchmaking. Daniels' advantage does not derive from a differing approach--he basically channels and modernizes Saunier. Nor does his book's advantage derive from an avoidance of cylinder escapements. In my mind, the thing that makes Daniels' book different and adds immediate value is David Penney's innumerable, excellent drawings illustrating Daniels' thoughts and points (both large and small). As a total package, Daniels' Watchmaking is invaluable, but the book deserves an honored place next to Saunier's Treatise, not as its replacement.

    Or maybe I've misunderstood your criticism of Saunier and why you think it's overrated.

    Personally, I think anyone with an interest in watchmaking ought to have a copy of the Treatise on their shelf. If someone subsequently regrets owning the book, they will find a ready market should they decide to sell it. Unlike Saunier's Handbook, and countless other "how to" repair books, the Treatise is not a book that will sit around on a Mart table for long.

    Regards,

    David Grace
     
  15. W.R. WoodWorking

    W.R. WoodWorking Registered User

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    #15 W.R. WoodWorking, Jul 28, 2006
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    That is the most incredable documentaion of watch making I ever seen. Im just in awe of the watch. and that being his first attempt,,..Wow
     
  16. Ralph

    Ralph Registered User
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  17. DonCorson

    DonCorson Guest

    Hi!
    My account of making my watch mentioned above is not a description of how to make a watch and was never meant to be such. I am not a watchmaker and could never claim to know enough about what I am doing to be able to teach someone else. It is a report of my experiences making this watch. I relied heavily on the Daniels, but used also books from Jendritzki and Smith. The biggest help, however, was talking to working watchmakers. Often I got responses like, "I haven't made a part like that since my apprenticeship 30 years ago". Even then they know at least theoretically how to do it. If I give credit to anyone that this watch now works, it is to the 3 watchmakers mentioned on my site, who helped me.

    I knowingly refrained from wheelmaking, etc. in order to get the first steps down, the simple craftsmanship necessary at this scale. My next watch will include more of my own work and I plan to eventually master most everything.

    I do not know the book by Saunier and will now have to try to find a copy to look at. The only books that I know that really go into the engineering of making timepieces, not just the craftsmanship, are:

    Théorie général de l'horlogerie
    L. Defossez, 1952

    which goes into extreme deapth about mechanical watches and leaves absolutely no stone unturned.
    and

    Théorie de la construction horlogère pour ingénieurs
    edited by Michel Vermot, 2003
    Centre de compétences en technologie et design horlogers
    Ecole d'ingénieurs de l'Arc jurassien
    Le Locle, Suisse

    The Vermot is like a condensed version of the Defossez (and includes the entire Defossez on CD) updated to todays knowledge and materials and also includes quartz watches. If I remember correctly there are 5 volumes total. Two have been available for a couple of years and the remaining three have just come out this month. I have yet to receive my copies. Both the Defossez and Vermot are in French and have not been translated to my knowledge. I would be glad to know of equivalent books in English or if the Defossez has maybe been translated at some time. I, at least, have found it only in French. As there is now, to my knowledge, no work being done at the engineering level on mechanical watches in English speaking countries I doubt that they will be translated if it didn't already happen in the '50s. They are probably both already available in Chinese 'though.

    Right now I see that the Vermot will become more and more my point of reference in the future. As I get further along I do not want to fall into the try and try again trap. I much prefer calculate, measure and correct.
    I would reccomend to anyone seriously interested in the engineering of watchmaking to learn French (it isn't that hard and is lots of fun once you get the hang of it).
    Best regards,
    Don

    http://web.ticino.com/dcorson/watch/index.html
     
  18. Richard Watkins

    Richard Watkins Registered User
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    Sorry about the silence - we are in the process of moving and watches, for once, are taking second place.

    David Grace objected to my opinion of Saunier's "A treatise on modern horology" and wondered: "maybe I've misunderstood your criticism of Saunier and why you think it's overrated".

    My views are given in some detail in my bibliography "Mechanical Watches" and I won't repeat them here. Between "perfect" and "utterly bad" there are many shades of grey and each of us will have a different opinion of just where any book fits in. Daniels "Watchmaking", for example, I consider an excellent book, but it certainly isn't perfect; however, the faults do not significantly detract from it. I think Saunier's treatise is a good to very good book, and deserves to be read. I can't say if it is over-rated (I should not have written "Saunier's treatise is, in my opinion, regarded too highly") because the only other "review" of it that I have read is that given by David above.

    My remarks on Saunier need to be viewed in the context of the FOCUS of this thread. It began with the question "If I wanted to set out and build a watch movement from scratch, (I don't really), which books would be the best teaching tools? Any opinions?" In this context it does not matter how good or bad Saunier is in general, but how good or bad the book is for someone wanting to make a watch from scratch today. For example, one book which I regard as excellent is Baillie's "Clocks and watches, an historical bibliography". But in the context of watchmaking it is neither good nor bad, it is simply irrelevant. I assumed that Paul Raposo, who began the thread, would not want to make a cylinder watch (obsolete) or a detent chronometer (a bit hard for a first attempt at watch making), and consequently much of Saunier, no matter how good, would be irrelevant. Just as the wonderful translation of Camus by Hawkins ("A treatise on the teeth of wheels") is of little importance these days when wheels are cut using standardised cutters like those made by Bergeon.

    My opinion was probably (subconsciously) influenced by a question which has not been asked or answered: What other relevant books are there, and how Does Saunier compare to them? Such as, Grossmann "A practical and theoretical treatise on the detached lever escapement"?
     

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