Tim Swike-"Beginner Watchmaking, How to Build Your Very First Watch"

Discussion in 'Horological Books' started by Richard Watkins, Jul 19, 2011.

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  1. Richard Watkins

    Richard Watkins Registered User
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    A very strange book

    I have just read "Beginner watchmaking, how to build your very first watch" by Tim Swike. This suggests you do the following:

    But a cheap watch (off ebay).

    Buy a dial, hands and strap from other web sites.

    Put on the new dial and hands, and strap. Hey presto! You have made a watch!

    If the movement in the case is no good, then buy a small quartz movement and fill the case with putty to stop it moving about.

    The first step is usually necessary because otherwise it is hard to get a case. Fixing the dial is easy; chop of the dial feet and then glue it to the movement or the putty filler.

    The result, of course, is a cheap and probably ugly watch. I have no idea why anyone would do this. It would cost about $100 and for that you can buy a brand new, off-the-shelf, attractive quartz watch and save the bother.
     
  2. Steven Thornberry

    Steven Thornberry User Administrator
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    Re: A very strange book

    Very interesting. It sounds like something I might have tried when 10 years old. Why didn't I think of writing such a book.
     
  3. MDean

    MDean Registered User

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    Re: A very strange book


    I believe that a horologist that makes or works on watches would never write a book making those statements on how to build your first watch.

    After a search I see that he has written other books on other subjects.

    Analogy:
    I remember "building" my own 3 speed bicycle when I was 10. I started with the frame and got all the parts from other broken bikes. I finally determined what parts actually fit properly and completed it (without putty).

    If I built that bicycle using the method describe in the book it would be okay to bend the forks and install wide wheelbarrow wheels, use a wood dowel for the axle and plastic flex hose for the handlebar and a golf ball for the seat.

    Emit
     
  4. Fortunat Mueller-Maerki

    Fortunat Mueller-Maerki National Library Chair
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    Re: A very strange book

    I have seen a copy of this book and must agree with Richard, it is a terrible book. A n example of how publish yourself has led to a complete deterioration of quality standards
     
  5. doug sinclair

    doug sinclair Registered User

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    Re: A very strange book

    I haven't read this book, but I have on my bookshelf a book regarding collecting vintage watches that is awful! Frankly, I don't know why I have kept it, it's so bad. Lousy spelling, lousy structure, lousy grammar, mis-information, etc. And you'd be shocked if I told you who wrote it! (Name of the author and title witheld for my own sake!). So such books do happen.
     
  6. tom427cid

    tom427cid Registered User
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    Re: A very strange book

    Sounds like it was written by Red Green----
    for the unenlightened he is one of the founders of Possum Lodge who believes that duct tape is the absolute answer to every problem. Sometimes can be found on PBS.
    tom
     
  7. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
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    Re: A very strange book

    You mean this guy, Tom? Keep your stick on the ice:D.
     

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  8. Kevin W.

    Kevin W. Registered User
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    Re: A very strange book

    My hero, Red Green, a very inventive man.I bet he could do better than this guy who wrote the book.
     
  9. Richard Watkins

    Richard Watkins Registered User
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    Re: A very strange book

    I have never heard of the book mentioned by Doug. Will someone enlighten me please? In a plain brown paper wrapper if necessary.
     
  10. Clint Geller

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    #10 Clint Geller, Aug 16, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2011
    Re: A very strange book

    The worst horological book I have ever read is "The Watchmakers of Massachussetts," by ACB (though I am sorely tempted to break with the pattern on this theead and call a Voldemort by his full name.) As an author myself, I recognize that it is usually not possible to introduce significant new information or ideas into a field of study without inadvertently introducing at least a few new mistakes along with them. Certainly I have made my share. But an author should aspire to leave the state of knowledge in a field about which he writes better than he found it. Otherwise, what's the point?

    Sadly, ACB took an already well covered subject, MA watchmakers, and gratuitously added many careless, unnecessary errors without contributing anything new of value to understanding. Most of his elementary mistakes could have been caught by any competent reviewer familiar with the subject prior to publication of his book. One could ask why he didn't seek such a reviewer out, but that would beg the more fundamental question of why such a poorly informed person as ACB would have felt fit to write such a book at all. That author's aforementioned shortcomings are compounded by flagrant and extensive plagiarism. Most egregiously, he lifted large sections from "Timing a Century" virtually verbatim without proper atrribution. I can recommend his volume only for squashing bugs, wedging open doors, or perhaps lining a birdcage with its pages.
     
  11. Tom McIntyre

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    Re: A very strange book

    This sort of problem arises when someone is the smartest person in his small circle of friends. By batting bad ideas back and forth, they take on authority of repetition.

    The primary issue with horology is that we have no current academic discipline of any standing, so there are relatively few competent historians or theoretical technical writers in the field and the void is filled by well meaning bumblers with little education.

    I despise the use of the word amateur to describe these people. An amateur is someone who practices the art for the love of it rather than for money. The designation has nothing to do with skill level.

    Paul Chamberlain was a great example of an amateur horologist. His book is still far and away the best on the subject, in my opinion.
     
  12. Horology6

    Horology6 New Member

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    Re: A very strange book

    In my opinion many of the authors would be better off writing one definitive work that is full passion for the art.

    It seems that so many these days are just working to get out the collection especially after the first one. They get a name for themselves and then people will read anything put out by them just because they have authored it.

    In most cases I have seen that sequel books or future books by the same authors are typically never as good as the first ones and lack the depth and focus one should always have when authoring a book. It seems like today quantity is more and more often taking the place of quality.
     
  13. Dave D

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    Re: A very strange book

    You can find lots of his workshop humor on YouTube. Red is the best. Tell me, who hasn't laughed and then thought, "Hey, that might actually work."
    His best line has to be: "Remember, this is only temporary. Unless it works."
    Another great performer from our neighbors to the East. (I live in Michigan and head East, not North to go to Canada.)
     
  14. neighmond

    neighmond Registered User

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    I'm sorry to say that this book had only one thing to recommend it, and that is that the CD, broken into quarters, was the proper thickness to place under the short leg of my table.

    There is some scattered technical information.....if it had stopped there perhaps no harm may have been done.

    I fear that the practical instructions are very much lacking of the integrity and workman-like bahaviour I would expect out of someone who proclaims themselves "expert" enough to author an instructional manual. It seemed only to advocate the use of scattered second-hand and occasional odd and end new part, put together with little real thought of permanence or pride in accomplishment. It is the sort of thing I would expect out of a local shade tree mechanic.

    Speaking as a full-time watch/clockmaker, it is my opinion that the person who would really profit from this "work" (besides the author) is one who wants to brag about being a "watchmaker" without having invested any real time and practice having mastered any of the tried and true methods that a true workman or woman ought to be proficient in.

    I could probably turn it back to the flea bay seller who sold it to me, but I won't, because keeping this copy out of circulation will mean that it's one less novice corrupted by it. I honestly feel for any novice who is misled into thinking that this trip is what real watchmakers actually do, and urge them to spend their money and attentions on the works of DeCarle, Daniels, Fried, Hood, Kelly, Harris, and the like.
     
  15. harold bain

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  16. neighmond

    neighmond Registered User

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    I didn't recall seeing that other thread until the offending work had arrived.....If I had only seen it (or remembered it if I did see it) I should have took their word...shall I reput it there?
     
  17. harold bain

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    It'll be easier to find now that you've put the book title on top. You could always use the book for a fire starter, now that the cold weather is here.:rolleyes:
    I'll merge the two threads to keep it together.
     
  18. chimeclockfan

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    Sounds like a book for "eccentric" people.

    His next book should be "how to repair the watch you made" with the only tool being a sledge hammer. :}
     
  19. montyhydro

    montyhydro New Member

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    What kind of dial is that on the cover? I could use that.
     
  20. Watchfixer

    Watchfixer Registered User

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    I did not realize that book was so low standards when I got it at xmas, I asked for exchange to get different books instead. Did get Daniel's watchmaking book.

    Cheers, Watchfixer
     
  21. BushLeagueHoro

    BushLeagueHoro New Member

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    Re: A very strange book


    I think that your synopsis and key points are very misleading about the objectives of the book. While I can't really defend the title of the book, since it really just covers assembly and quick non-movement related repairs, I think that your perspective is completely inappropriate for the audience that could benefit from something like this. For the type of people who love to tinker and completely dissect something to understand and appreciate it, simply buying an off the shelf quartz accomplishes nothing. Why do people brew their own beer? They could simply buy something much better from the store for less and without the trouble. That's not the point though. There's something special and very rewarding about enjoying a beer you brewed yourself. Even if you didn't grow the barely or hops and it tastes like crap, you're damn proud of it and you learned a lot along the way.

    This book helps you get your feet wet, and that's it. No one could argue they were a "watchmaker" after getting through this text, but they could certainly say they've assembled one, which in my opinion is as much of a stepping stone as you could ask for when getting into the field.
     
  22. BushLeagueHoro

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  23. doug sinclair

    doug sinclair Registered User

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    Many "watchmakers" of today are of the 90-day wonder variety. They start out changing batteries, graduate to fitting "pop-in", round mineral crystals, fitting bracelets and straps, learning when to put a quartz watch onto the "turbo" to get them running again, then graduate to swapping movements. It is about at this time that they often quit learning. From what has been said in this thread about this book, I get the impression that some "readers" might get the impression that this is what watchmaking is all about. And Heaven forbid they should join the coterie of such hacks that contaminate the craft!
     
  24. Edox

    Edox New Member

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    I just hate reading biased reviews from watch snobs. Why is such a master craftsman like yourself buying a beginner book listed for a hobbyist? Did you even read the title? I did and the book was perfect for me.
     
  25. doug sinclair

    doug sinclair Registered User

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    Re: A very strange book

    I typically "welcome" new posters to this MB. In this case, I shall refrain!
     
  26. Firegriff

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    Re: A very strange book

    I have been buying the self published books because the publishers started charging double for the e-book over getting the same book in paperback, sometimes they are a stinker sometimes a gem. but it is criminal to charge $12.99 for a e-book when the same paper book is under $7.00 at a book store or Wall mart. This has been a crick in my neck for awile -chuckles. Smiler to the watch and clock CD's on E-Bay most of the files are junk but several are quite good
     
  27. Tom McIntyre

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    Re: A very strange book

    I wonder what "hobby" you are talking about. The kind of work described is well below the Steampunk flavor of watchmaking. It does not even create a useful novelty. We offer one evening courses for 10 year olds at our museum that do a much better job.
     
  28. Firegriff

    Firegriff Registered User
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    Today I replaced the back gasket in my fake Rolex and did not even mess up the Hair Spring or bend a gear My first repair !!!!!!!!! hehehehe
     

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