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Masahiro Kikuno, Japanese Independent Watchmaker (2017) (watchesbysjx.com)
178 points by recurser 19 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 97 comments

For anyone interested in purchasing a mechanical watch, there are plenty of brands making affordable mechanical timepieces today. Hamilton, Seiko, Tissot, Swatch, Orient, and Timex are a few that come to mind for the sub-$1000 category. It's a fun hobby with a nice community of enthusiasts.

Some advice:

* If possible, wear the watch before buying it. Seeing a watch on your wrist is different from seeing photos of it.

* Avoid the "grey market" and buy from an Authorized Dealer. Grey market watches won't have the manufacturer warranty.

* Avoid replicas and fakes (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WHgKMA6Bh6U)

Some links:

* The Urban Gentry (https://www.youtube.com/user/theurbangentry) is a YouTube channel run by a horology enthusiast with a positive attitude who does lots of watch reviews.

* The r/Watches subreddit (https://www.reddit.com/r/watches/) has lots of photos of watches contributed by the community.

* A video on how mechanical watches work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1XBb7kJJWg

* S-Town podcast (https://stownpodcast.org/) is an intriguing story about a man who repaired antique clocks.

* Affordable Wrist Time (https://www.instagram.com/affordablewristtime/?hl=en) the tagline is "Promoting watches under $1000."

Some terminology:

* A quartz watch is usually powered by a battery. They tend to be cheaper and more accurate than mechanical watches.

* A mechanical watch is powered by a mainspring.

* An automatic watch has a semicircular rotor inside which automatically spins when the watch moves, winding the mainspring.

* Hacking is a feature that stops the second hand from moving when the crown is pulled out.

One other common terminology, any additional features are often called "complications".

In particular others like me might enjoy the UTC/GMT complication, which often has a hand that goes around the watch once every 24 hours and can be set to another timezone like UTC.

On another pro-watch note, I've discovered that a non-smartwatch has an pretty amazing feature: the ability to check the time without seeing any sort of notification.

Now I know why Apple watch features are called 'complications', thank you.

I didn't know that. Seems like quite a brave decision to name them that way, as "complication" is likely to have a pejorative meaning for many users. Imagine if web apps were called complications.

Yes, a brave decision indeed; I was wondering how it was approved till I read the connection today.

Ironically there has never been a better time to buy an affordable mechanical watch than now.

Quartz won because the mechanical watches that most people could afford in the 1970s were very inaccurate. A cheap quartz watch was more accurate than any mechanical watch and anybody could afford one by the late 1970s -- although they were very expensive at first.

Affordable mechanical watches on the market today are much more accurate than they used to be, and they are perfectly good for everyday use.

They're still nowhere near as accurate as quartz, even on the high end, and accuracy also varies depending on the orientation of the watch.

I like Seiko's spring drive. It's an ingenious mix of mechanical and electric drive and it's quite accurate. My favourite part is the continuous motion of the seconds hand.

They're not very cheap, unfortunately.

I also really like Seiko's watch face design in general, even for the cheap quartz lines, and I'm saying this as a Swiss.

Yes, the spring drive is really neat. it was designed at the time when mechanical watches seemed "doomed" to quartz so neat historically as well.

The spring drives are "Grand Seiko", so tend to be 3k+ US.

The Zenith Defy Lab watch has accuracy of -0.5/+0.5 seconds per day, which matches and/or beats quartz watches (that aren't thermocompensated). Rolexes, which have a classical movement design, are pretty close, promising -2/+2 spd. Quartz watches' accuracy also varies depending on orientation, for what it's worth. (It has an effect on the order of 1-2 seconds per year.) Related EEVBlog link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zILwgQhjC_Q

That will always be true, but they are accurate enough for daily use. A 1970s mechanical Timex could gain or lose a few minutes a day. If you go a week without setting it the watch would be way off.

I'd say, don't avoid the gray market. You'll get lower prices, and you probably won't need to use the warranty. It's a net win, if the price drop is good enough. Many popular watches (e.g. JDM or non-USA-market Seikos) are only available gray-market in the USA.

That's fine for cheap watches, but once you get into the $500+ price range you are taking a big risk.

If the watch has problems you'll need to pay out of pocket for repairs, and parts and service can be difficult to obtain for a watch not normally sold in your country.

Warranties cover defects which are few. A $500+ watch will need servicing after a few years, which is not covered and will generally run a few hundred dollars.

Not really a "big risk".

Not sure what your definition of gray market is, but there wont be any warranties usually...

He's saying warranties are mostly useless on watches.


A decent new watch isn't going to have a defect. The parent referred to a theoretical $500 watch. Let's take something like a Hamilton Khaki Field Automatic. Decent watch, very handsome, and usually comes in around $500 (or less).

Hamilton is a Swatch Group company and gets the very, very popular ETA 2824-2 movement. This is the same movement that can be found in watches costing thousands and some times tens of thousands.

The quality and the internal components are the same. More expensive watches sometimes get nicer finishes on the movement and occasionally get a COSC certification, but by and large, there's little difference.

ETA has been making the 2824 since 1961. It is the workhorse of the watch industry. I've literally never heard of a defective one that wasn't a clone.

So, I'll personally guarantee that your $500 ETA 2824 will run for five years without defects at which point it'll probably need servicing, i.e. cleaning and re-lubrication. That's going to cost $200-300 from any Swatch Group authorized service center regardless of whether the watch has a warranty or is grey market.

Anything much cheaper than $500 is either going to be a Miyota or Hattori movement or a clone of a Swiss movement. I'd consider those watches to have a finite life span of a few years. Likely they'll not be worth servicing when the time comes, though there are definitely exceptions.

The same ETA movements (e.g 2824) have different grades, so higher price watches generally are using the higher grade even if the same movement. That being said still agree with the general sentiment on the value of a $500ish movement.

That's right, you are -- but with these watches usually the movement is a basic standard one, and a movement swap is a cheap fix.

You're already signing yourself up for that sort of cost, after a few years of wearing.

My recent employment upgrade has been nice and I am in the market for a good watch as a result (no longer a junior so I can wear something nicer now). That said, I'm looking for something that is more useful than anything. I mean, heck, if I'm going to drop this much on what is essentially jewelry, I might as well get all the use out if it that I can. Can you point me to any good communities that may be of assistance? I've tried r/watches before, but reddit's search algo is just terrible.

Specifically, I'm looking for:

- Waterproof up to ~30m, more is fine.

- Complications of: Chronograph, Date, Tachymeter, Moon Phases (I surf when I have the time, so it's nice to know the tides and to wear the watch while surfing).

- Sapphire/hardened glass for scratch resistance.

- Bezel, as they are really cool.

- Quartz is fine, accuracy is really nice, though mechanical is ok.

- Standard 12 hour clock face, things like a Casio F-91W aren't the best ;)

- I'm a fairly large person, so I can withstand a large/bulky face on the arm, if that helps at all.

Thank you for any and all advice or recommendations, I appreciate it.

If you want to take it to the water it is usually recommended that the watch has 10bar (100m) water resistance.

The Breitling Navitimer 01 would tick many of your boxes (Chronograph, (Logscale)Bezel, Date) and is an iconic watch. However you can't swim with it.

Another iconic chronograph is the Zenith El Primero with the tri color dial. It is also WR to 100m.

Then there is the Omega Speedmaster "Man on the Moon" Chronograph.

Tudor also has a few nice watches: Black Bay Chrono, Black Bay Heritage, Black Bay 58, Black Bay GMT, Pelagos.

If you want a fine Quartz watch have a look at Grand Seiko and Citizen Chronomaster. These are High Accuracy Quartz (HAQ) watches which means +/- 5-10 seconds a year depending on the model.

For more classic looking watches have a look at Jaeger LeCoultre. I especially like their Masters collection.

For reference, this is the one that I got: https://www.citizenwatch.com/us/en/mens-moon-phase-flyback/A...

Wow! Thanks a ton for the suggestions!

If you mean a rotatable (dive) bezel, you’re looking for something very very specific. Also, if you take it surfing, you’d want screw down pushers if the watch is expensive. Even if you find a watch matching these specs, it probably won’t be what you want in terms of quality, looks, fit, or price. You should broaden your search.

Thanks for the tips!

If you really want a mechanical watch, and you want to have it mean / be worth something, I'd suggest saving up for a Rolex.

Mechanical watches have (and this has been said before) the Rolex problem. On the lower end of the scale, a lot of mechanical watches will borrow design cues from Rolex (e.g., most dive watches will share similarities with the Submariner) and will fall far short of the quality of one.

On the higher end, you quickly end up at multiples of the cost of an entry-level Rolex with very questionable additional value, quality or longevity.

Rolex is really in a sweet spot in terms of value. They're virtually indestructible, tend to keep their (or even grow in) value and make a number of elegant, understated watches that are iconic.

For example, if you want a dive watch, buy a Sub (no date). While you might argue that Blancpain beat Rolex by a year for the quintessential dive watch, Rolex is the one that popularized it. You're not buying a dive watch, you're buying the dive watch as it has stood since the early 50s.

They're not cheap, but they will undoubtedly last two generations, possibly more. Compared to the other luxury watch makers, they're downright cheap. JLC is another value-oriented brand and you're lucky to get into a watch for 2X what you'll pay for a Rolex. Patek and AP are much more expensive.

The problem with the affordable brands is they cut a lot of corners with manufacturing (vs Rolex), use outsourced, less reliable movements and -- with the exception of some Seikos, have none of the cachet of Rolex.

You can go a bit higher to say an Omega, but you're already ballpark Rolex, so is it worth it?

The downside to buying a Rolex is it will probably kill your watch hobby. I used to collect watches and when I decided I did in fact like the story of Rolex, I bought one, strapped it on basically forgot about watches.

The only watches I'm interested in now are so expensive I'll probably never bother to buy one. I will get to gift my Sub to my son in another decade or so at which time I'll get to go shopping again. So that's something to look forward to, but I'll mostly likely buy another Rolex.

It seems my thinking about watch collecting differs a lot with you. I agree, its all about personal pref. I like Rolexes but I know I will never own them. They are too big for my wrist, and I honestly believe they are super over priced. I consider them like Apples of tech. They have super awesome band value, but does not mean they worth all the money you put into their pocket. That said, there are lot of other great brands with hell of horology. Like, Omega which is older than Rolex. Oris, Seiko, Tissot are great too!. JLC is like over-manufactured German car, you will never go wrong with it. But, for me watch collecting is all about a. enjoying the watch. b. Know the history of the watch. c. Have story with the watch you wear. So, yeah I enjoy my Timex Expedition as much as I love wearing HMT* Manual Wind Watch. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMT_(company)

So funny you should recommend Rolex, because I actually know a few people who own them(and they all bought them brand new) and the prevailing opinion is that they are absolute crap at actually being a watch - they just drift a lot in short amount of time - one of my friends says his is can be as much as 10 minutes out every month(!!!!!) and that's a 5k watch!!!

I'm personally saving up for an Omega, you can get a timeless design for 2-3k, and those watches are truly indestructible and actually keep time accurately.

Um, what? Rolex is known for having the best accuracy and reliability in the mechanical watch market. 20 seconds per day is way out of spec, your friend needs to get it serviced. Omega is sometimes okay, but you still have to avoid certain movements, even on new models. Edit: But you're right that Omega is often a better deal.

One word: Tudor.

>* Avoid replicas and fakes (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WHgKMA6Bh6U)

Why? These days chinese factories are pushing superb 4130 clones for the price of a decent seiko.

This guy in the video seems to know nothing at all about the chinese watch industry.

Because that's immoral.

You can get a non-replica Chinese watch.

Unless you try to sell the watch as real, why would it be immoral?

Tricking people into buying fake watches is their business model, and it's a violation of copyright and trademark.

>Tricking people into buying fake watches is their business model

You know nothing about the business and are just coming up with things

>and it’s a violation of copyright and trademark

I’m not sure that this would make it immoral, and how does this affect the customer anyway? As far as immoral things businesses do this one seems extraordinarily mild, hardly any cause for boycott.

I rather doubt this has anything to do with morals.

It's a fact that when buying watches, you have to watch out for fakes, because people pass fake watches off as the real thing.

> I’m not sure that this would make it immoral, and how does this affect the buyer anyway?

It doesn't just affect the buyer. It affects the company being faked.

And it's illegal, so you're helping a criminal enterprise.

>It's a fact that when buying watches, you have to watch out for fakes, because people pass fake watches off as the real thing.

Sure, but I don't think that this makes manufacturing, buying, or selling fakes immoral. Most fake watches are sold to people who know that they're buying a fake watch.

>It affects the company being faked.

I don't believe you. Rolex isn't losing any sales because of fakes.

>And it's illegal, so you're helping a criminal enterprise.

This hardly seems like a real argument. There are many places where it's criminal to get high or be gay.

>Most fake watches are sold to people who know that they're buying a fake watch.

Counterfeit watches are a serious problem; the American Watch and Clock Institute sell a DVD on identifying fake Rolexes, with the target audience being professionals in the watch industry. Innocent parties can (and frequently do) pay large sums of money for worthless fakes.


It's one thing selling a replica "Bolek GMT-Master" with a standard ETA movement in a white box, but it's quite another thing to sell a very convincing counterfeit complete with Rolex-branded packaging and a counterfeit certificate of authenticity. If the counterfeiters are so honourable and have no intent to deceive, why don't they discreetly engrave the word "REPLICA" on the caseback, case, movement main plate and bracelet?

The moral line in the sand is putting the word "Rolex" on the dial. I have absolutely no issue with someone making a watch that copies the form and function of a Rolex watch, but I take great exception to someone using their name.

Trademark is an absolutely essential part of modern commerce. Trademark infringement is tantamount to identity theft - counterfeiting is a fundamental attack on the reputation of the counterfeiting victim and has a corrosive effect on trust. There are legitimate arguments against patent and copyright law, but I see no legitimate argument against trademark law.

>Innocent parties can (and frequently do) pay large sums of money for worthless fakes.

Are you talking about online or offline scams? The fake watch seems pretty useless if you're just scamming people online, you don't need to ship the buyer anything at all. A fake watch would only act as a temporary cover for such a scam possibly allowing the scammer to scam more people, but it's completely unnecessary for the scam itself.

Offline, how does that even happen? I guess maybe if you're a pawn shop operator.

>If the counterfeiters are so honourable and have no intent to deceive, why don't they discreetly engrave the word "REPLICA" on the caseback, case, movement main plate and bracelet?

Why would they need to do this? They aren't scamming anyone, a vanishingly small fraction of their customers are. If a factory started doing this they would just be unnecessarily putting themselves at a competitive disadvantage.

I don't know you, but I'd guess that you're probably demanding far higher standards from watch counterfeiters than the businesses you actually deal with. Unless you're the most conscious consumer ever you're almost certainly regularly doing business with companies committing far worse offenses than trademark infringement.

All the watch companies that adopted anti-counterfeiting measures believe otherwise.

Edit: And the fake watch makers copy those anti-counterfeiting measures. That's how we know your story about buyers being aware of what they're buying falls apart.

What's an anti-counterfeiting measure? Is the rolex rehaut engraving an anti-counterfeiting measure? If yes, how is it distinguishable from decoration?

Sure, Rolex has their LEC but that probably has more to do with identifying OEM crystals than anti-counterfeiting.

What anti-counterfeiting measures were you thinking of? I can't come up with many.

Freaking Seiko 5's had etched crystals as an anti-counterfeiting measure, and you want to pretend Rolex's aren't? Get real.

Is it a measure to combat counterfeit watches or to separate OEM crystals from third party ones?

It's usually not very hard to source OEM crystals, so to me it seems more likely that this would be about third party crystals and not counterfeit watches.

Can you think of any other supposed anti-counterfeiting measures besides the laser etched crystals? If this is something that the watch companies actually pursued it would be weird if they stopped at just that.

They're going to put this conversation in a chapter about motivated reasoning someday.

Seiko 5's had laser etched crystals as an anti-counterfeiting measure, and then, because counterfeiters copied that, they switched to open casebacks, an anti-counterfeiting measure that is used across the industry.

"Counterfeiting costs the watchmaking industry billions each year."

- Nick Hayek, CEO of the Swatch Group.

ryanlol 19 days ago [flagged]

>They're going to put this conversation in a chapter about motivated reasoning someday.

It's hilarious that you're so invested in this that you resort to attacking my character.

>they switched to open casebacks, an anti-counterfeiting measure that is used across the industry

I would assume that open casebacks are used because they look cool, not to prevent counterfeiting.

>"Counterfeiting costs the watchmaking industry billions each year."

>- Nick Hayek, CEO of the Swatch Group.

I think this is bullshit, I doubt you can find any data that would support this claim. I can't. I'd bet he just took some estimate of replica industry total revenue and decided that's how much it costs the legit watchmaking industry.

sho 19 days ago [flagged]

> "Counterfeiting costs the watchmaking industry billions each year."

I take this with the same giant heaping of salt that I'd take with claims that the record industry loses billions per year because of mp3s, or movie companies because of bittorrent. They were never going to see those sales. The market size at price $0 is much, much larger than that at anything higher. Wishful thinking at its purest.

I second, with emphasis, ryanlol's rejection of your ideas about counterfeits being somehow immoral. I don't buy counterfeits but would have zero moral qualms about doing so - it doesn't even enter my mind. To be honest I have difficulty believing anyone seriously believes buying a counterfeit watch is truly immoral. If you actually do believe that - wow, we live in different worlds.

I find it hard to take seriously anyone who outsources their morality to whatever the law happens to currently be wherever they currently are. Laws vary wildly across both time and space. Anyone claiming their morals just follow "the law" is actually admitting they don't have their own morals at all.

I'm not outsourcing morality to the law at all. It's not breaking the law that makes it immoral, it's supporting organized crime that is immoral. That is just one reason why wearing fake watches is immoral.

Even if it was legal to violate trademarks and commit fraud, you'd be paying people who are sneaky, lying sons of bitches.

Oh come on. The mob doesn't bother with fake Swatches. What ridiculous hyperbole. Next you'll be suggesting buying a fake watch is supporting terrorism!

I would suggest that anyone buying a $50 "rolex" is not, in fact, being defrauded, and if they are - well, they kind of deserve it.

Organized crime isn't "the mob." It's any criminal enterprise. People are making $10000 fake Rolexes, not just $50 ones.

> Organized crime isn't "the mob." It's any criminal enterprise

Then you need to stop using the term "organized crime" because it has a pretty specific meaning. If it's "any criminal enterprise" then we just call that "crime" - and once again, you are referring to the law to define morality.

> People are making $10000 fake Rolexes

What. Not they are not. Your outlandish claims need evidence. Show many any example of someone who paid $10k for a fake Rolex.

> Then you need to stop using the term "organized crime" because it has a pretty specific meaning.

That meaning is a criminal enterprise. The mob is organized crime. Drug cartels are organized crime. Any organization against which RICO might be used is organized crime.

> If it's "any criminal enterprise" then we just call that "crime".

No, just “crime” doesn't require an enterprise. A criminal enterprise is organized crime.

>What. Not they are not. Your outlandish claims need evidence. Show many any example of someone who paid $10k for a fake Rolex.

$10k seems about right for a fancy solid gold frankenwatch. These pop up for sale on forums sometimes, but they tend to be built by watchsmiths as a hobby and have almost nothing to do with the replica industry being discussed here.

I've personally helped save people from buying $6000 fake Rolexes.

The fact that people send their fakes to Rolex to get serviced (which then get confiscated) is proof that they don't know they bought a fake.

Do you think the people running scams by selling fake rolexes as real are the same people making and distributing those fakes?

What is organized crime? A group of people breaking the law in an organized manner?

Seems like the immorality of supporting organized crime would depend entirely on the nature of the crime being committed.

>commit fraud

Who is being defrauded?

>lying sons of bitches

Who is being lied to?

They don't 'trick' people in buying 'fake' watches. Great replica makers don't have to trick anybody, they offer a watch that look almost exactly like the original for 1/10th the price or less.

Being illegal does not make it immoral.

Because a clone is criminal. As long as I know. And is not only against the law, It is morally theft,

some people spent A Lot of money in design for some malicious smartass chinese guy to come and copy and sell by 10 times cheaper....This is Absurd. Some people are loosing their jobs , see , maybe me myself, i am loosing a job because of Falsification...

Besides, Is not really necessary, Come one, people should come out with their Own watch design right?

It should be not so hard to draw a sketch with a New design, right? Its not like painting the Davinci's Monalisa, right...

At least my opinion, like they say in the Good Wife Series.

> Because a clone is criminal. As long as I know. And is not only against the law, It is morally theft,

I just want to respond to this because we see a lot of the same comments in the software industry and I think it dilutes the meaning of the law to speak imprecisely.

If you make a watch and put a brand name on it for which you have no license, that is a trade mark infringement. It is illegal in most countries. It is not theft. Theft is where you take something that belongs to someone else, thereby depriving them of it. Infringement is where you use something that belongs to someone else, often without depriving them of it. They are different things, both legally and morally.

There are design patents, and I suspect that there are probably design patents for watches (although I've never looked). If you copy a design that is patented for which you have no license, you are infringing the patent. This is illegal in most parts of the world (but probably different parts of the world than trademark infringement). It is also infringement, not theft.

Fashion designs can not by copyrighted under most (all?) international treaties. If you make a watch that looks similar to another watch, but that does not infringe the trademark, nor infringe any design patents, then you are not infringing at all. It is neither illegal, nor immoral (IMHO anyway) to do this. However, it may be fraud if you try to pass it off as something it is not, which is illegal, of course.

Karl Lagerfeld, the famous designer had an interesting comment about look-a-like copies. When prompted in an interview (unfortunately I can't remember which programme it was on) for his opinion about people who buy knock bags he replied something to the effect of, "Those people are not my customers. None of my customers would buy those bags. Neither would customers who are happy with a knock off bag want to buy my bags. It makes no difference to me". As much as I realise that not everybody will have such an expansive point of view, I've always thought it to be an incredibly wise position to take in the fashion industry.

Note that trademark infringement can in some cases include the design of the watch (as tested in court with the AP Royal Oak):


If some 'smartass chinese' guy can provide the same thing for 1/10th the price, then clearly the original maker is overcharging.

It's easy to make cheap stuff when somebody else invested in the R&D and you just steal their designs.

LOL. The R&D is an insignificant part of the cost. The margins are just sky-high because it's a luxury market, and suckers will pay anything.

Richemont group has something like 16% margins.

What's the margin of the watch itself (factory, labor, etc vs cost) not their overall operating margins as a company?

And is that 16% margin due to "R&D" eating into them?

Or do they calculate their margins after hefty executive bonuses, lavish corporate offices, and other "expenses"? Not to mention that they also run all kind of boutique shops of their own and venture into various areas outside watches.

Undoubtedly the cost of manufacturing the watch is much less than the retail price. As is the case with most goods.

>Some people are loosing their jobs , see , maybe me myself, i am loosing a job because of Falsification...

Serves them right, since most of the "high end watch" industry is selling 10x overpriced items to rich show-offs and overpaying suckers.

I'm not talking one-of-a-kind, manually crafted pieces with valuable materials here. I'm talking even the "low end" 2-10K watches, with BS generic mechanisms, and costing nowhere near that to make.

>Some people are loosing their jobs , see , maybe me myself, i am loosing a job because of Falsification...

Who exactly is losing their job because of fake watches? I do not believe that you will be able to present any convincing evidence that replica watches are actually hurting the sales of genuine watches.

>Lot of money in design for some malicious smartass chinese guy to come and copy and sell by 10 times cheaper

What do you think about homage watches? Most people don't seem to have a problem with those, the guy in the youtube video specifically says homage watches are OK.

If you aren't familiar with homage watches, look at this: http://i56.tinypic.com/k4hug1.jpg

One someones buy a fake watch, he is not buying the real one, so is there a win-win to everybody here? who is the owner of the design?

man...if you were an inventor , and spend time inventing something nice, them you don't make money out of it, would you like that?

>One someones buy a fake watch, he is not buying the real one, so is there a win-win to everybody here?

I would think that this is extremely uncommon. I think the following scenario is more likely:

"X buys fake watch, X likes fake watch, X buys the real watch"

>who is the owner of the design?

The whole fake/not-fake thing usually has very little to do with the actual design of the watch, but the branding.

You're wrong, they infiltrate the supply chain, and catch unsuspecting consumers trying to buy the real thing. There are fakes all over chrono24, fake SARB017's recently found on Amazon, and there are a ton of fake Casio F-91W's.

  "X buys fake watch, X likes fake watch, X buys the real watch"
This explains all those people you see wearing two watches.

In traditional Japan the custom was each day had 12 hours of daylight and 12 of night time so to accommodate this the length of hours shifted day by day ... Masahiro was inspired by an ancient clock which implemented this idea such that he decided to craft by hand a watch to perform this as well ... incredible master and some impressive video documentary taboot

The time system was one of the real interesting things from the documentary to me. This Seiko page explains the time system well: https://museum.seiko.co.jp/en/knowledge/wadokei/huteijihou/

12 hour day (what is 24 hours in modern time). Daytime is always 6 hours and night time is always 6 hours. The absolute length of the hours changes with the seasons.

There's an android app for it even: https://f-droid.org/en/packages/com.aragaer.jtt/

I just started using it recently and I really like it. My mood is very much affected by exposure to daylight and it really helps to plan my day around the sun, rather than arbitrary numbers on a clock.

That sounds similar to the Ethiopean time-system:

* https://www.pri.org/stories/2015-01-30/if-you-have-meeting-e...

"Because Ethiopia is close to the Equator, daylight is pretty consistent throughout the year. So many Ethiopians use a 12-hour clock, with one cycle of 1 to 12 — from dawn to dusk — and the other cycle from dusk to dawn. "

This guy is obviously an adherent of George Daniels. His story is fascinating. He produced likely one of the only significant inventions in mechanical watches in the last century, the coaxial escapement. The book shown in the OP is wonderful and here's a documentary:


Daniels' apprentice and now watchmaker Roger W. Smith has carried on making watches with his escapement and like Kikuno-San makes all of the components by hand and in-house.

It's probably worth clarifying why it's obvious that he was an adherent of George Daniels. In his book, and in every interview I've seen of him, he speaks at length about the value of a watch maker being able to make every component in a watch. Listening to him talk about how he learned every aspect of the trade in his is fascinating.

I found a documentary[1] on Masahiro a while back and it was mesmerizing to watch him work.

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTiPNqeMS8E

Previously ( June 2017, 106 comments )


The "old school milling machine" they mention is actually a pantograph milling machine.


Which is an 'old school milling machine'. Just as a Turret Mill with Rotary Table to cut curves is an 'Old School' milling machine.

I can’t help but admire people who create incredible intricate pieces of mechanical art hy hand. Not ever in my life could I hope to replicate even a crude, barely functional version of such a device. While I’m not a watch geek, the process and methodology behind creating these time-pieces is endlessly fascinating to me. I’d totally love to watch a documentary of someone doing similar work!

There is a documentary about George Daniels and his apprentice Roger Smith, available on DVD or Amazon Prime Video.


Smith has uploaded a number of fascinating videos to YouTube, including two old documentaries about Daniels.


There is also a wonderful series of videos featuring Daniels talking about his life. His voice was quite weak in later life due to throat cancer, but it's well worth persevering - he was a fascinating and inspirational man.


If you have a serious interest in learning watchmaking, the British Horological Institute offer a distance learning course on servicing, repairing and restoring clocks and watches. The course is available worldwide, although you would need to travel to Upton Hall in England to complete some of the practical examinations.


I don't know where you're located, but you may enjoy the Horological Society of New York's traveling education program[1] if they are going to be near you.

(I'm not affiliated with them, but I've enjoyed a few of their classes)

[1] http://hs-ny.org/traveling-education/

San Diego next month! Thanks for posting this, I might check it out.

Unfortunately I live in Transylvania, but thank you for you recommendation!

Wow... some bad ass watches he had made.

Let me voice my negative opinion: To me it looks worthy of a hobby, but to praise this as something exceptional it's kind of overstretch.

The time required is very long to make the pieces by hand, but I feel any sharp person could do it. Nothing groundbreaking.

So I don't understand people that find this fascinating, inspirational. Just buy a usual watch, and it will have the same pieces.

It's cool that he makes new designs, however make a good market out of that and the chinese will do it too, at better prices.

If you buy such a watch, you also buy a story. A single person producing a decently complicated watch from scratch is a pretty good story to tell. I image there are enough people in the world with the kind of disposable income required to buy such a watch, so he will have a pretty good business regardless of Chinese copycats.

Well I am not sure. It's a good story to tell if the person is someone important in the community that has for example written important books or invented something that is useful.

If it's just worker-bee man-hours I guess it would be better value-for-money to buy a seiko and tell the story of the factory and how it's made using such complicated processes and optimizations (not sure assumption about seiko factory using complicated processes is right).

not sure assumption about seiko factory using complicated processes is right

Depends on the Seiko. Seiko makes and has made a large number of complicated and historically interesting watches and movements with a story, but your average Seiko won't have that.

If you want a cheap mechanical watch that's a historical 'first' and has an interesting watchmaking story to tell in terms of processes and optimization, get a Swatch Sistem51. It's the first automatic movement that is simple enough and has few enough parts to be mass produced entirely by robot. Of course if that's a 'good' story to tell or not is very much up for debate.

"i could have done that"

"but you didnt"

Why would I manually do the pieces of a clockwork? It's been done manually countless times. Maybe If I would be in metallurgic industry it would make sense to do it as an exercise.

"i could have done that"

"but you didnt"

That guy is a machinist but also a smith, an engineer, an artist,... he is a true artisan that live from his craft.

I love this art of Patience of the Japanese. They love to spend a life time i to making a tiny wood doll or some little flower arrange...

I wonder its because is an Island and one gets inside himself or one just gets bored...

I am a fan of making bamboo and paper little planes , just to thorw them and destroy on the beach...

I found that using Smoking Paper is a good material haha

What I like is the making the fine bamboos longarinas and skeleton of the models. I like boats of bamboo too.

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