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3 November 2016

Canary Wharf Pop Up: What We Learned From The Watchmaker

By: Amy Brennan-Stephenson

Canary Wharf Pop Up: What We Learned From The Watchmaker
Some of our friends may have seen that this week we took up residence in a new spot in Canary wharf. For two days only, we've been hanging out away from home to make some new friends in Canada square. And how welcoming our new friends have been.


We brought a few of our favourite pieces, a selection of stunning timepieces and set up shop across the road.


We also brought along our master watchmaker so that he could meet a few of our customers, to take a look at their watches and teach them a thing or two about their movements.


Not ones to let anyone miss out, we wanted to share our knowledge with anyone who couldn’t come down to the pop up. We sat with Mike and he showed us his tools (not a euphemism we promise) and here’s what we learnt.


The Jeweling Tool


The jeweling tool is used to adjust the N shake of the wheel. Why is this important? If the N shake is too small the train wheels can combine and stop the watch. If your N shake is too loose the oil in your watch can spread to quickly and will end up getting in to places it shouldn’t be. And nobody likes an oily watch. The N shake should be about a 10th mm. If it is out by even a fraction this needs repairing. The tools are used by our expert watchmakers but the judgement of the sizing is all in the eye. This skill requires a seasoned eye to ensure exact precision.


The poising tool


The poising tool is used to ensure that the balance wheel is identically weighted the whole way round, which is needed to check that the watch is working perfectly. The balance wheel is placed in between the mini vice, this is the red part of the machine and is made out of ruby jewels. The wheel is then spun round when clasped in the vice. If the balance wheel is perfectly equal then it should spin at a steady and even pace. If not, the tool will identify where the imbalances are and the metal can be thinned accordingly.



(A set of rather impressive looking screwdrivers but screwdrivers just the same)


When asked which was the most important tool on the bench we were surprised to hear the most valued item were the screwdrivers. This was largely put down to the fact that there is no job that the watchmaker does that doesn’t involve the screwdriver. Even the smallest of activities requires using one of these colourful delights in one way or another. That is why our watchmakers invest in the best screwdrivers money can buy. We were also impressed by how stylish they looked in their case.


Trueing calipre


The trueing calipre is used to ensure that the balance is at an exactly 90 degree angle to the staff. The balance wheel is gripped in the vice, it is spun round and measured against the trueing calipre to ensure that this is in the right position. Again, the eye is used to measure this with absolute precision.


Peg wood


Another favourite of the wathmakers, the modest peg wood. This piece hasn’t changed over hundreds of years and is commonly used to clean jewel holes. Similar to your common tooth pick, but in reality it’s so much more – or so we’re told.


Timing machine


A machine that might look more in place at a hospital than on a watchmakers bench the timing machine really does check the heart of your watch. The watch can be tested to see if it’s gaining or loosing seconds by the day. The watch is popped on the machine and the timing is monitored. So many passers-by were surprised to find out that they were either gaining or loosing seconds everyday. Time is precious, nobody wants to be loosing time too rapidly. They were all keen to come in and have a full service to fix any issues.


If you ever want to speak to one of our watchmakers about anything that might be troubling you, or if you just want to know more about how your timepiece works make an appointment at one of our stores.

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