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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

Thought I would share a project that I've been working on for the past few weeks.

I'm not a machinist by any means, but I do have access to a machine shop-- nothing special, no CNC, just a nice little lathe, a milling machine, and a few other assorted machines... I'm pretty much teaching myself, so I'm sure some of the methods I describe are not how a professional would do it, but I think for my first watch, it turned out (no pun intended) pretty well. Suggestions and comments are much appreciated!

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CASE:
Auto part Metal

First off, I designed the basic shape of my case in CAD. I've never used the program before, but I figured out enough of the basics tools to get myself a rough outline of what I wanted. However, the CAD design was just a rough guide, so that I could make sure my crystal would fit properly, etc. The watch ended up looking slightly different!

The case is aluminum (let's be serious, turning SS by hand is a ball-buster and this is my first watch!) which I started from a ~2.5" rod of Al. I drilled out the hole for the movement first. I shaped the top surface of the watch how I wanted, and then used the cutting tool (this is probably a bad idea) to cut almost all the way through the case, and then shape the back of the watch at an angle. After I cut the case off the rod, I flipped it around in the lathe and opened up the bottom to fit my display-back crystal (It was 28mm sapphire).

I fixed up an old abused index head on my milling machine, and drilled the six holes that would hold down my "bezel" and crystal. I tapped them for 0-80 screws.

I milled out the lugs by lining up the holes I drilled in the case, and cutting out that extra material between the lugs. I'm sure there is a better method, but this worked out fine. As far as I'm concerned, if it looks good enough, it's good enough (though I suppose this could lead to trouble). Then, to drill the lug holes, I simply drilled all the way through the lugs. I like the look of the lug holes.

In the picture above you can see the crown tube is inserted. To do this, I just drilled the hole out in the closest (but smaller) size, and press fit the tube into the case with loctite (Thanks Lysander for this advice!!!) I was shocked at how easily and effective this was.....

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"Bezel" and crystal:
Circle Metal Auto part Fashion accessory Rim
Auto part Metal


I've been calling it the "bezel" because it doesn't spin, and it's real function is to hold down the crystal. I machined it from a SS tube, and drilled my screw holes (not tapped, and larger than the screw diameter...). The 31mm sapphire crystal (I think I got them from cousins) is held in my an Al retention ring-- it is the lighter metal within the SS ring. In the picture you can see a white Teflon o-ring which I also machined. This holds the crystal into the underside of SS "bezel" and retention ring, and when the whole SS ring is screwed into the case, the Teflon ring Holds the crystal nicely in place, as well as keep the dial from moving around! It works well enough, but I'm sure there's a far better way...

The rest:

Here is a picture of all the materials that went into the watch (minus the 0-80 screws).
Auto part Washer Circle Metal

The dial and hands are from Ofrei.
The movement is an eta 2801-1 -- from cousins

After it's all together:
Watch Analog watch Watch accessory Fashion accessory Jewellery


Note: The display back is only temporary, and I forgot to take a picture... However, it's a Teflon ring which screws down into the same holes as the bezel. It's in the picture of the pre-assembly, underneath the case. Eventually I'll change it to either SS or anodized Al...

Though not originally intended for the watch, the NATO strap looks good IMO. So I left it.

Cedar gifting case made from scrap siding!
Finger Hand Computer keyboard Technology Desk

Watch Watch accessory Fashion accessory Analog watch Strap

Oh yeah. Watch is was a gift.

So you have it, a basic idea of how the watch was made. Like I said, I'm not a machinist, but I do think I learned loads about machining by doing this and I had a great time. Let me know if there are questions, and I'll do my best to answer them!

Also, apologies for the lack of proper photo documentation. I didn't really expect to get a product while I was making it.

Hope you enjoyed it :)

J
 

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Very impressed. I really like the way it turned out, and thank you for the great pictures and info.
 

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Beautiful! Very nice work and from the looks of it lots of hours involved! Man, I wish I had that type of machinery in my garage, but it's probably best that I don't or my wife and kids would never see me. :-d Keep us posted on the next project! Titanium for the next round? ;-)
 

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I don't know who the watch is for but they sure are one lucky stiff!! :)

I had wanted to take the TZ Watch School course and build a watch at the end but the rest of my life is getting in the way. Still, that doesn't mean starting from scratch with the case like you did. Very cool. I like the lines of it too.

Were you able to build in any kind of water resistance??

What is your next watch project ;-)

Regards,
Paul
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Stumpy,

It's funny you say that about your wife and kids not seeing you if you had the machines-- I sometimes lose track of time or forget to eat, when I'm on the machines, it's just too much fun!

I limited myself to scrap material I found, and none of it was titanium. Also, I've never machined titanium before, but I'll get some and try it at some point!


Paul,

I wouldn't trust swimming with the watch on, but I think it is fairly water tight. Between facing surfaces I made little Teflon O-rings as follows: I took Teflon tape, and twisted it between my fingers while pulling out slightly, then shaped it into a circle. I looked at the "twine" under a microscope and it was fairly uniform, but without a perfect seal, I don't think one can assume any great water resistance. When I tightened the screws on the bezel and caseback, it sort of shushed the Teflon O-ring in place...

When I see the watch bearer this weekend I'll check for water vapor :p
 

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Extremely nice, and very inspiring! Only other thing I would have done would have been to try to make the slots on the bezel screws perpendicular to the edge of the crystal. I blame my wife for that little bit of obsessive-compulsive behavior.
 

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The longer I look at this watch, the better I like it. So how many days (hours per day) would you say this took you? I'm totally blown away with this work!

Are you already at work on the Rikku 2 ???? 'bookmark'
 

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That is a very pleasing shape and You should be proud of it. If you make another one, you might like to consider having it electroplated in order to improve its durability. The watch is well worthy of a decent movement and that is what you have chosen for it. It is a well integrated design and looks highly professional. Well done!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
sixties.nut,

I probably spent ~3 hours/day over the course of three or four weeks. So let's say ~50 hours total. A lot of the time was spent thinking or messing up. After I became more proficient with the scale and tolerances of the machines and my work, things fell together really fast!

tomshep,

I'm glad you like the shape! It's pretty robust, and simple, which is easier to machine-- and appealing to me. I am working on doing some anodizing, and I agree, a coating of this sort would make the finish much nicer!

James,

Thanks. I'll get a picture soon and post it. I think I originally didn't take a picture because I wasn't pleased with the look, but hey, we can learn from this. Will get back.

J
 

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Rikku very impressive and inspiring. The watch has a clean functional look. You make my recent feeble effort to put together odd bits into a working whole small potatoes. Time to ramp up my exertions:-!
 
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