Gary R. Smith

Well-Known Member
Some years ago I decided that I was earning enough money to buy myself a nice watch. This of course lead to several the nicest of which was a JLC sun/moon reverso with a display back in rose gold (since sold in support of photo gear). Two year ago I decided it was time to open up a watch or two and see if I could get them working and back together. Well, my eyes aren't what they used to be following a stroke in April 2021 that took out a large chunk of the retina in my left eye and I kept losing parts that I'd drop or that would shoot off into space. One thing that I enjoyed was the macro photography that accompanied that watch repair. Here's a shot of two hairsprings from identical 100 year old pocket watches. One of them works and the other doesn't. I leave it to you to decide which is which :) good and bad - small.jpg
Ooooeeerrrr. I wouldn't touch a watch. I have reasonable eyesight but not enough patience. I suspect I'd end up with about 75% of the insides all over the room!
Great stuff. Have you seen the Wristwatch Revival youtube channel? I came across it a while ago and it really is a fascinating job or hobby.
Another aspect of me is guitar (although I'm not at Rob's level). Here is a link to a recording a friend and I made a few years back. I'm playing the electric parts and singing the lead vocal (double-tracked). Jeff is doing all the rest. You might recognize the song by four lads from Liverpool. And while George and John played strats on this track, I played a tele (but not the one shown, I've had a few different ones over the years).

The springs shown in the image at the top of this thread come from the two movements in the lower right of the image below. While they are from the same model watch they were produced about 20 years apart and 100 years ago the batch production of parts was a little hit-and-miss. The disassembled movement in the Petri dish (top right) contains the pieces of a second (un-touched) movement to its left. While fiddling with the one in the Petri dish I dissolved the glue that held the hairspring to the balance wheel. It is a cheap Chinese movement that I was practicing on.all - small.jpg
Interesting thread, Gary and some impressive playing too.

I am also interested in watches and clocks and still have ambitions to build a long-case clock at some point. I do have a few pocket watches and one is in the process of being serviced in my workshop in the UK (I started before the pandemic, but then ended up in Germany for longer than intended!). It is sitting in a small desiccator at the moment and I should really get on with it and take some photos of the process I guess).

Back in my youth I had a friend who was not particularly practical. One day he told me that his wristwatch had stopped working and so he had disassembled it carefully so that he could repair it. I was impressed. However, he then followed up his tale by saying, "so, if you need any small gears, just let me know"! :)
Thanks Pete! I learned quite a lot during my time with watches and while I now know quite a bit about how watches work, their assembly and disassembly (even trouble shooting) the most important thing I learned was that my eyes and physical dexterity aren't what they used to be. Sorta like when I built a guitar amplifier from a kit. I learned that while being very careful with my soldering, I was often melting the soldering that I had done the day before.

So, does this mean that you're in Germany now? Sounds like a story there... :)
Yes, ageing eyes are a challenge. Thank goodness for magnifiers!

Yes, I'm in Germany now. I used to have a 40 : 40 : 20 split between the UK, Germany and somewhere else. These days it is mostly Germany and the UK, but since Brexit, Germany has to be my main country of residence (although formally I have dual residency: which means I get to pay tax in both countries; what a joy!). We live in Babelsberg (part of Potsdam) just outside Berlin in an apartment and I have a quite large studio / office / darkroom in the same complex. We also have a house in the UK not far from Basingstoke and my company is in Fleet.
I get to pay tax in both countries
How lucky is that? :) It's funny, I have next to no depth perception due to a stroke that clobbered my left retina in April of 2021 but during the watch phase I purchased a stereo, tri-nocular microscope and I was able to see depth separation through the eye pieces. It was awesome!