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Greetings on this Extraordinary Day

We teamed up with one of the Editors of Shortlist Magazine last week to make a special one off watch for their home-made issue.

The brief was vague, and the deadline tight, but when we got asked to come up with a watch from scratch, we jumped at the chance. After all, this what we do, and to have free reign on a completely new design, made out of bits easily available on the high street/antiques markets was something we couldn’t turn down.

Trench watches wt author no 1914 shortlist

Step 1

First off we went out and bought a compass from our incredible local antiques centre, as it was a great size, solid, radioactive(!) and had a lens already in place, with lots of awesome quirky bits on it that added to the intrigue.

Step 2

I got home and completely dismantled it, so I could start with a blank canvas. Also, it’s on the large side, so I wanted to remove some of the huge bits that stuck out so it didn’t get caught on door handles, or dig into your skin.

Step 3

Then I cut some links out of an old chain, the links were great, as where they’re moulded they already had centre lines, plus they were the right width to fit the belt I had.

Step 4

I used araldite to get these into position, I would have brazed them, but due to the potential radioactive nature of the compass I didn’t want to heat it up and agitate any dangerous particles.

Step 5

See, a strap fits perfectly through the middle now!

Step 6

I then dismantled an old watch. One that had been in a drawer for ages that I bought from a car boot sale years ago.

Step 7

I took out the movement, and measured it up, so I knew how big the aperture in the movement holder would need to be.

Step 8

I then took the compass outside and wearing gloves and a face mask I dismantled the internal structure of the compass making way for the new watch movement.

Step 9

Then after leaving it for some time to air, I measured the inside diameter.

Step 10

After the shoulders had had dried for 24 hours I then bought some 10.5mm pine, which was the exact thickness of the bottom half of the compass. I made a template of the shape, and where I wanted the dial to go. I then drilled the hole for the movement to go in.

Step 11

Before sanding it for a more precise fit.

Step 12

I then cut out the exterior shape.

Step 13

This was then sanded down to fit inside the compass. It is slightly smaller than the compass, as there were lots of internal bits I didn’t want to remove, so I just reduced the size of the movement holder slightly.

Step 14

I then positioned the old movement into the new movement holder.

Step 15

I then took the crown that was originally there to hold something in place on the compass, and drilled a hole in the bottom to locate the crown stem.

Step16

I then needed to drill out a hole in the compass to fit the new crown.

Step 17

Meanwhile, I found an old belt I never used. I cut it to the right length, and chamfered the end so it would go through the keeper easily.

Step 18

I measured the centre line.

Step 19

And punched a series of holes, evenly spaced apart.

Step 20

Finally, I designed the dial in Illustrator.

Step 21

And cut it out on the plotter, to be more precise.

Step 22

To give a 3D effect, and also so I could make a dial in gold and black to match the compass material, a sandwiched the new black dial, with some gold card, applied to the movement holder, and the applied the hands.

Step 23

Then with a workshop that looked like a bomb had gone off behind me, I tried it on for the first time!

Step 24

And there we are, hey presto, one modern military looking watch made from bits and pieces readily available.

Anyone brave enough to take on their very own home-made watch, do get in touch, we’d love to see your unique take on it! Until then …

Sam Holland

Author Sam Holland

In November of 2009, Sam Holland graduated as MDes (Hons) Product Design from Coventry University’s School of Art & Design, UK. Accepting the role of watch designer, he soon established himself as a leading consultant working with a huge portfolio of international brands. Now designing and working from his studio on the Essex coast, Sam loves nothing more then heading down to Old Leigh for some traditional Fish & Chips!

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