When I set out to make my own watches I looked at all the components of a mechanical watch and their design, engineering, manufacturing, tolerances, finishing and assembly. I thought about what it would take to create an entirely hand made watch, and realizing it would be a lifelong pursuit, started my journey into horology by making my own cases, movement rings, dials, hands and running indicator using a combination of modern and traditional manufacturing and finishing techniques. As much as I enjoy the product, the watch, I thoroughly enjoy the exploration and process involved in creating my own ways to make these parts. Each of these parts is made through developing a hypothesis on how watch parts should be made, testing that hypothesis in my studio, finding local partners to help make these parts or by making them in my studio. All parts are then finished in house using fixtures and processes developed to highlight all the wonderful design details in this watch.
The case design in the Dot Collection was created to be an elegant representation of modernity and process. The geometry celebrates the way it is manufactured, being turned and machined from solid stainless steel or titanium stock. The case features turned contours as well as vertical milled walls, creating a crisp transition between the sides and top of the case. The polished top bezel that houses the sapphire crystal is machined as a solid feature in the case. This is a robust case construction which only requires seals around the crystal, case back and crown. A side profile of the case reveals that the case back curvature matches that of the top bezel and balances the side profile of the watch aesthetically, but also creates for a comfortable wear characteristic due to the radii on the case back. The case is not overly buffed or polished, but features radially turned textures or light grained textures on all surfaces but the bezel. I hand finish every edge and surface of the case.
The dials found in the Dot Collection watches are made from either Stainless Steel or Titanium. The Stainless dials are made using a combination of machining, etching of numerals, hand finishing and hand painting. The colorful blue dial seen on the right is one of my Titanium dials, created using a similar process but without the etched numerals. The color on the dial is created using a process called anodizing, which is an oxidation process that presents colorful hues and a unique look to the Titanium.
Through multiple attempts, material explorations and process iterations I developed a method to blank the hands and subsequently machine, file, ream and finish them individually to create the ideal length, thickness and aesthetic for my watch. This process is quite difficult and is still one of the more time-consuming tasks involved in making each watch, but I enjoy sitting down at the bench and being able to focus on making each set one by one. Each hand has 4 flat polished sides, which contrast the top grained finish of the hand.
Above Six-O’clock is the running indicator. I designed this running indicator to allow for the re-positioning of the display of seconds or running time on the dial. The animation of the indicator is subtle, and it rotates between a sector and dot every ten seconds. The sector and dot features are painted or anodized to match the dial design. Making the running indicator proved to be quite the challenge as it required a scrutiny of the total watch architecture inside and out to accommodate for the running disc in the dial, and a very precise execution of all mating parts within an extremely tight manufacturing tolerance. Design decisions in this process were at the intersection of horology, manufacturing, design, engineering and finishing. The combination of these considerations is the essence of why I enjoy watches and though quite tedious, developing the process behind this beautifully simple feature embodies exactly who I am and why I do what I do.
The movements in the first collection of watches are new old stock ETA manual wind movements made for the brand DOXA ~1960. These movements are thin, robust, and allow me to make a conservatively sized watch at 37mm. I came into possession of several boxes of these rare movements and I thought to myself, if I don’t do anything with these, will anyone? I decided to embark on this first series of 100 watches with these movements. It’s a counter industry concept to use vintage new old stock movements for a modern watch, but it’s a nice nod to the fact that I love vintage watches, and the history that accompanies them. Each movement is fully serviced by my watchmaker in Boston, Nicholas Trahadias, who rebuilds them piece by piece after a thorough ultrasonic cleaning. I have extra movements and plenty of spare parts for service in case of damage to a customer’s watch.
4 early prototype watches that lead me towards the final design of the Dot Collection Watches.