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What does a watch mechanism look like? How many parts does it have? How exactly does it work? I learned about this and many other things during the Omega watchmaking course. Naturally, in theory everything seems to be banal, simple and easy. I thought that nothing could surprise me. But I realized how wrong I was when I had to undo a screw whose head was smaller than the head of a pin! See how surprised you will be.
A few weeks ago, at the invitation of Omega, I found out for myself what their watchmaking course is all about. It was exactly the same course that is attended by Swatch Group watchmakers at the very start of their watchmaking adventure. I was invited as the brand’s client after purchasing my new Omega Globemaster, which I have already shown here. It is a brand representative who decides who may attend the course, and there is no option of paying to attend. This is a premium service for selected Omega clients.
For a few hours, the space booked for VIP clients and special guests located above the Omega boutique in Warsaw, at Three Crosses Square, was transformed into a real watchmaking shop. It was fitted with a table, special lamps and the necessary watchmaker’s tools. A short presentation and you can start your course!
A watchmaking course is nothing other than the disassembly and re-assembly of a watch mechanism under the supervision of a qualified watchmaker. The person who introduced me into this world was the Manager of Swatch Group Poland – Mr. Jarosław Koziej, an extremely kind, friendly and patient gentleman. Availing myself of the opportunity, I showered him with questions about this extraordinary occupation. It’s not every day that I get to sit shoulder to shoulder with a person of such knowledge and experience in topics about which I am so passionate.
Some theory to start with. The functioning of an automatic watch was explained in a very accessible way. In simple words, I was told how the watch is powered, how it transfers power, and how it is regulated. To recapitulate, a short series of questions and we can start working!
And the mechanism? For the duration of the course, I received an Omega 2201 mechanism. It is said not to be complex, and therefore easy to handle. Interesting, as at first glance it seems to be just the opposite! But the situation becomes clearer after you put a special magnifying glass on your glasses. The magnification is as high that you can see and capture the smallest components. In less than an hour after the release of the spring’s energy, the mechanism was disassembled down to the last screw. All components end up in their designated place, arranged in groups according to the watchmaker’s instructions.
Things become complicated with the first movements we have to execute to put the mechanism back together. Many components must fit into each other, a fact which I overlooked when disassembling the mechanism. Certain operations call for concentration and total focus on what you’re doing. But it all pays off during the last and the hardest stage – assembling the bridge with the balance wheel. I managed to do it on my second try. You have to move your hand very gently, as all vibrations are transmitted to the spring, which, when moving, makes work difficult. When the balance wheel is in the right place, the whole mechanism comes to life. You must trust me that, after several hours of work, such an effect is striking!
I had always dreamt about putting together a watch mechanism. I must be honest that the opportunity to see through the magnifying glass all the components of this ‘naturally’ least complex (!) mechanism clearly explains the price of Swiss watches. The accuracy makes an incredible impression when you see it live, and that impression is enhanced further when you receive a certificate for the course. At the end of the ceremony, in the company of the boutique manager, we raised a glass of Bollinger champagne, made especially for Omega for such occasions.
To wind up my description, I must praise the service at the Warsaw Omega boutique. It has long been known that the Polish market has a huge problem with experts working as consultants at watch and fashion boutiques. I also know something about this from the perspective of a person in charge of recruitment for a men’s fashion department. Finding enthusiastic people is a huge problem. At the Omega boutique, they have been very successful in this. Each and every person is an expert with whom you can talk for hours about chronometers. And most importantly, you can see that knowledge is not acquired artificially and limited to Omega only. The consultants have vast knowledge about the industry and are up to date on the latest watch world news. Shopping in such an ambience is great pleasure.
This post is also available in: POLISH VERSION
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