Let’s talk about ideas and designs. My recent sketches have been heavily focused on a larger manual wind watch movement. Why? Well, with my limited skills, the larger the parts, the more realistically I can cut and hold tolerances to. With that in mind, I purchased a few pocket watch movements online as a start to practice watch maintenance and gain familiarity. Technically, these movements are just small enough to be used for wristwatches as well. In fact, you see the same manual movements as the base of many very expensive watches. I talking about the ETA 6498/7, which can be found in many thousand-dollar-plus watches such as the older Panerais and the recently launch Weiss Watches. Being a larger manual movement, there is a simple refinement feel to these time engines, where every part serves its basic function to upkeep time. For this very reason, there is also a lot of room to improve and embellish. I purchases a Gruen Veri-thin for practice, a nice Unitas 498 (the older version of the 6498), and of course another ETA 6498. I must mention this is not the first time I’m dealing with these movements, I made my first custom watch in university with a elaborate grade ETA 6498 from Ofrei. For nostalgia sake, that watch is off-limits to modifications. Plus, its pretty enough as is.
I have many ideas for my watch modifications, the ultimate being a reversed dial on the balance side. This idea is not original and has been realized by Thomas Ninchritz in the Vice Versa Watch. Vice Versa is a heavily embellished 6498 with 3/4 plate and gold chatons. However, I still love the look – a not so rich man’s Breguet Tradition?
Photograph: Thomas Ninchritz