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Making Time With the Watchmakers

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the temple-fugate-would-be-proud dept.

257

PreacherTom writes "In the age of watches that have more computational power than Apollo 11's computer, one would think that the watchmaker has gone the way of the cobbler, the blacksmith and the Dodo. Quite the contrary. With the rise in interest for mechanical watches (especially luxury models), Rolex has sponsored a new school to train horologists in the arcane art. From the article: 'We were facing a situation today where we needed to foster a new generation of watchmakers,' says Charles Berthiaume, the senior vice-president for technical operations at Rolex and the Technicum's president 'Thirty to 40 years ago, there was a watchmaker at every jewelry store. That's not the case today,' he notes. Included are some remarkable examples of their training, dedication, and intricate patience as they take technology in an entirely different direction."

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Definitely a trend .. (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17344744)

to watch.

Re:Definitely a trend .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17345474)

Sorry, but only time will tell.

Ok, so... (4, Funny)

jd (1658) | more than 7 years ago | (#17345726)

...you can tick that joke off the list. It has clocked too many miles as it is, though I must hand it to you for chiming in with it, though to judge from the number of replies, it didn't wind up too many people. Mind you, with effort, we might yet get this thread to go round and round.

I thought this was a sex book about The Moties (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17344748)

I think The Gripping Hand could be *VERY* erotic.

Re:I thought this was a sex book about The Moties (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 7 years ago | (#17344816)

Why don't you buy a copy [barnesandnoble.com] and find out?

Re:I thought this was a sex book about The Moties (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 7 years ago | (#17344870)

I think The Gripping Hand could be *VERY* erotic.

Go to bed with a watchmaker, wake up with all your parts rearranged.

Re:I thought this was a sex book about The Moties (1)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 7 years ago | (#17345636)

Especially this watchmaker [heroeswiki.com] , except they're not so much rearranged as your brain is removed.

PreacherTom is an Astroturfer (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17344750)

PreacherTom [google.com] is an astroturfer for BusinessWeek magazine. Look at the URL in this recent Slashdot story [slashdot.org] and notice the campaign_id string. Now look at his user page [slashdot.org] . Scroll down to the submissions section. Notice how almost every one is a link to a BusinessWeek.com article containing the campaign_id string. Now look at the search results [google.com] for "campaign_id preachertom". He's been pulling this shit on slashdot, digg, Fark, MetaFilter, and who knows where else. Check out this MetaTalk thread [metafilter.com] for the initial discovery.

Spread the word, perhaps?

Re:PreacherTom is an Astroturfer (5, Interesting)

chucken (750893) | more than 7 years ago | (#17344966)

With the large amounts of slashdot readers prepared to do moderation and meta-moderation etc., could some shill-detection scanning of submitted articles be in order? (I'm thinking by hand, rather than automated). It's usually not hard to spot affiliate IDs in the hyperlinks, for example.

Re:PreacherTom is an Astroturfer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17345080)

See the FireHose? If you've got it, use it.

Re:PreacherTom is an Astroturfer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17345086)

What if "campaign_id" was "znyop" and every place they posted, they used a different name?

Like the Editors care (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17345022)

Considering they still keep accepting stories from Roland Piquepaille [slashdot.org] , another known shill, it's doubtful the editors will do anything about this guy.

Roland isn't an Astroturfer. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17345232)

He's just another sleazy fuckstick with an Adblog and a business agreement with Slashdot.

Slashdot links to his Adblog and then gets a cut of the Ad revenue Roland earns when Slashdotters visit his site.

If Roland was also posting to Slashdot from sockpuppet accounts, praising the living daylights out of "Roland's" Adblog, then he'd be an Astroturfer.

Re:Roland isn't an Astroturfer. (1)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 7 years ago | (#17345554)

I think that a personal enemy of Roland's is an astroturfer and spews this bile about him. I almost want to make a fucking temple to the guy because of these annoying posts.

Really? Interesting. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17345652)

Roland and certain Slashdot "editors" regularly link to his adblog for fun and profit, yet you support Roland and take issue with those critical of his behavior.

I think we've found the astroturfer.

Re:PreacherTom is an Astroturfer (1)

rk (6314) | more than 7 years ago | (#17345066)

What's screwed up about this is that it's actually an interesting article, but it's not enough for actual USERS to find what's interesting. They've got to lead us to it.

Screw you, BusinessWeek, and screw you, PreacherTom.

Re:PreacherTom is an Astroturfer (2, Insightful)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 7 years ago | (#17345300)

PreacherTom is an astroturfer for BusinessWeek magazine

No, not really.

He's what in the "old media" world we would call a "crier." He directs traffic to a given site, by saying how interesting it is. The fact that a given article actually is interesting should not be based in any way on who submits it -- be it a bored geek or a profit-seeking crier.

Re:PreacherTom is a BizWeak Astroturfer (2, Interesting)

FractalZone (950570) | more than 7 years ago | (#17345388)

PreacherTom is an astroturfer for BusinessWeek magazine.

BusinessWeak magazine? Come on, it is tabloid business journalism at its lamest; entertaining yes, informative sometimes, but rarely if you want in depth information about the topics it purports to cover. I have an MBA and while I could cite some monthly business periodicals in the papers I wrote for classes, Businessweek was rarely one of them.

The WSJ is much better, more accurate, and more insightful and has far more interesting articles in any given week than BusinessWeak does in a typical month. I guess that is why BW needs shills...

Re:PreacherTom is an Astroturfer (2, Interesting)

kjart (941720) | more than 7 years ago | (#17345440)

PreacherTom [google.com] is an astroturfer for BusinessWeek magazine.

So...he links to BusinessWeek and presumably makes some money doing so. This is somehow morally reprehensible? I really don't care where the stories come from, as long as they are interesting (i.e. News for nerds, stuff that matters). I have no problems if he manages to eke out of living submitting stories from BuisnessWeek, just like I have no problems with Slashdot making money from this website.

Now, if stories submitted by this guy get preferential treatment in anyway, now that is a problem.

Re:PreacherTom is an Astroturfer (2, Insightful)

Banner (17158) | more than 7 years ago | (#17345538)

Maybe he just reads Business Week a lot and finds their articles interesting and so he comments on them in these forums. There are -a lot- of people who really only read one news source and then spread what they see there all over the place.

And if he is working for Business week and being paid to do this, so what? Slashdot has editors and -they- are the filter/gate through which all articles must pass. If they don't approve it, it doesn't get posted. This isn't a site like digg where just anyone can post an article to the webpage.

Re:PreacherTom is an Astroturfer (2, Insightful)

ball-lightning (594495) | more than 7 years ago | (#17345634)

I think the real question is, do (and should) we care? It's not like PreacherTom can force /. to post his submissions, and I actually found this article interesting (hence why I clicked the comments section to discuss). As far as I can tell, there isn't a problem unless we are being lied to (which we aren't) or the quality of the submissions has gone down (Your Mileage May Vary). Now, if /. received money for the stories, then I could see a problem. Double so if they didn't mention they received money to post the story. Fark features sponsored links, but always (AFAIK) admits they are sponsored. As long as this story was legitimately accepted by /. staff, I don't care whether Joe Average or a Publicist submitted it, and am not sure why anyone would.

Re:PreacherTom is an Astroturfer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17345644)

So would it help to remove the campaign id in the link?
http://www.businessweek.com/smallbiz/content/dec20 06/sb20061221_267151.htm [businessweek.com]

Or is it based more on the time period, assignment of articles to specific individuals, or some other criteria?

Re:PreacherTom is an Astroturfer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17345750)

Here's a crazy idea... maybe the editors could make a point of stripping out superfluous URL parameters from links they post? Taking out the 'campaign_id' cruft from the BusinessWeek URL doesn't stop it from working and completely removes any benefit the submitter gets in posting it to Slashdot. (Unless BusinessWeek start checking HTTP_REFERER and paying people based on that...)

This is from a shill. Check out the link. (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17344752)

This guy is steering you to BusinessWeek magazine and has been doing so for quite a while.

Wishful thinking (3, Funny)

Demona (7994) | more than 7 years ago | (#17344758)

"as they take technology in an entirely different direction."

Like "reliability"? Count me in!

Re:Wishful thinking (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17344822)

I've had my Rolex (a "cheap" S. S. Oyster day/date) for over thirty years and it's never missed a beat. I can get better time from a five dollar Casio but my world doesn't run on the hundredth of a second.

I refute your vibrating crystals.

Re:Wishful thinking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17345366)

I lied. I think it's a Datejust. Shows just the date, not the day of the week. The time, too.

Re:Wishful thinking (1)

krotkruton (967718) | more than 7 years ago | (#17345560)

"as they take technology in an entirely different direction."

Like "reliability"? Count me in!
Try "backwards".

Yeah but.. (2, Insightful)

yamamushi (903955) | more than 7 years ago | (#17344772)

How much does the watchmaking business pay nowadays?

Re:Yeah but.. (2, Informative)

yamamushi (903955) | more than 7 years ago | (#17344786)

Nevermind, I RTFA and from the site "Starting salaries range from $45,000 to $55,000 a year."

Re:Yeah but.. (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 7 years ago | (#17345036)

Does that include a deep discount on the watches? It'd suck if you couldn't afford to buy the watches you make.

Re:Yeah but.. (3, Informative)

MajorDick (735308) | more than 7 years ago | (#17345018)

A WATCHMaker , who can from nothing but raw materials completley fabricate a watch brings about 250,000 a year to start....... A repair man makes the 40-50 k range.

Re:Yeah but.. (1)

megaditto (982598) | more than 7 years ago | (#17345658)

Plus one gets to say: "I am a certified horologist"

Re:Yeah but.. (1)

Mike610544 (578872) | more than 7 years ago | (#17345708)

... and a Blink Watchmaker [ox.ac.uk] can create life as we know it. The salary for this is left as an exercise for the reader.

Makes as much sense as art history, I suppose. (0, Troll)

maximthemagnificent (847709) | more than 7 years ago | (#17344798)

Subject pretty much says it all...

Sylar (3, Funny)

macadamia_harold (947445) | more than 7 years ago | (#17344804)

'We were facing a situation today where we needed to foster a new generation of watchmakers,' says Charles Berthiaume, the senior vice-president for technical operations at Rolex

Well, just make sure they don't develop telekinesis and go on a power-hungry killing spree.

Re:Sylar (1)

zptao (979069) | more than 7 years ago | (#17345154)

He didn't develop it, he stole it.

Seems appropriate (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17344806)

"The release of atom power has changed everything except our way of thinking...the solution to this problem lies in the heart of mankind. If only I had known, I should have become a watchmaker."
- Albert Einstein

Re:Seems appropriate (1)

magical_mystery_meat (1042950) | more than 7 years ago | (#17344838)

Good old Al.

Today's WSJ had an article on the swiss industry (2, Informative)

SimpleinSeattle (1042948) | more than 7 years ago | (#17344856)

Swiss watches, especially luxury ones are on the rise. 2005 it was a 10 billion dollar per year industry for the Swiss. It is expected to exceed 23 billion (with a B) in 2006.

WSJ article at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB116674321288757160 .html [wsj.com]

Swiss Watches Strike Export Record
Surging Demand for Luxury Lines Has Makers
Like Richemont Thinking About Capacity
By MARTIN GELNAR
December 22, 2006; Page B2

ZURICH -- Swiss watch exports hit a record in November, suggesting that big watchmakers such as Swatch Group AG, Compagnie Financière Richemont SA and Rolex SA will see strong Christmas sales that will carry into the new year.

Switzerland's watchmakers exported 1.52 billion Swiss francs ($1.25 billion) of goods in November, the Swiss watchmaking association said Thursday, up 13% from the same month last year. The biggest gains were seen for luxury watches selling for more than $6,000 each.

Sales growth is so strong for Swiss watches that the country's watchmakers are facing a new problem: a lack of spare capacity, and especially of the highly skilled craftsmen that make each watch. Last month, Richemont said surging demand for luxury watches may lead to capacity constraints in some product areas over the next few years.

Swiss companies are leaders in the global watch market, which has annual sales of about $23 billion.

The country is by far the world's biggest watch exporter in value terms.

In 2005, Swiss watchmakers exported goods valued at about $10 billion, and accounted for about 9% of Switzerland's total exports. While Hong Kong and China export more watches than Switzerland, they lag far behind in terms of value. Last year, Hong Kong exported watches worth $6 billion and China exported $2 billion, respectively.

The concentration of the watch industry in Switzerland limits growth because production can't easily be shifted outside the country for branding reasons. And within the country, there are only so many people with the training needed to make a watch by hand.

In a recent interview with Swiss daily Le Temps, Swatch Group Chief Executive Nick Hayek said the growth rates of as much as 40% in certain segments aren't sustainable. He noted his company is looking for 140 qualified watchmakers for its high-end Breguet brand, and 200 workers for its watch-movements maker ETA.

But analysts say they don't anticipate serious capacity issues in the short term, and some suggest a shortage of watches may even benefit the industry.

"Production capacity may get tight in some areas, also on the components side, but I don't think this will be a major issue next year," says Zuercher Kantonalbank analyst Patrik Schwendimann. "In a way, scarcity value may also be a positive for the image."

Jon Cox of Kepler Equities expects the "supercycle" in luxury goods to continue. Global demand for expensive jewelry and watches has been boosted by new customers in emerging markets, he says, but he also notes a surge in demand from previously sluggish markets such as France.

"So long as financial markets continue to move up, demand for luxury items will likely remain high," he says.

Any capacity problems may have an impact on the number of watches sold but shouldn't hurt revenue, he says. "To offset any shortage, the companies could simply hike prices," Mr. Cox says.

Write to Martin Gelnar at martin.gelnar@dowjones.com

And together with luxury... (1)

Vo0k (760020) | more than 7 years ago | (#17345056)

...cheap knock-offs of the luxury are on the rise too.
With extremely aggressive marketing.
Unfortunately.

I wonder, couldn't Rolex sue for trademark infringement or damaging brand reputation or something? These spammers make me loathe the name.

Re:And together with luxury... (1)

SocialWorm (316263) | more than 7 years ago | (#17345136)

Well, Rolex certainly tries to shut down copycats, I'm sure, but Rolex watches are nearly the epitome of luxury goods that have cheap knock offs. They have been for a long time. See Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] if you're interested.

Re:And together with luxury... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17345158)

Rolex needs to be knocked off their block. At one time, they used to have quality products. Now it's just capitalizing on the name. Almost as bad as DeBeers and their brainwashing of people to want a diamond.

A quartz-based timepiece is orders of magnitude more accurate than a mechanical one. You can get a good-looking quartz-crytstal watch for under a hundred bucks that will last you near a lifetime. Remind me again why someone would pay $15k for a friggen watch? Oh yeah, because they're a pretentious douche with too much money on their hands.

Re:And together with luxury... (1)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 7 years ago | (#17345718)

No company is as bad as De Beers. Not even Philip Morris--their death toll is only in the thousands. De Beers, however, has a death toll in the millions for their funding of African wars through conflict diamonds. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Re:And together with luxury... (1)

green1 (322787) | more than 7 years ago | (#17345180)

leaving alone the futility of trying to sue a spammer, they can't sue for damaging the brand reputation as long as the spammer doesn't pretend that he is selling genuine rolex, as long as they tell you it's a replica up front (and the actual product doesn't claim to be a rolex either) then they're covered from that stand point... unfortunately.

good pun! (0, Redundant)

fox1324 (1039892) | more than 7 years ago | (#17344864)

"For the next generation of horologists, it's about time." thought that was clever

Obligatory Watchmen Quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17344878)

Who needs watchmaking? Become a nuclear physicist!

Who still uses watches? (2, Interesting)

Matt Perry (793115) | more than 7 years ago | (#17344958)

With the rise in interest for mechanical watches...
Do people still wear watches? I gave up watches long ago because it seems I'm surrounded by devices that tell time: cars, microwaves, computers, mobile phones, MP3 players, PDAs. Even my motorcycle has a clock on the instrument panel. Do Slashdotters still wear watches? If so, I'd be curious as to why.

Re:Who still uses watches? (1)

Howserx (955320) | more than 7 years ago | (#17345024)

Not this guy. I have a clock on the wall at work so I know when to go home and one bedside to tell me when it's time to go to work. Other then that does it matter what time it is? Not for me.

Re:Who still uses watches? (3, Interesting)

Vo0k (760020) | more than 7 years ago | (#17345028)

I do. I began recently, after being watch-hostile for over 25 years. I was one and at first wore it because it was a gift, with intention to get rid of it ASAP, but I found out that it's good, comfortable, precise and doesn't fail like the $3 watches I kept having bad experiences with ('fix it for me please!') and I found it WAY more comfortable to peek at my wrist than to dig in my pocket for the phone or bend over the computer to see the system tray, or peer into dark dashboard of the car, or turn back to see the clock on the wall behind and so on. A wrist-watch is really more comfortable - under one condition, that is its quality is sufficient that it doesn't become a nuisance.

Now I'm pondering some 'integration' again - pick a watch with some other handy functionalities. Any suggestions?

Re:Who still uses watches? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17345098)

Now I'm pondering some 'integration' again - pick a watch with some other handy functionalities. Any suggestions?

I wear a timepiece that has all kind of integrated features. It's called a "cellphone".

Re:Who still uses watches? (2, Interesting)

Quila (201335) | more than 7 years ago | (#17345266)

Now I'm pondering some 'integration' again - pick a watch with some other handy functionalities. Any suggestions?

You don't have to go electronic to get extra features. In mechanical watches, these are called "complications." Just look for a watch with multiple complications, such as stop watch, day, date, week, month, year, moon phases, perpetual calendar, etc.

But be warned, when you get a quality watch with more than a few complications, you will be paying major money. The Patek Philippe Calibre 89 has 33 complications, over 1,700 parts, took nine years to design and make, and is worth about $6 million. The thing even calculates the date of Easter every year -- mechanically.

Yes (0, Offtopic)

everphilski (877346) | more than 7 years ago | (#17345050)

While I might have time at my computer at work, i don't have time availble while I'm in a meeting at work. Or while I'm walking the halls at work (I have two desks... it is a weird situation). And if I get intercepted by a "customer" for "a few minutes" ... who knows what the real time is? I do, if i'm wearing my watch.
And I'm still taking grad classes. That should be self-explanatory.
I really like mine [amazon.com] .

Re:Who still uses watches? (5, Insightful)

jfengel (409917) | more than 7 years ago | (#17345110)

Slashdotters may not, but watches are one of the only forms of jewelry allowed for upper-class and upper-middle-class men. Necklaces and earrings are still considered gaudy, and rings are restricted to a wedding band and perhaps a class ring/military ring.

The sorts of guys who wear suits as fashion statements are very likely to wear a watch as well. It's not so much about knowing what time it is as about wearing something pretty (and expensive) on your wrist. Your tie and your watch are the most expressive things you're allowed to wear.

Hey, I don't make the rules. I just talk about 'em. Me, I stopped wearing a watch years before I acquired a cell phone, and I don't wear any jewelry at all.

Re:Who still uses watches? (3, Funny)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#17345230)

watches are one of the only forms of jewelry allowed for upper-class and upper-middle-class men. Necklaces and earrings are still considered gaudy, and rings are restricted to a wedding band and perhaps a class ring/military ring.

      May I introduce you to our range of nipple, penis and scrotum rings? I mean, who would know? :)

Re:Who still uses watches? (1)

jfengel (409917) | more than 7 years ago | (#17345242)

No, you may not. But thank you for offering.

Re:Who still uses watches? (4, Funny)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 7 years ago | (#17345362)

watches are one of the only forms of jewelry allowed for upper-class and upper-middle-class men.

Don't forget the men who wear those very expensive trophy wives on their arms.

Re:Who still uses watches? (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 7 years ago | (#17345468)

This seems inaccurate. Many upper-class men are into wearing fishnet stockings and high heels.

Re:Who still uses watches? (1)

Prof.Phreak (584152) | more than 7 years ago | (#17345118)

I only wear mine to meetings. Sometimes you're not facing the clock (and have cell phone off, and in a pocket). Also hooking at the watch hints that folks should start wrapping up.

Re:Who still uses watches? (2, Insightful)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 7 years ago | (#17345148)

I never understand why people supplant watches with phones or pdas. My watch needs to have its battery changed once every two years, and is water proof to 100m. Meaning I put it on, and for the next two years, I don't have to worry about it. I don't lose it, I don't forget it, it doesn't run out of juice and is always accurate. It's got a stopwatch to boot, so I can use it to time cooking, running, swimming and sundry other things. Lastly, it's easy access. I flick my wrist, and know the time. There's no digging, no flipping, no unlocking, no nothing.

As said, I have no idea why people think that a phone is a good timepiece. And that's coming from someone who is eternally late. :)

Re:Who still uses watches? (1)

Brummund (447393) | more than 7 years ago | (#17345290)

If I do need to know what the time is, I can be 100% sure that the cell phone is around. If the cell phone isn't around, I don't need to know what time it is.

Re:Who still uses watches? (1)

allscan (1030606) | more than 7 years ago | (#17345392)

Still replacing batteries eh? Time to get a solar watch, or one of the fancier (read more expensive) ones that charge while you move.

Re:Who still uses watches? (1)

Blkdeath (530393) | more than 7 years ago | (#17345152)

Do people still wear watches?

A short while ago I found out watches are more than utilitarian once I actually got a good one. Since I started wearing my Tissot, I couldn't conceive of wearing a Timex again. It's comfortable and I genuinely enjoy wearing it.

Moreover, I'd like to echo a point I saw in another response; it's a PITA to look for a clock, dig for a cell phone and wake it up, or check the computer monitor. It's just convenient to have the time on my wrist.

Re:Who still uses watches? (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#17345216)

Do Slashdotters still wear watches? If so, I'd be curious as to why.

      Yes, because it's handy when you have to take a pulse, among other things. Especially on a house call. I guess I could always slap my pulse oximeter on the patients' fingers and get their pulse THAT way, but I'm just old fashioned. Plus there are other things (dysrythmias, respiratory rate etc) a watch is useful for.

Re:Who still uses watches? (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 7 years ago | (#17345614)

Especially on a house call.


Since when do doctors still do house calls?


-b.

Re:Who still uses watches? (2, Interesting)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#17345710)

Since when do doctors still do house calls?

      _I_ do. I'm not in the US though. Price of a house call, about $30 ;)

Re:Who still uses watches? (1)

gibbdog (551209) | more than 7 years ago | (#17345238)

I don't... I work around enough machinery that wearing a watch/ring/etc is a good way to lose a finger or other body part that it is attached to. One of my hobbies is the captive husbandry of venomous snakes. While working with snakes, a lot of times they tend to wrap their tail around your wrist etc while "hooking and tailing" them safely to a different enclosure. When a 6+ ft mamba wraps its tail around your wrist watch it can be quite a trick to not die. For this reason I never wear a watch as I don't want to forget to take my watch off one day and end up dead.

Re:Who still uses watches? (2, Funny)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#17345292)

captive husbandry of venomous snakes.

      "Married" to your hobby, eh? You know, I really can't stand my ex wife, but I wouldn't go as far as to call her a venomous snake.. bah come to think of it, I probably would :-P

Re:Who still uses watches? (2, Interesting)

codeviking (685537) | more than 7 years ago | (#17345336)

I wear a Waltham pocket watch made in 1908. My dad is a pocket watch collector/repair hobbyist. He can tear a pocket watch completely apart and rebuild them. It's incredible how tiny many of the parts are. A pocket watch is a work of art, and it's neat to have a watch that's nearly 100 years old in your pocket, and that runs incredibly well.

Re:Who still uses watches? (1)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 7 years ago | (#17345446)

Do people still wear watches?

I have a Timex clip watch (sort of like this [timex.com] ) that is handy for travel (especially if I'm some where my cell phone doesn't work), and for timing when I'm running.

Pretty much never wear a wrist watch anymore, just clip this on my belt loop sometimes, or for fancy dress a pocketwatch.

Re:Who still uses watches? (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 7 years ago | (#17345712)

I have a Timex clip watch (sort of like this) that is handy for travel (especially if I'm some where my cell phone doesn't work), and for timing when I'm running.

Dude, that looks ginormous and ugly. Instead, why *not* carry a cellphone?

-b.

Re:Who still uses watches? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17345744)

Simplicity.

A watch does one thing (ignoring gadget watches) and does it very well.

Cell phones as watches are really dumb in comparison as you have to fumble for it, and if you're talking on the phone, interupt your conversation while you consult it.

When I was a kid in the early 60's (5, Interesting)

pair-a-noyd (594371) | more than 7 years ago | (#17344994)

there was a watch repair booth at the grocery store and an old man (as I remember him) sat there all day with his loupe repairing watches. My mom would drop me at his booth and I would just stand there, fascinated.
I thought that was so freaking cool, to work on such tiny things like watches.
I had a Mickey Mouse watch that broke and I got to watch him repair it.

I was inspired by him (and other repairmen) to take stuff apart and see "what makes it tick"..
Another thing that was common when I was a kid, there were handymen repair shops where you took just about anything that was broken and the nice man would fix it. Toasters, vacuum cleaners, TV's, radios, whatever.

That's what I wanted to do when I grew up, be a handyman, to just fix broken stuff.
Now I'm older, have arthritis in my hands, my eyes aren't so good anymore, there's just no way I could do this sort of work anymore. That sucks because that's what I love to do more than anything, fix things, work on stuff..

My favorite TV show is "How it's Made" [discovery.com]

Re:When I was a kid in the early 60's..or 50s (1)

zogger (617870) | more than 7 years ago | (#17345332)

Well...dang straight man, I feel the same way. Really is disappointing when you realise that the real small stuff is just out of reach anymore, glasses or no glasses. I still don't throw away much stuff though, hang onto it for "parts". It's a habit that is hard to shake.

It doesn't matter really, for the most part stuff now is mostly throw away junk. Not all, but most.

Re:When I was a khttp://vg.no/id in the early 60's (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17345358)

That's what I wanted to do when I grew up, be a handyman, to just fix broken stuff. (...) that's what I love to do more than anything, fix things, work on stuff..

This gets rather personal, so I'm ACing it: Be glad that you didn't. My dad worked for IBM for 40+ years. He repaired computers (and before that, typewriters). He started back when you would measure radio tubes for defective bits and replace them, all through the way to replacing defective chips on IC cards.

Today, nobody does that. You're a glorified "replace these cards until it works" or worse yet, a glorified delivery boy replacing the broken box with a new one. The circuitry is so small and integrated, your hourly rate so high compared to just pushing out another at the assembly line, it's just not worth it. One of his colleagues sucidied over it, my dad retired.

I've seen that happen to more and more small electronics - just making an estimate of what's wrong exceeds the cost of buying a new cheap device. Shops that used to fix things like that have closed up. Cars are the same - my dad would understand simple engines well, today you need a computer to tell you what's wrong - and probably a computer to fix it.

I must admit, that's just the way it is. Even if I compare it to a "flip the burger" McDonald's rate, you have a very narrow window of oppertunity where an expensive piece of equipment needs to be fixed in a very short time. Ever tried to debug "Well there's some wierd race condition that only happens under load on release builds", it's roughly as bad as "Well the hardware locks up under some wierd conditions". Many times, even if you found an expert of the subject, it's just not worth it or he'll conclude "scrap it, buy a new one". Sorry to rain on your parade but it's just not as glorious as it sounds.

Re:When I was a kid in the early 60's (1)

Detritus (11846) | more than 7 years ago | (#17345690)

While much of what you say is true, there are many situations where "scrap it, buy a new one" is not an option. There may not be any "new ones", since the originals were a limited production run and custom designed for a specific task.

Re:When I was a kid in the early 60's (1)

Das Modell (969371) | more than 7 years ago | (#17345380)

In the pictures, you can see a watch that a student made after three years of studying. It looks insanely complicated. Really amazing. I'd love to see the insides of a really complex watch.

Re:When I was a kid in the early 60's (0)

dangitman (862676) | more than 7 years ago | (#17345492)

there was a watch repair booth at the grocery store and an old man (as I remember him) sat there all day with his loupe repairing watches. My mom would drop me at his booth

So, as a child, you were a watch? Interesting. How did you make the transition to becoming human? You could be a valuable case study for evolution.

Re:When I was a kid in the early 60's (2, Funny)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 7 years ago | (#17345748)

He could have evolved into a 7 billion ton robot monster like you did.

Almost a watchmaker (4, Interesting)

MajorDick (735308) | more than 7 years ago | (#17344996)

I am fairly young (35) when I was growing up my Grandfater (a watchmaker by training) a boilerwelder by trade (it paid MUCH better) taught me how to clean and repair a watch from a young age.

When I was 15 I lived with him to help on the farm since my Great Grandmother moved in with him. I asked for him to take me as an apprectice as a watchmaker (hey I lived there why not and I was good with guns, clocks, etc) besides my bedrrom was the "Watch Room"

He said he wouldnt mind at all and thought I could make short work of it but he warned me he saw no future in it, as all the watches were going electronic and I could probably never make a living at it.

Investing 8 hrs a day for 2+ years and not having it be a viable profession made my mind up , I decided not to

Last year I was in L.A. I REAL WatchMAKER (not watch repair man, hack, etc, but WATCH MAKER, who can from nothing but raw metal make a watch from scratch command UPWARDS of 250,000 a Year.

DOH ! I have my Grandfather last watch he wore every day, a Seiko, he loved it, it never needed cleaned, and kept perfect time.

The article is about as dead on as it gets......I wish I wish I wish......

It is a truly sad situation today (2, Interesting)

Quila (201335) | more than 7 years ago | (#17345034)

I have some very nice mechanical and quartz Swiss watches. I used to be able to go by a local master watchmaker to have them serviced or fixed. Then he retired and there was literally nobody else around to do it. Now I'm supposed to ship everything back to the manufacturer. Nobody in town will even replace the batteries on the quartz ones.

Re:It is a truly sad situation today (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17345410)

> Nobody in town will even replace the batteries on the quartz ones.

I can out-sad that. Went to 3 jewellers' shops to get a battery replacement on my workhorse quartz watch.

Third shop actually had a watch press and could pop the back off in order to exchange the battery. Told me "it was dead, no way it'd work again".

I took a battery out of my pocket (I'd have been happy to buy the battery from them, but they never even offered to sell me one), plopped it into the back of the watch they opened for me, swung an out-of-place-looking piece of gold-plated material back into place, observed that the watch ran just fine, told 'em I'd take my chances, and manually pressed the back of the watch back into place between my two hands.

3 years later, the "dead" watch is running just fine, and I've since acquired my own watch press so as to never have to darken a jeweler's door again.

Would have gladly paid $10 for a $3 battery and 30 seconds of their time. They spent the 30 seconds ensuring that I'd just drop $30 (6 years worth of watch battery time) to never have to deal with their entire market segment for the rest of my life. WTF? Dumbest. Business. Model. Evah.

Re:It is a truly sad situation today (1)

Quila (201335) | more than 7 years ago | (#17345668)

Would have gladly paid $10 for a $3 battery and 30 seconds of their time.

I was always happy to pay it. Not only did he put in a new battery, but he also checked everything to make sure it's working fine, cleaned it and buffed the crystal. Money well spent.

But it is seriously sad. Not one jewelry store in town will dare to take the back off a Movado, even those who advertise that they repair watches.

OK, I've got to get into this (1)

istartedi (132515) | more than 7 years ago | (#17345038)

I'm not interested in watch making as a profession--I've been thinking of getting into it as a hobby. I've surfed around and looked at some of the tools you need--little lathes and other specialized tools that are hard to find because it's a "dying" art. That's what makes me find it interesting--it's technology, but because it doesn't require a multi-million dollar fabrication facility, it's potentially accessable to a hobbiest. Also, time pieces can be works of art, not just tech. It's funny, I don't even like to wear a watch, but the idea of having a miniature machine-shop in my apartment appeals to me on some level. After posting this, I will probably not follow through again though... it's just another one of those things that I think would be cool.

Re:OK, I've got to get into this (3, Funny)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#17345178)

but the idea of having a miniature machine-shop in my apartment appeals to me on some level.

      Don't tell the government this, because you are obviously a terrorist.

Re:OK, I've got to get into this (1)

Ellis D. Tripp (755736) | more than 7 years ago | (#17345208)

A terrorist who builds really small bombs, right?

Re:OK, I've got to get into this (2, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#17345256)

A terrorist who builds really small bombs, right?

      Small enough to fit in a... I know - a WATCH! Soon airlines will ban all timepieces on flights. Remember, it's not the size that counts.

Re:OK, I've got to get into this (1)

istartedi (132515) | more than 7 years ago | (#17345346)

Haha! that's so ridiculous. If I'm a terrorist I wouldn't spend years learning how to build fine mechanical time pieces. I'd... well... nevermind what I'd do. However, given our current climate of color-coded civil rights violations, it wouldn't surprise me if this hobby put me on the... wait for it... watch list. Oh.... groan. Sorry, but I tried really hard to avoid watch puns in my parent post.

Luxury watches are big business (and fun) (2, Informative)

mad zambian (816201) | more than 7 years ago | (#17345162)

Check out this blog [blogspot.com] for some of the weird and wonderful watches out there. Some of them costing 200K or more. (yes, two hundred thousand) One of my favourites is the TAG Heuer V4, but I doubt I would be able to afford it.
Sigh.
A similar thing might well happen to analogue electronic engineers I suspect, with everything going digital these days. Why have a filter circuit composed of discrete components when you can program a DSP to do the same thing?
Or maybe not.

Balderdash (1, Insightful)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 7 years ago | (#17345198)

> Thirty to 40 years ago, there was a watchmaker at every jewelry store.

This is utter nonsense. Jewelry stores had watch repairmen, most capable of no more than cleaning, adjusting, and replacing movements.

21st Century anachronism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17345280)

I was hoping by this time that we would be training the next generation of time lords.

Re:21st Century anachronism (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 7 years ago | (#17345622)

They have, but the problem with this generation of timelords is that they either want to take us back to the 1950s, take us back to biblical times, or bomb us back into the Stone Age.

Mechanics, yummie (1)

kathmann (256733) | more than 7 years ago | (#17345426)

Interesting point (too bad about the turfer), there has been a watchmaking school in The Netherlands for years, and still going strong.

And especially in a digital age does one appreciate the fine intricacies of a beautiful mechanical device more and more.

Jon Osterman... (1)

bruhinb (864027) | more than 7 years ago | (#17345434)

...would be rolling over in his grave. If only he had stayed dead.

Making Time With The Watchmakers? (1)

Arivia (783328) | more than 7 years ago | (#17345532)

You really want to make time with this [willowtip.com] ?

Arcane Examples (1)

NSObject (250170) | more than 7 years ago | (#17345552)

Thirty to 40 years ago, there was a watchmaker at every jewelry store. That's not the case today.

Maybe this [virginia.edu] will help explain why.

The Rolex statement (4, Insightful)

Gorimek (61128) | more than 7 years ago | (#17345612)

What you wear says a lot about who you are.

And wearing a Rolex is the only thing I can think of that trumps driving a Jaguar for saying "I'm very rich and very stupid".

The Late Dodo (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#17345682)

Earlier this year I bought an analog wristwatch from an old coot who claimed to be "the last certified watchmaker left in New York City". I bought one from him, though I could tell from my NTP-sync'ed mobile phone that his own watch was 2 minutes slow.

I was in a room with a Master of the Way of the Dodo.

Re:The Late Dodo (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 7 years ago | (#17345696)

I bought one from him, though I could tell from my NTP-sync'ed mobile phone that his own watch was 2 minutes slow.

He'll have the last laugh when your mobile phone battery dies when you're hiking in B.F.E. BTW - does anyone make a wristwatch that syncs to a time source (cell net or whatever)?

-b.

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