This is the third and final part of this series.
Read also how some wrist watches survived my fiddling!
Though these watches were at home, I felt shy to wear them - don't talk of meddling their machines! It was only after a watch came to me that I got over that feeling. It was my first watch - a gift by an uncle on the occasion the cousin's wedding. It was some lesser known Swiss brand and belonged to her brother who had died prematurely, some years before the wedding. Gifting this to me for that occasion saved them a few rupees! A watch was a big thing even in the 70s.
Long later, I replaced its machine with a 'quartz movement' and gave it off to my FiL who was in urgent need of a watch at that time. I used to see him use it for some more years. It was a victim of the learning process.
My 'achievements' in meddling these time machines
I used that watch for some years and when it developed a snag, I got curious. I saw a clock smith in me. I opened it with some crude tools - one was a tweezer I had bought for zoology specimen dissection at college! I accidentally bent a spring and its condition still worsened. Handling the tiny machine requires very steady hands. Skill comes from persistent practice. Drunkards cannot become clock smiths. I had already 'laid my hands' on the two alarm clocks which 'in the end', met their premature end!
During my market errands, I got clues while inquiring for spares for the watches that suffered under my hands. I also observed how the professional smiths handle the tiny parts. I bought the basic tools like the eye piece, screw drivers, little trays and boxes at a watch spares shop. I wanted to try and see for myself what could be done to make it work again.
I learnt that the balance wheel is like the human heart. If it stops, the machine goes lifeless. But the "machine's heart" is replaceable. Handling the balance wheel with its 'hair spring' is a highly skillful job which I could never master, despite being a teetotaler! It was a tough learning process nevertheless. I could remove and replace all the parts after cleaning them with 'aviation petrol' and putting oil to the 'jeweled parts'. This was also the beginning of my hobby as a clock smith, which helped me maintain the watches and clocks at home and even helped a few of my friends that knew of my ability at this. For things that were beyond my basic skill, I had to engage professional help.
I have spent hours searching the floor and desk, for those nano screws that slipped from the tweezer grip! I had even used magnets to 'find' them because I thought then that the broom and brush might still worsen the situation! I used to wonder how they even manufactured such tiny parts with precision.
That Favre Leuba is one watch I never wanted to open even though the temptation was there. But for once, wisdom prevailed.
After my entry to a job I bought my first watch for Rupees 225. I sold it off after a few months for 175 to a colleague and bought another similar watch in 1984 only because I liked the design on this one! It is the traditional spring wound watch from Hindustan Machine Tools. This one, still fine:
In the late 80s, quartz watches became popular. I found out over time that they are reliable and durable. My next watch was a quartz watch brought for me from Singapore by a friend for Rupees 200. It worked nicely for almost 20 years when its life ended in 2007.
Like many organizations that presented employers with watches when they completed many years of service, there came a day when I got one too from mine.
Another dial design I made on the back side of the original dial of this clock which did not suit my taste. I have designed the hands here.
The new generation is never satisfied with one or two.
Some Swiss Watches through the 'window':
Showcases at night
Cuckoo clocks are famous in Switzerland
"Expensive cheaper watches"!!
Huge shop full of watches
Not unexpectedly... expensive.
More watches and mementos
TIME AND TIDE WAITS FOR NO MAN.