Keeping track of the time is important to many of us. It is part of our lifestyle and has been so for a long time now. One of our biggest tools in knowing what time it is wherever we go is a wrist watch.
Wrist watches are an integral part of many people’s wardrobes, whether businessman/woman, doctor, teacher, or other professional. Wrist watches are even considered fashionable, and are considered to be an “accessory”. I’d be willing to wager though that very few of the people that wear watches actually know how these wonderfully useful little gadgets are made.
Before WWI most watches were in the form of pocket watches. Not until the mid 20th century did technology become small enough to allow for the invention of wrist watches. Once wrist watches came onto the market though, they quickly overshadowed the pocket watch.
There are many minute details watchmakers think about when creating a watch. Like builders of other products, watchmakers usually work from a set of plans they’ve made. These drawings help the watchmaker to work out how all of the components fit and work together as well as the watch’s durability, integrity and aesthetics.
Today, many watchmakers are able to benefit from the assistance of software and computerized machines that can make their work even more precise. The parts that make up a watch are, obviously, very small. Intense precision is required for a watch to keep time correctly.
The pieces of a watch are made of many different materials including ceramics, gold, silicon, steel, aluminum, and titanium, just to name a few. Many watches made today also contain tiny quartz crystals. These crystals have the ability to resonate at a highly stable frequency. As a result they can be used to accurately pace an electric timekeeping mechanism.
Because we require accuracy from our watches, and because the pieces that make up a watch are so small, everything must be very clean. But how do you clean such tiny parts? There are special cleaning racks for watch manufacturers to use to help them with this process. This wire cleaning rack is essentially a type of customized wire basket. This wire basket is designed to hold, support, and protect the watch bracelet, crystals, clasps, etc during the ultrasonic cleaning process.
Once everything is carefully cleaned and polished, the pieces of the watch are assembled. The completed watch is then vacuum and pressure tested for water resistance. In order for a watch to be able to make the claim that it is “water resistant”, it must be comply with standards issued by The International Organization for Standardization. And according to the IOS, a claim to be “water proof” isn’t the same!
Watches have become so affordable and common that we don’t often think about what goes into making them. It is an involved process that takes great accuracy. Otherwise we would never know exactly what time it is!