Your Cart

Nothing in cart

https://www.gnomonwatches.com/blogs/news/history-of-watchmaking/

How Watches are Made: Key Steps into Crafting Timepieces

From concept to creation, discover the artistry and precision behind the process of how watches are made in this article!
Mar 27, 2024

Watches have been an indispensable part of human history, serving not only as timekeeping devices but also as symbols of craftsmanship and precision. For that, have you ever wondered about how a watch is made? This might be utterly mesmerizing to see how watches come in shape. 

Behind every exquisite timepiece lies an intricate and meticulous process that transforms raw materials into wearable works of art. In this case, watchmakers play as the nerve center for making the design and planning the production. Other than that, there are some key steps to create a beautiful and classy timepiece.

In this article, we delve into the fascinating world of watchmaking, uncovering the step-by-step process of creating a watch, from design to assembly. Let’s dive in!

How a Watch is Made

We believe that everyone knows how complicated it is to make a timepiece, especially considering the intricate working parts inside a watch. However, as mentioned before, there are some key steps that explain how a watch is made.

In simple steps, the process of how a watch is made can be categorized into five steps that include design, pre-production, prototyping, production, and final stages. Below we’ll explain what happens in each step in detail.

Design Process

In this step, watchmakers or a brand plans everything which includes planning the design idea and conducting some studies.

Feasibility and Detailed Study

The Technical Department is responsible for conducting the feasibility study. The work is sometimes divided between the Movement and Casing although they still need to work together. Depending on the project’s complexity, feasibility can take from one week to six months.

Design and Development

The creation of a watch begins with a vision – a concept that embodies the essence of both aesthetics and functionality. Expert designers meticulously craft the initial sketches, combining their creativity with an understanding of horological engineering principles. 

These designs are then transformed into detailed technical drawings using Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software, allowing for precise measurements and proportions.

Raw Materials

To bring the watch to life, a range of carefully selected materials is required. High-quality stainless steel, titanium, precious metals, sapphire crystals, and fine leather are just a few examples of the materials used. 

The raw materials are sourced from trusted suppliers and undergo rigorous quality checks to ensure that they meet the strict standards of watchmaking.

Read also: Watch 101: The Basic 9 Parts of a Wrist Watch for Beginner

Pre-Production

It refers to the process of analyzing the validated project in terms of costs, watch components, and the whole process.

Industrialization

The next step on how a watch is made continues to analyze the cost and process for manufacturing and assembling. The Methods Department is responsible for this step to transform the results of the study into an industrial plan integrated with deadlines. 

The watch designers will make a plan that will be sent to the manufacturers for making the watch’s internal and external parts. It is the job of the Logistics Department to manage invitations to tender and orders. 

Meanwhile, the Artistic Director will be the one that approves any future finishes to the watch.

Component Manufacturing

The intricate parts of a watch are manufactured with utmost precision. This involves a combination of traditional craftsmanship and cutting-edge technology. 

Metal components such as gears, springs, and cases are often created through a process called CNC machining, while delicate hands, dials, and indices may be meticulously crafted by skilled artisans. 

Each component undergoes rigorous quality control measures to ensure perfect fit and functionality.

Inspection

All the manufactured components will undergo some inspections under the supervision of the department responsible for certifying compliance. Every criterion will be checked thoroughly to ensure it meets the standards and regulations.

Prototyping

The watch will go through the prototyping process, meaning that every manufactured element will be assembled and adjusted to form a single timepiece. 

Movement Assembly

The heart and soul of a watch reside in its movement, also known as the caliber. The movement is meticulously assembled, piece by piece, in a dust-free environment. Oris Aquis Date Calibre 400

Skilled watchmakers delicately place gears, wheels, and springs into their designated positions, ensuring precise alignment and smooth operation. The movement is then adjusted and regulated to achieve optimal accuracy and performance.

Read also: Answering the Wonders around In-house Watch Movements

Assembly

Other than the movement, all delivered components are also assembled in a single kit. This is where the watchmakers come to the rescue and assemble the prototype of the new watch model. The prototype is mostly referred to as “Number Zero”.

In this process, the watchmakers also make adjustments if necessary. It is also said that the process includes putting the theory into mechanical practice for the first time.

Characterization

Once the prototype is assembled, every property will be checked to make sure it has complied with the initial specifications. After that, the performance like power reserve and chronometric will be checked as well.

Production

After several stages, the watch prototype will undergo the production stage where the real watch model will be made and the result will be sold.

Start the Pilot Production Run

After the prototype is validated, the process continues to make the first example of the new model. It is referred to as Zero Pilot Production. In this case, the model made under the Zero Pilot Production will be sold. 

Finishing and Decoration

The meticulous finishing touches elevate a watch from a mere timekeeping instrument to a true work of art. Each component is meticulously polished, brushed, or decorated according to the watchmaker’s specifications. Gruppo Ardito Lince Crimson Red - Gnomon Exclusive

Beveled edges, perlage patterns, and Geneva stripes are just a few examples of the various techniques used to enhance the aesthetic appeal of the watch.

Final Stages

The last stage in the process of making watches will be testing to ensure the watch’s quality and promotion to market the watch. 

Testing and Quality Assurance

Before a watch leaves the workshop, it undergoes a series of rigorous tests to ensure its accuracy, water resistance, and durability. 

Timekeeping precision is assessed using specialized machines, and the watch is subjected to simulated real-life conditions to verify its reliability. 

Each timepiece must meet the brand’s stringent quality standards before it can be deemed ready for the market.

Sales and Marketing

Once the watch is set to be promoted, the Sales and Marketing Department will take over to advertise the watch and contact ambassadors who will present it to retailers. Oris Aquis Date Calibre 400 inside the box

Conclusion

A watch is made under a labor-intensive process that combines centuries-old craftsmanship with modern engineering techniques. From the initial concept to the final quality control checks, every step is executed with unwavering precision and attention to detail.

A watch embodies the spirit of its makers and carries with it a legacy of artistry and timekeeping excellence. So, the next time you glance at your wrist, remember that behind that elegant timepiece lies a remarkable journey of dedication, skill, and passion.

Read also: Everlasting Investment: Watch Care Tips for Your Timepieces

You may like this

Related Articles

Comparison Chart

No watches in comparison chart

Artboard 1
Artboard 1
Maker

Movement

Case

Lug width

Water resistance

Dimensions

Maker
Movement
Case
Lug Width
Water resistance
Dimensions