The beauty of things

Subject inspired after watching this video seen first on Adafruit site.

Long time ago, I wanted to be a clock maker. Probably because watches were highly desirable when I was a kid. They were the typical present for major events in a kids life (e.g. first Communion). Much bigger and quite impressive, the grandfather clocks were found at … grand parents houses and they remind me the smell of charcaol, beeswax and fresh marmelade. Too bad, the quartz invaded the world of timers of any sort. Alike pocket calculators, the early quartz watches were expensive and not so convenient. To my knowledge the rough but modern looking Sinclair watch was the first quartz available in France.

Then, well, most of you know the story. As a result, my final exam in Besançon was not dealing with the design of the ultimate complication for a watch. We had to design an automated system for encapsulating the quartz rod in its metal housing! (That’s small!)

The good news however is that the traditionnal clock industry is alive again, thanks to some visionary people like Nicolas Hayek. This guy did not invent the Swatch. He had the idea of making all sorts of this innovating watch at a moderate price. Which helped financing other ambitious projects after getting hold of famous clock firms.

But my favorite is the wonderful Atmos perpetual clock made by Swiss watchmaker Jaeger-LeCoultre. The clock is powered by atmospheric pressure, which is where its name originates

I still care for traditional watches and maintain a few “old timer” clocks powered by the classic “Mouvement de Paris”. Here is a picture taken at one of the most critical phase of rebuilding a mouvement: all wheels are in place, ready to be packed with the back plate.

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