KAJ KORPELA - BERNE SWITZERLAND

MAKING OF A WRISTWATCH

 

It is the biggest wish of a craftsman to be able to exercise his craft in inventive ways or/and to its limits: therefore, I always wanted to be the creator of my own watch. I waited until I felt confident enough to carry on with this project, collecting a good deal of experiences through several employments in the production and the restoration of watches for Swiss brands.

 

During a few recent years, I have been experimenting with some ideas that I would like to realise. When it appeared, at the beginning of 2015, that the watch industry would be entering a cold season once again, I decided to take a recess of at least one year from the beginning of August 2015 and start my own project.

 

The goal of the project would not only be to make a fully working watch in a rather traditional way, but also make it as reliable and precise as any other modern high-end watch. It would also have to be original to me i.e; a watch that is representing me as craftsman and independent watchmaker. If I would succeed with this, I could later focus on the visual aspect such as finishing and choice of materials.

 

The two most important inspirational references are my brother Henrik and the late George Daniels. With the help of Mr Daniel’s writings about watchmaking, I got a quite good perspective on how a watch can be made mostly by hand. My brother who had already started and in time succeeded with such a project, showed me that it was possible even though it demanded a total investment. Now almost one year later, I look back and I understand what my brother had told me and what I later heard from Philippe Dufour: forget about week-ends, holidays and any time off, you have to focus singularly on this.

 

Finally, the making of a first watch took about 2300 hours, included was a rough finishing of many visual parts as seen on the pictures on this website. I wanted to give the watch at least some finishing while that would give a better idea of how the watch could look at a final stage. I would like to state that the final look of the dial is also not there. As can be seen on the pictures it is made out of untreated brass and is supposed to only show how the shape of a potential dial can look like. I will be researching on the possible materials, treatments, design and how I can use the technique engine turning.