During our visits to watch manufactures we always get to see a lot of watch makers at work. Sitting behind their low desks, highly concentrated, working on movements or other small watch parts. Recently I was able to try it ourselves during the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Class Watch Training.
Organised in their recently opened boutique in the renowned P.C. Hooftstraat in Amsterdam, we were welcomed by the JLC team and their watchmaker. In their basement they’d set up some work benches, with all the necessary watch making tools for the surgery we were about to perform. Today patient? The Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 986, as used in the Grande Reverso Duoface.
After explaining the basic functioning of a mechanical watch movement, we were shown in various steps how to disassemble the Calibre 986 movement and in which order. From the first step, to fully unwind the barrel, until the moment where our work bench had various tiny screws and watch parts lying on it. All was done in small steps, first shown by the watchmaker, explaining how to perform the steps and which tools were needed. When the movement was almost fully taken apart, we worked our way back by assembling the movement again. After completing all the steps it was great to see the balance wheel going back at it again. Job well done! After all it wasn’t as hard as expected, yet the greatest challenge was the proper use of the watchmakers tools. You’re just not used to work on tiny screws with a pair of tweezers and a small screwdriver, that is supposed to be operated in-between your thumb and middle finger, while you keep in in place applying pressure with the index finger. Add too much coffee and lack of sleep and you will understand the huge respect we have for the men and women in the watch industry that do this work on a daily basis.
We would like to thank Jaeger-LeCoultre for the experience and their great hospitality.