So I left off from the last post, that Mhvj had agreed to deliver 2 movements in late January 2011, the rest in February some time. This would work in nicely to use one in the Thomas Prescher built prototype, which was currently being made, and number 1 watch not long after.
The movements did not arrive in January, but that was not really a surprise, as a small delay is too be expected.
Without going through the many emails to get the exact dates for these posts, the movements arrived sometime approx mid February, which was great, as we had one for the prototype in time for Basel 2011. I was sent a bill for the 2 movements, which I immediately paid, and not long after they arrived at Thomas Preschers workshop. Keep in mind, I ordered this, though at the time I had not seen the black finish, and had ordered grey.
But this did not arrive, nor did any grey ones, these did.
I was somewhat confused, as these have neither the Strutec escapement, and decorated rotor and bridges, nor grey, or much else.
They did charge me, so not movements to fit cases and other components, and also they did say they would deliver two in the beginning, so these were it.
But this is where the problems really started. We decided to use one of these in the prototype watch anyway, and fit check the other with our dials and hands etc.
Before Thomas Prescher did that, he checked them over, and there were scratches, damaged rotor screws on both, too much oil, so on.
I explained this to the CFO of Mhvj, as he was the person I was dealing with.
I mentioned the finish as well, and the decorations, but his reply was almost like I was annoying. We could not case one of course, and arranged to give them back at Basel.
During this time, I stated to the CFO, that a watchmaker who actually passed an exam never put these together, as I could do better myself.
His reply was the beginning of things to come. “ your opinion of my skills, is your opinion” . I was shocked, the CFO had done these! But Mhvj supply Soprod escapements, so surely they have watchmakers?
Thomas Prescher accompanied me to their booth at Basel, we returned the movements and agreed on dates, finishes, etc. OK, so a mistake can be made, a delay has happened, but we can move on and get things ironed out. I ask for the Black finish that I see outside in the window of their booth, as this looks perfect. They agree. A little while later they tell me I can not have Black, as it is too hard to do, and it fills in the holes and is just too hard. OK, I wonder why then they show it, but no problem, we can have grey. I am then offered bead blast on the main plate and brigdes, with gold plate on the Strutec decorations. OK, lets do that, and get it done.
A big delay follows now,7 to 8 months from memory, and movements are ready!
This time, they are finished in a bead blast like promised.
They send me the bill, along with drawings, and acceptance papers to sign. As I had signed them already, I decided to look very closely at those drawings, as it seemed odd. Took me less than a minute to realise that they had changed the specs! They know from our emails, that I have dials and cases made, hands and everything else. 0.25 mm if I recall, thicker!
They did not inform me, but rather tried to get me to sign off. That to me is blatant fraud.
We agree that they will take a case, dial and hands, to check.
I send them a case, number 25/25 for them to work it out.
After a few days, they send me a few pictures and a video.
They say it is all good, but I notice, as you already have, there are marks in the case back holes. I cant believe it, they have damaged the case back fitting only one movement!
I say little about it. It is not the case back that bothers me, that is easily replaced, it is the attitude and just basic incompetence.
Whatever, lets move on.
Movements arrive! Thomas checks them out, and instantly rejects them. His name is attached to this watch after all, and if its not right, it is not right.
I would expect him to be harsh, but he does not even need to be, they are shocking.
There are scratches everywhere, damaged screws again on the rotors! Too much oil. Not even the most basic thing they can get right. I am concerned, very concerned, as of course, is Thomas Prescher.
They go back, I ask WTF! I am now told, that I have chosen such a delicate finish, what do I expect? I did not chose this finish, I accepted it in place of what could not be given when I was offered it, to speed things along.
I am now looking foolish to my customers, seriously loosing money and am too committed to pull out.
Things are looking bad, the nice relationship is over with Mhvj, and Thomas Prescher must be thinking of pulling out. How do I know?, because I would be.
For those of you that followed this watch over three long years, will of course have some idea of what happened. But as this story not only killed of the CD-2 LE model, but seriously postponed the CD-1, thought I would share it. Reason for three parts, is there is a lot to this story, and would not want to bore you with 100,000 words and 40 pictures in one go, because even I would not read that. This story is a little bizarre, in that a company would conduct themselves in such a way, and in fact, so strange, that you could not make it up.
In late 2009 Aegir Watches started, with work on two models, the CD-2, and the CD-1. I felt out the interest on a few forums at the time, and the CD-1 with the fixed bezel was not as well received as the CD-2 model with timing bezel. In hindsight, it was a mistake to start with only the one model, and I should have produced both from the get go.
To make the most of the CD-2 model, I thought of doing some in Titanium, but it just so happened during that unusually warm European summer, I was was visiting Thomas Preschers workshop in Switzerland for a couple of days, and he made a passing comment about doing the prototype after I had mentioned to him what I was working on.
I slept on it, and brought this subject up again the following day. I figured if he did the prototype, then we could arrange another deal, where I could also get a head start, working with him on a LE model, that basically gave Aegir Watches a link to the good name he has made for himself as one of ”The” Independent watch makers, and made good sense.
So with the idea born, I needed a way to differentiate the two watches, further than just Thomas Preschers involvement.
I came up with the Metta Catharina strap, hand made in the UK, but needed more, a lot more. Searching for a movement, while the prototype was being made by Thomas Prescher, I came across Mhvj.
The movement looked perfect for my needs. It was called the ”cal 2005”, The cost, six times that of the other movements I was using, the Soprod A10.
Turned out also, that Mhvj was owned by the Festina group, which also owns Soprod. Being the Soprod A10 is such a nice movement, and had been great to deal with, what trouble could I have?
I contacted Mhvj, and they gladly accepted my order, small though it was. Turns out, I was the very first customer of the cal 2005.
What luck! , as no other high end movement maker, was willing to take the small order.
By this time it was the later half of 2010, and I placed my order with them for 16 movements.
The lead time was 6 to 7 months, and I would be expecting 9 months. They wanted to deliver in stages, starting with a couple in late January 2011, then the rest later in February 2011.
The order was for the ”Strutec” escapement, with the Strutec decorations on the rotor and bridges in gold plate, and the base and bridges in the Black finish.
(see picture below, taken at Basel 2011)
I felt out for the interest in this model, at $3800 AUD, and to my surprise, there was more than 16, much more. So I asked them if it was a problem to up the order to 26 movements, as one was always destined for the prototype.
I did ask for one movement as early as we could, as the prototype was to be ready fro Basel 2011, which from memory was in March of that year. I was moving back to Australia from almost 15 years living in Europe at the time, and we decided as a family, to go back via Basel Watch Fair, as I could pick up the prototype at the same time.
I had some setbacks in 2008 when I was almost killed in an offshore diving accident, which effectively ended my career, but now I was feeling good, things were on track, Thomas Prescher was involved, movements sourced, no issue in sight!
A customer had this work done to his CD-2, looks great. It is DLC
Great review over on the watchfrreks.com forum of the CD-2
So in a watch, 3mm is a mile, and here is some shots side by side of the CD-1 dial at 33mm and the CD-2 dial at 30mm.
The appliques will be redone to suit the larger size, and I will go further and fatten them up a little like in the BB 50Fathoms. I saw one in the airport recently, and really liked the marker sizes. Nice watch in general of course.
A little slow, but the CD-1 moves forward.
These renderings are not so detailed at this time, as the focus is the increase the dial and crystal size.
The dial on the current model CD-2 watch is 30mm in diameter and the CD-1 will have a planned 33mm dial. This slims down to bezel, as we are keeping the watch as 42mm with 51.5mm lug to lug and 14mm high.
Aegir Watches bought a 3D printer in January for rapid prototyping up coming models , videos to follow of our creations.
After many delays, the first CD-2 LE watches assembled by Thomas Prescher are close to begin assembly.
The first Mhvj cal 2005 movements are assembled and ready.
There will be 24 watches from 50 made now, and we may stop that number here to concentrate on other projects, depending on the interest after the launch.
The first CD-1 is finished, and was produced solely for checks of proportion of current tooling, such as appliques and print tools. This dial is 33mm, and the production dials will be between 30mm and 32mm with 32mm being where I would like to see it. Small changes will be made, such as the date window will touch the 3 o’clock marker, and the print of CD-1 needs to be perfectly lined in the box with equal distances on all 4 sides. This dial was not meant to be the final spec.