The Thomas Prescher built prototype is currently in saturation for its second time in the North Sea, and the standard watches are making their way into saturation and air diving jobs alike as well.
The second instalment of the prototype is showing the middle part of the case being made.
Its still early work, no He valve fitted yet and no finishing started.
First is a picture of the case in a CNC program that checks the information from the construction file. It runs simulations of the cuts and the tools used and can sometimes pick up even the tiniest of errors in a construction file. It can take many hours setting this work up.
Once everything is set, it then goes to the CNC software and all parameters are entered in.
This CNC machine finds its way around the piece of material by use of a laser, and makes extremely fine cuts to get going.
Recently while I was at this workshop, I made (with help) a small brass part in the machine and it took 32mins to complete, so machining the case centre takes quite some time!
Below the semi completed case before drilling.
It all comes together slowly, lots more to do, and 9 hours of hand finishing are planned for this one case. Winding stem hole has been drilled and lug holes for the screw bar.
Helium valve hole has been drilled.
Still lots of work to do! Movement ring to machine, lots of finishing, bezel and case back engraving to program and machine.
This bezel will have BWG-9C1 superluminova mixed with a clear resin into the engraved makers.
It is planned to assess not the practical side, but rather the overall aesthetic, of the planned future bezel, using 28 sapphire inserts with lume underneath.
Dials are going to be scraped as there is a small fault with the printing (CD-2 is just a touch too far to the right), but the one in further back in this thread will be used in this watch and changed are the prototypes trials for one of the new ones. Turned out it was on the tech drawings, but no one noticed it, including me.
Since we are not using those dials, and have to make new printing tools, we are looking at making
smaller in a smaller box.
I like this current one, but think it a fraction large perhaps. Very happy with the appliques though and the overall dial.
Work has started on the CD-2 prototype and I hope to bring you all some good pictures in this thread.
It is planned to have the watch finished in time for Basel watch fair, but the delivery of the crystals is currently the issue as it appears that all other parts will be completed on time.
Mhvj cal 2005 movement is being used in the prototype, as it will be in the limited edition. Two movements arrived from my order, though it appears today that these are loan movements to set up the watch and will be replaced by the finish that I have ordered.
I cant read French, so I missed that part initially and am still not 100% sure.
There was some issue about the finish I ordered as well as the Strutec ® escapement that apparently could not be included as this order was short notice at 5 months! Though with delays of the movements, these points were rectified.
When the raw material arrived, it went straight into the lathe
The programming of the CNC machine was done some time back as this material we have been waiting for, for some time.
The watchmaker does not use Stainless Steel, so it needed to be ordered specially.
On the series watch we will be having engraved black numbers with a 1.6mm lume pip at the 12 o’clock triangle. Originally 28 sapphire pieces were to be used in the bezel, but in the 11th hour that did not work out.
It is still number one on my list of things to do for the future, though it will add some considerable cost to the watch, no doubt.
On this prototype watch, the bezel will be filled with lume and a clear lacquer.
It is being done to test how it works out and more so to see how the 28 sapphire inserts will work in the watch aesthetically.
Over the coming months, a few prototype bezels will produced, including a full sapphire ring insert with lumed makers underneath and a 12 hour bezel to give the watch the ability to time commercial dives.
Bezel in the CNC machine
Case back was originally planned with a dive bell engraved.
No matter how I played with this drawing, it never looked 100% right to me, so I decided to have just text on the case back instead.
Eventually the drawing will appear, but it will take a few prototypes to get it right and itâ€™s not just the drawing of course, itâ€™s the method used to make it. “Edit, this drawing has since been produced on the non LE case backs”
The Omega SeaMaster case back is my bench mark, but of course, it will add cost again.
Most likely will be stamped like the Omega and Swiss tooling costs have an interesting amount of zero’s on the end, so doubtful it will appear this year.
I am more focused on presenting the CD-1 as well as the CD-2, Ti models, etc.
I am at this point happy to have a nice clean, plain case back.
Of course there is a long way to go and over the coming weeks, I hope to bring you all many pictures showing the construction of this watch.
And hope that all will be ready in time to present at Basel fair.
The Metta Catharina strap.
This strap is for the prototype and will be on the limited editions.
It is handmade in the UK and has a calf skin lining.
Here is an exert from an article from theÂ http://www.timesonline.co.uk
In the 18th century, Russia leather was widely regarded as the finest leather in Europe. The hides were known for their rich colour, their suppleness, their resistance to water and an aroma so rich that it could repel insects. It became an immensely valuable commodity. Tanneries in western Europe began to imitate it. They sent spies to Russia, who risked their lives trying to find out what went into the leather. What made it so distinctive, beautiful and hard-wearing? But no one ever managed to capture the quality of the original and the Russian Revolution finally put a lid on production. Russia leather was lost for good.
Then in 1973, in the waters of Plymouth Sound, a team of divers discovered what appeared to be a mass of rotting seaweed. Scattered around it were the broken timbers of a ship. The ships bell, recovered from the silt, revealed her to be the Metta Catharina, a 100-ton Baltic brigantine that had foundered in a storm in December 1786. She was bound for Genoa from St Petersburg and her cargo ” the rotting seaweed ” turned out to be bundles and bundles of hides.
Miraculously, much of the leather was intact. The pressure of 15 fathoms of water combined with the hides mysterious oils meant that for nearly 200 years little water had penetrated. When untied, the bundles opened up like packs of vacuum-sealed coffee.
The divers did not realise the importance of the Metta Catharinas cargo until, some time later in a Falmouth pub, a young leatherworker overheard one of them talking about the wreck. Robin Snelson was immediately interested. The first leather he saw was a disappointment. But gradually, as the divers probed deeper into the silt and as Snelson developed his cleaning techniques, the hides revealed their original quality. Word spread, and in 1986 Snelson was visited by two bespoke shoemakers from the West End. John Carnera and George Cleverley saw at once that this was the real thing.
I had seen some books in the British Museum bound in Russia leather, Carnera explained. But it was the smell that gave Snelsons hides away. Theres no other leather with that smell. We use it now for shoes and the strange thing is that the older it grows, the better it becomes.
Recovering the hides has not been easy. Every year, divers manage to bring up only a couple of hundred from the Metta Catharina. They are treated by Snelson and either worked by him or sold on to other case-makers; some of the best hides are selected for shoes by G. J. Cleverley & Co. The bows of the wreck have been emptied and the divers have begun on the stern. No one knows how many remain but Snelson believes they have already had the lions share.
With the choice of using the Ennebi roller buckle, the pin that holds the buckle on the strap, is too thick to be used on the current straps.
More are being made now to fit the new buckle, so the current stock is being sold on the Aegir website without buckles. These straps are handmade from Metta Catharina leather in the UK, using traditional tools.
This leather is almost no more, and once it is gone, it will be gone forever. A fantastic and unique smell, a thick soft leather with calf skin lining, and with a truly unique story. On the bottom of the ocean, preserved in Birch tar oil and silt for almost 200 years before it was found. We have only 16 of these straps to offer, and will never be offered again, except as standard on the LE watches until the leather has run out, which will not be long.
The current stock of Italian coach straps, handmade by the same maker will also be up for sale, to make way for new ones that take the buckle
So with the Basel fair, pictures were put off, in favor of getting things done.
Many were missed, for the final machining, and more importantly the finishing of the case.
What were done were some for the casing before finishing, and a few at the end.
Sorry to those who were following this thread hoping to see the finishing. I will attempt to bring such a thread again, in the next model prototype. The CD-1.
Some bezel click parts ready to go in.
On the heat
Helium valve to be fitted
I picked up the watch at Basel. It is not 100% finished, as the crown was made for Basel, and no tube is in.
It has been on my wrist daily over the last couple of weeks, and i have really bonded with it, even though i am more a CD-1 type of guy. This watch will shortly be sent back to Thomas Prescher, for fitments of crown and tube, then it will be used in anger, on a 28 day saturation dive.