For me, selecting an existing watch, paying for it and walking out of a watch boutique is one thing, where your own money is the sole matter that is at stake. However, I find becoming actively involved in the actual creation, just like you to elaborately desrcribe, is an entirely different matter (this is not meant to depreciate the process of buying a watch!):
You request the time of the artisan to create your piece. You have to provide input, considered input, you have to be sure that whatever you have in mind witll stand the test of time, your test of time: you want to be sure that what the process you set in motion will yield results that will provide pleasure for years to come.
Thus, such a project bears a huge responsibility. It is thus highly desireable to have expert craftsmen and -women who guide you to the process, trying to turn your ideas into reality and devise solutions to their ends, but also providing critical feedback when needed.
I have at home a few intersting movements, amongst them a small minute repeater, which I collected for exactly the pruposes of designing 'my' own watch. However, I have so far not come up with a convincing concept that I am sure will last on me. I started ideas, created drawings, and let them go. They were not what I ultimately thought would be worth the effort (and would be appropriate to the unique movements).
These movements are still in the drawer...
I therefore envy you for the sole fact that you advanced, decided and therefore passed the procrastination phase I still find myself trapped in. I admire this, and hope I someday will be ready to pull the trigger (I am practicing with my first custom strap created entirely on my own ideas - and I will share the processs here as well).
Last year I had the immense pleasure and joy to attend a watchmaking workshop with Paul Gerber in Zurich, which gave me an intense exposrue to the challenges of (mechanically) creating one's own watch. I became hooked, this working on material, the slowly carving out of the elements and finishes one wants to achieve, the many pitfalls and small mistakes, which are swiftly rectified by the steady hand of a master watchmaker like Paul (which still leaves me stuck with awe).
But there are also the glimpses of light during the process, when one suddenly understand aspects and makes, aesthetically for example use of them. I particularly would your description of the surface treatments of the guilloched dial immensely fascinating to read, or the description on how you wanted the skeletonisation work to be done. Heck, your article gave me a renewed interest in this craft which I until now only appreciated on the surface. Thank you for that!
I find your final piece a wonderfully devised, comprehensively thought through and consistent piece. You framed all your decisons in an almost scientific contexts of available options, their respective strengths and weaknesses, and how they reflect your tastes and contribute to the set goal. It is mature, it shows the spriit of an accomplished collector, and at the same time the even combination of two masters that each have their distinctive inputs still visible.
I congratulate you on your project and more so on your result. Very, very well done, although I probably would have made completely differenct choices.
Your own watch speaks for itself.
I remain deeply grateful for your generousity to share, in this fantastic detail, your thoughts and musings. I'll use it as a reference for the future.