Dear Björn, I had the immense pleasure of reading your treatise on watch-creating once more with a free mind...

Mar 05, 2018,13:39 PM

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.

More posts: Paul Gerber

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Commissioning a Unique Piece to Celebrate Traditional Craftsmanship: Jochen Benzinger with Svend Andersen

 By: BjoernM21 : February 20th, 2018-13:05
In the watch industry masters of different trades work together. Jochen Benzinger is a specialist for decorative work on dials and movement parts, but he offers also watches bearing his name. I wanted one of his watches, though, he could not offer the add...  

Very thorough post my friend 👌🏻

 By: Watchonthewrist : February 20th, 2018-13:52
Love his work 😘 here is one of my CvdK ...  

What a great, and informative post!

 By: JToddH : February 21st, 2018-05:08
It is so nice to see the old-world artisanship still active. Such a good article and worthy of a re-read or two to really soak in and appreciate the skill and dedication these brands bring to the art.

Great post, great brands.

 By: TomSinger : February 20th, 2018-23:45
I was always a fan of Benzinger watches, I'm even more now! Thanks for sharing Björn.

Excellent - this is a monumental post!

 By: cazalea : February 21st, 2018-11:25
As a tiny background contribution, here is an example of Benzinger/Chronoswiss circa 2008 Leap Year meeting of Purists sorry for the blurry photo Cazalea ...  

Everyone Read This !

 By: DonCorson : February 21st, 2018-12:35
Another of Bjorrn's research projects in independent watchmaking! Don

Fabulous post - I need to re-read and digest this.

 By: Bounce781 : February 21st, 2018-17:15
I’ve always admired Nr Benzinger and Mr Andersen’s work. One of my “early mistakes” was to sell a unique Benzinger piece “Reelsmith” I was lucky to acquire second-hand. Have always missed having it (Photo by the original owner) ...  

Wow Bjorn!

 By: Tim Jackson : February 21st, 2018-23:18
What a splendid read this article is, thank you so much for taking the time to do this, sharing so much of the custom process, decisions and challenges made in order to execute on an idea with two Master craftsmen! Not an easy exercise, and you are to be ... 

I have a late response to this, simply because...

 By: skyeriding : February 26th, 2018-08:17
...I can't find the words to do justice to compliment such an incredibly written article!! There is a certain beauty in seeing your request as a client to the watchmaker - as you described, you're assuming the role as a "foreman", to direct at a high leve... 

Wow... what a story and picture overload...

 By: andrewluff : February 26th, 2018-09:27
Need to sit down and digest all the information... thank you for taking the time! I never knew the partnership with Habring! Your piece is superb, love the guilloche bezel as the final touch... BIG Congratulations!!! Here's my piece G & B... Cheers Andrew...  

Thank you

 By: ztirual : February 26th, 2018-11:24
for your wonderfully researched, documented and written article. I particularly enjoyed all the information describing the guillochage technique. You have in your Voutilainen and your Benzinger two delightful watches, that reflect your taste and deep pass... 

Dear Björn, I had the immense pleasure of reading your treatise on watch-creating once more with a free mind...

 By: Ornatus-Mundi : March 5th, 2018-13:39
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 ... 

The differences in the guilloche work are very subtle, with the surface treatments having a strong influence how the decoration appears

 By: BjoernM21 : March 7th, 2018-01:47
Sorry for the rubbish pictures but this is all I managed with a loupe and the iphone in "freehand mode". The different light play in the dials can also not be shown with these photos, but this has for me the biggest influence on how the dials appear in na...  

Here is my unique benzinger

 By: vivek : July 17th, 2019-11:43
Eternal calendar ...  

Can’t believe I didn’t notice your article a year ago

 By: Homme de La Firme : July 18th, 2019-00:28
The article has amazing detail and depth I wish I would see more nowadays as almost all watch journalism is focusing on fast content on new launches to fuel the visitor amounts and views for ad ratings. Just amazing work - thank you!