Thursday, May 9, 2013


We have started our polishing practice.  The first step in polishing is the hard buff, this step takes the longest.  It is followed by a cloth wheel with a white polish, then a final polish with a pink or yellow polish.  It can be tricky depending on the desired outcome.  During any stage you can get undesirable morphing and rounding of the metal if the piece of not manipulated correctly.

With the hard-buff you need to press hard enough on the piece to prevent chopping and an uneven finish but if you press too hard you will get rounding of any corners you wish to maintain.  With the cloth wheel I have found it is best to clean the wheel with the rake quite often (especially on a fresh wheel)  and load the polish on only one half.  Moving between the polish-loaded part of the wheel to the other half has given me good results.

 I have learned a tremendous amount about the practical process of polishing in the last couple days.  We have been working on slugs of metal (pictured below) but are going to start working on practice watch cases tomorrow.   I will post some pictures of that later on.

The hard-buff wheel
Some of the practice slugs, they still have some work left
The cloth polishing wheel
Polishing is a dusty business


  1. Hey Andrew, randomly stumbled across your blog... on some watch site, I forget. Really enjoyed seeing all your stuff. I'm a PhD student in economics, but watches are one of my favorite hobbies, so I'm a bit jealous!

    If you don't mind, what led you to pursue this professionally? I don't know anyone at all besides me that likes watches.


  2. Thanks for the comment and kind words Jeff. I'm a amateur student in economics myself--been studying Austrian business cycle theory for a couple years now.

    I found out about watchmaking and horology by looking through the course list at St. Paul Tech in Minnesota. It piqued my interest and after doing some looking online it seemed a good fit. It's practical, technical and requires a good amount of cerebral concentration and problem solving. A perfect fit for my aptitudes I thought!

    St. Paul College's watch program was shutting down the year I wanted to start so I moved out to Seattle to attend NSCC. Very pleased with the experience so far!

  3. Wow, so you went into horology without any particular foreknowledge in watches? That's interesting! Have you found an appreciation for them now? Most people I talk to couldn't tell you the difference between a quartz and an automatic, let alone why someone might pay $150k for a Patek perpetual calender chrono.

    Also, Austrian business cycle is quite an economic niche. What brought you to that? Maybe we should swap programs of study for a while...

  4. Yeah, that pretty much sums it up. I did have appreciation from the common luxury watches from my time spent working in a pawn shop but that respect has grown tremendously. Seeing the amount of work and technical skill that goes into making a high-end watch is amazing.

    I have to thank for turning me on to both Austrian economic theory and the philosophy of non-aggression and libertarianism.