It's a Date

Our accelerated program continues to speed us along! Another week, another complication.

We're back on the 7750, this time to learn the day & date complications. A complication is, remember, anything on a watch besides the basic time-telling elements.

Many watches have a date, but the day indicator is another layer of complexity. Together, they require a couple dozen parts (including some very small springs) to perform their duties.

The scarier thing about this complication, however, is the fact that we're starting to deal with consumer-facing elements!

So far, all of our watch service has been internal to the movement. Sure, watches with a see-through caseback make any error visible (which is why no smudges, scratches or lint are allowed, even if they'll never be seen), but the day and date discs will be visible right on the dial.

Handling consumer-facing elements is tricky and risky. On high-priced vintage watches, the hands and dials are everything when it comes to the watch's value. Even small damage can take thousands of dollars off a piece's value—and that's going to make for a very angry customer.

The trick with the day and date discs is to avoid touching them as much as possible, especially the painted surfaces. Our brass tweezers, which are so gentle to steel components, will mercilessly gouge the discs, destroying them.

Dials and hands are still down the road, but not far. With everything, a gentle touch is a must.

Watchmaking student at the Lititz Watch Technicum, formerly a radio and TV newswriter in Chicago.