Clock Progress: Hands & Dial

The final stages of the clock are underway!

I decided to try turning the dial for my clock at one of our bigger toolmaking lathes (a Schaublin 102). We have two of the bigger lathes, and they're mostly reserved for special projects and instructor use. Our 8mm Horia lathes are much more like what we'll see out in the wild, and our instructors don't want us to get spoiled with the Schaublins.

Still, the dial is about 100mm across, so onto the big lathe it goes. I made a steel ring to fit inside the brass one, and they both have to be turned together for concentricity. It's a fun challenge, and it's a great intro to the machine.

The hands are completely made, well, by hand. We're free to make our hands however we like, and mine are a modified Breguet style (with a centered pomme). Breguet used his distinctive hands as an early branding technique, but they also served a useful purpose—the off-centered holes allowed a bit of the white dial to show through, allowing the user to tell the time by dim candlelight.

Image via

Image via

I still have to finish the hands (they'll be lapped and blued) and I'll have to figure out how to engrave and ink the dial. That last part is a bit outside of my program's purview, but the challenge will be exciting!

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