December 4, 2012

Watchmaker for a day

Unusual for a girl, but I’ve always been fascinated by technology. My curiosity for the mechanisms behind the electronics and not only convinced me to study the issue in more detail (in highschool I even followed the Mathematics and Physics classes). Unfortunately, my skills were not native just as they were to Isaac Newton and James Prescott Joule, but, rather, intensely nourished and polished of the everyday information. So I readjusted my path in college, heading towards more sociologic and artistic realms. Anyway, the curiosity for the misterious “behind the scenes” of computers, LEDs, motors and everything that moves helped by driving forces, remained in the same place.

Fashion began to adopt technology with the same rapidly that adopts trends. Researchers are already working on a dress which is sending twitt’s, pants that can charge your phone and many other revolutionary ideas. But there is a hightech jewel that we all have, whose utility determins us never separate from it. The watch!

Have you ever wondered how much science involves the object we are wearing on our hand? A precise mechanism that became indispensable to the everyday life?

I recently found out all the details. A visit to Helvetansa convinced me that this is the place you find out the exact hour. I was introduced to the world of high-class jewelery, being surrounded by the star watches belonging to the finest brands: Vacheron Constantin, Panerai, Cartier, Piaget, IWC Schaffhausen, Glashutte Original, Baume & Mercier, brands exclusively sold by Helvetansa in Romania.

I was watchmaker for a day. Helvetansa, the synonymous of the Swiss horologerie in Romania, invited me to a three hours course to build a mechanical watch.

My steps I have been carefully guided by master watchmakers throughout the process. The preparation before the course itself was pretty rigorous, turning into an unique ritual. I was wrapped in a robe and had my fingers covered in thimbles, as the fragility of the watch elements must not make contact with impurities. Otherwise, the watch accuracy can be affected.

Then, armed with tweezers, screwdrivers, magnifiers and other mini James Bond tools, I soared the hermetic world of fine watches, trying to disassemble a superb mechanical Tissot Savonette watch. Huge emotions: I did not want to spoil anything, especially because the work was extremely thorough. Just one wrong move and the whole mechanism could be compromised. Therefore, the whole process had the intensity of an open heart surgery (excepting the relaxing breaks and exciting stories about the Vacheron Constantin factories).

After several hours, from a fully functional watch, remained an amalgam of parts, each of them smaller, more delicate and more sensitive, inspiring  the rigor, perfection and thoroughness that characterizes Swiss haute – horologerie. I never imagined how many tiny parts can be accommodated in a watch. Bow, box spring, balance, balance board, Anker, Anker plate, idler, are indispensable parts of magic process that shows the time.

In the past, in the manuality era, there were people specialized in making only one piece, which they executed with a machine’s perfection for a lifetime.

Assisted by Helvetansa’s specialists I brought the watch into its original shape. At the end, I checked it and everything was set with the precision of a… Swiss watch, of course.

A wonderful experience, which I recommend to all of you.

If you happen to be in Romania, the elegant Helvetansa shop on Calea Victoriei No. 70 organizes this special course for all watch lovers.

At the end, Nicoleta Pavel, Helvetansa Retail Deputy Manager, handed me a diploma.

However, for exceptional watches, don’t bet on my newly achieved skills. Go to Helvetansa!