If The Big Names Are Using His Case, Dial, Movement …

Before and after this year’s Basel watch exhibition, I received invitations to visit three watch factories: Parmigiani, Jaeger-LeCoultre and Powell, but due to the problem of time coordination, only Parma was finally completed. Johnny’s. In fact, the appointment with Parmigiani’s watch factory was delayed for several years. They had approached me twice in the past few years, but because of these and other reasons, they have always been fateful, and they were all done by their colleagues. This time, finally I was able to make it, but it was a wish. I figured it out. In the past 12 years, I have probably visited 25 brand factories, and some factories have visited more than once, or even more than two times-like Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, Bulgari, Blancpain, Cartier, Love Peter, Montblanc, and Earl have been there at least twice. There are also some watch factories that have missed because of delays, such as Glashütte Original, Hublot, Zenith, IWC, Tissot, and the previously mentioned Powell. As for the Jaeger-LeCoultre also visited many years ago, but later they moved to a brand-new big workshop, really want to see some, and can only wait for the next opportunity. I have gone to study the factory with a pen and a notebook, and I probably know the process, and how a watch takes shape from scratch. But every year, I always hope to have the opportunity to go to the watch factory and feel the atmosphere of the watch factory. Watching the watchmaker’s work table under the large window glass, reflecting the light, concentrating on polishing and modifying the parts, assembling and adjusting the movement, fitting them with the dial and hands, and putting them into the case, and then undergoing various tests, Finally put on the strap … I think this is a ‘pilgrimage’. The watchmakers are fully focused on assembling the movement. I always think that no matter how many brand news materials are read, how many movements are mastered, how many models have been tried, or even how many watches are collected, they are not as good as you. Go to the watch factory to witness the entire watchmaking process in person, and then you can truly admire and express admiration for high-end watchmaking, because that is really a magical process. When you see the artisans repeatedly polish a part to make it from rough to a mirror-like gloss, this is not done by the machine, but by human hands, step by step, from roughing to the end After the completion, several different tools, grinding wheels of different thicknesses should be used, and checked repeatedly under the magnifying glass. Exquisite sanding and trimming is the most basic entry for advanced watchmaking. It requires the assembly shop to be completely dust-free, because no matter how fine it is, it can not let any dust and debris get on the movement. The watchmakers immersed themselves in assembling hundreds or even thousands of small parts. This is not a jigsaw puzzle or a combination of Lego blocks, because some parts are as small as Maiman needle tips. You must not see the artificial ruby ​​fork tile that is about the same size as the needle tip on the pallet fork. Some brands like to let the media or customers experience the “fun” of disassembling and assembling the movement. Call for help. The most exaggerated thing is that a brand asked me to try to add an artificial ruby ​​fork tile to the pallet fork in the factory. You know, the artificial ruby ​​fork tile is really not larger than the needle tip … I surrendered naturally in the end. . Let me talk about this trip to Parmigiani! In the valley at the end of March, there is still snow in the beautiful and peaceful Flerier town, Parmigiani. It is a niche brand. The founder is Mr. Parmigiani, a master craftsman of antique watch repair. At the age of 26, he opened an independent workshop focusing on the restoration of antique art, and for this reason became associated with the Sandoz Family Foundation. In 1996, with the support of the foundation, the Parmigiani brand was founded. Unlike many brands of outsourced movements, the Foundation has made forward-looking decisions: brands must not only design movements, but also produce movements, and even produce all parts to meet the highest level of craftsmanship they cherish. So through a series of acquisitions of small and excellent suppliers, many manufacturers of movement components, cases and dials were quickly integrated. In less than 6 years, Parmigiani has fully monitored the entire production process, from the smallest parts to the final assembly. Parmigiani’s new 2019 watches are in Switzerland. There are probably more than 10 brands like Parmigiani with comprehensive watchmaking capabilities. And Parmigiani not only serves its own brand, but also supplies other brands. When you come to the case, dial, and movement factory of Parmigiani, you will find many other brands of timepiece photos hanging on the wall, and most of them are ringing high-end brands or independent watch brands-here Forgive me, I ca n’t tell you which brands, because I was specifically warned that this will affect the agreement and tacit understanding between the watch factory and the entrusted brands, but believe me, they are definitely famous and have a high status in the minds of watch fans. Think about it, if these brands come here to customize or case, or dial, or movement, then it is conceivable that how can Parmigiani combine these cases, dials, and movements in quality? Bad! Parmigiani’s watchmaking center has five departments: 1.Les Artisans Boîtiers: case factory. Able to manufacture various materials, shapes, craftsmanship and high complexity watch cases. First use 3D stereo software (CAD) for research and development, then use 3D printing technology to mold, and then use computer numerically controlled machine tools (CNC) to make, and then carry out all kinds of manual polishing, ultrasonic cleaning, waterproof and air pressure test, and finally build Finished. Polishing or polishing 2. Quadrance & Habillage: Dial factory. The bottom plate of the dial is first stamped and formed by a computer numerical control machine, followed by surface treatment and coloring steps. Depending on requirements, it is also embossed or plated, and then the entire component is coated with colorless or colored paint for protection. Mark. These two factories are now integrated in a large building in La Chaux-de-Fonds, and this is the first stop of our visit. Cases and dials factory produces a variety of watch cases to produce a variety of dials 3.Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier: movement factory. Founded in 2003, Vaucher is relatively well-known, located in Fleurier, and is the second stop of our visit. It produces high-quality manual and self-winding mechanical movements and various other functional modules, which are provided to many high-end watch brands. In addition to the workshop with CNC machining, cutting and embossing operations, it also has large machinery workshops and several workshops for pre-assembly, assembly and commissioning of movements. The movements are all finely decorated and hand-chamfered. In addition, the research and development department here continues to develop and manufacture new movements. Vaucher movement factory relies on computer software to design the movement. It relies on CNC machine tools to produce various components. 4.Atokalpa: Parts factory and tool factory. Not only can all the gear components required for the transmission system be produced here, but since 2006, all parts of the speed control system can also be produced here, including balance springs, balances, pallets, escapement wheels. In addition, there is a specialized tool building department, which is self-sufficient and produces its own machines and tools for producing parts. 5.Elwin: Parts factory and machine tool factory. Adopt high-precision micro-mechanical technology to manufacture pendulum shaft and other complex components. In addition, it can manufacture CNC machine tools and develop IT software programs for these machines. It is a pity that we could not visit the last two factories because of the time, because this is not seen by many other watch factories-you know, in Switzerland, even some watch factories claiming to make their own movements, most of them Nor does it have the ability to make balances, hairsprings, or pallet forks and escapement wheels, which are generally outsourced. Perhaps because some exclusive technologies are in it, so afraid of media exposure! Parmigiani’s headquarters welcomes us personally. The person standing on the right is the brand’s general manager of China, Alan Dong. Of course, Parmigiani started by repairing antique clocks and watches. The antique watch repair department in the company’s headquarters. We came to the headquarters and Mr. Parmigiani himself came out and shook hands with us one by one. Two old gentlemen in the antique watch repair department are working, showing us the results of their repairs, some very interesting works. One of the little bird mechanical devices fanned the wings and started to sing loudly when they started. Finally, we also visited the ‘Fondation Qualité Fleurier’ like a dragonfly. I visited here 3 years ago when I visited a Chopard watch factory. In fact, this stringent FQF certification was created by the three watch brands in Fleurier, Parmigiani, Chopard, and Powell, in conjunction with some government public units. How stringent is FQF certification? First of all, the watch must be 100% Swiss-made, and secondly, the movement must meet the high-quality finishing aesthetic standards. These two are similar to the requirements of the ‘Mark of Geneva’, but then they must first be certified by the Swiss Official Observatory (COSC). ) And Chronofiable’s durability test, the final assembled watch is put into a simulator called ‘Fleuritest’ for 24 hours of continuous testing, the simulator will simulate the human arm’s swinging, waving, oscillating, stationary and other actions During this time, the travel time accuracy of the watch must reach the standard of daily error 0 ~ + 5 seconds. The Fleurier Quality Foundation FQF has been accepting applications for certification since 2004. Fifteen years have passed. There are only a few brands that have passed this certification. These three founding brands have not received many watches. Mainly, this certification is really too strict, but at least we can see the intention of these brands to pursue the highest quality. This reminds me of the recent “Belt and Road” slogan on TV: “Although the road is far away, there is no one!” The point is that the brand must have this ambition first. This is a commitment to consumers, but also a brand to itself. Unremitting commitment. This article contains a large number of original pictures, some of which are from the brand. Anyone may not use them without permission. Please contact us for authorization.

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