Today, we look at a pocket watch tourbillon that Sonja’s father has built by himself. Sonja Erhardt is a long time friend and employee of our business. Her father built this watch in the 50s. Correct? No. He built the first one in 1980 and… Do you mean he built more than one? My father Helfried Meyer has built 5 tourbillons in 6 years. He spent every minute he could in the workshop. In the early years he still had a shop and
was self-employed. Many members of our family worked there. My brother, my sister, as well as my brother-in-law and my uncle. We are a real watchmaker family. We owned a historical watch workshop and used to produce a lot. In his spare time, he used to do work alone, repairing watches after work until late at night. Great. You brought us not only the watch, but also some tools. And you just told me that you even made some of these yourself. For someone who is not very acquainted
with pocket watch manufacture this looks like a fly swatter. What is it? Well, that’s a pan. Typically, we use it to temper and blue screws and hands. That is how they get the right stability and color as well.
And you made it yourself? Everything, yes. This is… We had to…
My siblings and I had to make tools first, before we were allowed to work on a watch. My father always said that a self-made tool is exactly the way you need it. Anyway, it is better and you can repair and improve it. Before we take a closer look at the watch: Which parts of the watch are not self-made but bought? Short answer: The two crystals and the jewels. Everything else is hand-made: The casing, crown, screws, spring…
dial, everything A tourbillon in itself is quite special. But one that has every single part made by
hand, is something you cannot find on the
market anymore. Can you give us some technical details,
Sonja? In the front there is the small dial showing the seconds, and a power reserve, showing how far the watch is wound up. The dial is solid silver. The indices have been made one by one. The sockets for the indices were milled.
They have been lowered, so to speak, and pinned in the back, so that they can be removed if you want to refresh the dial. How did he make the casing?
Here, with this hammer. For the case, he basically used a strip of gold and kept beating it until it was perfectly round. Then he clamped it into the lathe and made the seam for the lid. I see the movement has a glass cover and features a twin mainspring barrel. Correct.
The main spring barrels are interlocked so that the power delivery is kept constant. There we see the wire frame and the
balance cock, which he skeletonized for a better view. Following a tradition from Glashuette, gold chains holding the jewels in place and secured with three screws. Triple screwed, yes. He also did the classic Glashuette ‚Sonnenschliff‘ pattern on his old lathe. The small gold weights and the bimetal
balance wheel in themselves are technical marvels, as is the cage around it. Sonja, can you explain to us the meaning of a tourbillon? Why are there tourbillons at all? Watchmakers have always been searching for a more exact watch, and to eliminate all sources of error. The unbalance is a great source of error. It is the balance wheel, the spring, and the
entire escapement system, which really is
the heart of the watch. So in order to compensate the unbalance,
which is always present, they took the whole escapement system – balance wheel, balance spring, lever, escape wheel – and built it into a cage which must be as light and delicate as possible. The whole thing rotates around itself once a minute and thus compensates the unbalance.
The basic structure of this pocket watch is based on a design from Glashuette, isn’t it?
Correct. We had a visit to our shop from Mr.
Friedrich Leutert, one of those great special watchmakers who made tourbillons
at the watchmakers school in Glashuette. That was an incredible, unique honor. So Mr. Leutert came to us with his
tourbillon and so my father had this idea: “I should try to make one myself.” He started with the cage, then he made the compensating balance. Eventually he presented it to us and to Mr.Leutert. He gave the second hand wheel some impetus and the watch, well the tourbillon cage, started to move, to oscillate. And then we had an oscillation party. This is certainly the most impressive familyheirloom that I have ever seen.
Not only have the casing and dial been
designed incredibly aesthetically, but it also marks a high quality technical improvement. Yes, the watch only deviates by two
seconds a week. Thank you Sonja. This was a great moment for all you watch and technical enthusiasts out there. One understands that pocket watches have their very own fascination. A wrist watch can be worn, you can swim
with it, and so on. But a pocket watch can be admired. Today we showed some Bachmann &
Scher history. Thank you very much, Sonja.
This was also a fascinating insight into your family’s history. Please subscribe to our channel. There are still many exciting topics to
come. Take care. See you soon.