Micro-moves in watchmaking

Everything has a purpose in horology, even if it’s not apparent to the untrained eye.

Becoming a watchmaker isn’t something to be taken lightly. It involves serious study, hands-on training and 3 000 hours of classroom benchwork. Theory covers micromechanics, advanced mechanical and electronic watch theory, manufacturing, maintenance, horology history…

It also involves a curious mind. So IWC is lucky to have the curious and skilled Kornelius Kurzenberger as one of their watchmakers. When Kurzenberger was growing up, his father had a mechanical watch, and he was fascinated by the fact that it didn’t have a battery, like his Game Boy. How could it work? How could it keep time?

So Kurzenberger undertook the study of finding the answers. He now spends his days making and repairing watches with the highest principles of fine engineering and meticulous craftsmanship at IWC Schaffhausen in Northern Switzerland.

But for a few days in October, when Kurzenberger swapped the snow for the sun, to take a few IWC, Charles Greig Jewellers and architecture and design firm SAOTA clients through a watchmaking masterclass in Camps Bay, Cape Town, and I joined in.

In watchmaking, everything has a purpose, we discovered, even when it’s not apparent to the untrained eye. It requires the ability to see the whole, then break it down into parts, only to reassemble everything flawlessly.

Every move – and we’re working with micro-parts here (a total of 167 made up the watch) – has to be based on precision, as a mere fraction-of-an-inch misalignment could cause a valuable watch to fail or lose time. Over to you, Kurzenberger, and IWC.

For more information visit IWC’s website.

Photography by Christine LR Photography

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