New Dickens Hot Off the Press
4 January, 2013, Clink Street, London
Our first watch movement, The Dickens - featuring seven independent bidirectional pointers, ambidextrous action and optical interface - is finally in production.
First, the circuit boards are built in panels of 16 and populated with around fifty components each - the quartz crystal, a thermistor right next to it for temperature compensation, power supply control, pusher switches, optics, and, at the heart, two microcontrollers that regulate time and move the hands. Then, the motors are added; the battery shafts and clip are soldered in; the motors are tested, the production firmware programmed and the crystal trimmed for temperature calibration. Finally the support shell is screwed into place, which holds the movement in place ensuring perfect alignment with the dial.
Over a hundred components in the finished unit, thirty different manufacturing processes and probably twenty newly inspired parts created, re-created, and re-created again by us until they are perfect. Or nearly perfect, at least - the buck stops with me and I'm constantly asking myself, "What have I forgotten?" Well, I forgot to order the coin cell batteries. For a few of days we were using a couple of AA cells to test and program the movements.
But when you get it right, it's miraculous - it practically sucks itself together, wanting to be made. And made in Clink Street, London.
We plan an initial launch range of four versions of the movement, No.1 - No.4. I'll let you know more about those as a little closer to the launch date. It's named the Dickens, of course, after the author, who lived down the road in Lant Street in Victorian times while his father was in the Marshalsea debtor's prison, and during which time he discovered the gritty underside of London which made his writing so rich.