Piece by piece. How COVID-19 is currently affecting production.

We seem to have a decent rep’ for transparency and we very much aim to honour that tradition, especially now… Factories are shutting down, public movement has been locked down and even our most basic liberties seem to be being withdrawn.

This piece aims to keep Backers informed of exactly where we’re at, at this moment in time, with EVERY aspect of production. It’s a ‘factual piece’, so I’ll do my best to avoid too much editorial floweryness.

1/ The metal assets.

The base metal was bought on ‘day one’ and shipped to our foundry. The job was queued but has not been executed. The foundry is now closed until further notice. We will be filming this process, so you’ll know it’s happened when the video goes live.

2/ The movements

Sellita are doing a great job. They have told us to expect delays, but are fulfilling as many orders as they can. The movements are pretty much ready to ship, the only hold up we really face is due to the fact that we have the date ‘at six’, which makes us a ‘custom order’. They’re in regular contact and we can’t foresee any issues here.

3/ Standard indices

These are an ‘off the shelf’ part and are being imported from Hong Kong. – All going smoothly here. We’ll be luming and assembling in-house, so we’re just waiting for them to arrive. Not exactly a large box either.

4/ Dials

Initially we were going to have them injection moulded and printed in Shenzhen, but there are significant problems over there right now.

In the end, we had them laser cut and milled in good old blighty… There are Printers ‘out there’, but they’re closed now and we believe that we can achieve an excellent standard by simply buying the correct printer anyway. In fact, having more control here will allow us to QC this aspect and there’s a large margin for error as ‘do overs’ are on ‘our own time’.

5/ Special Indices

These were to be outsourced locally for laser CNC and brushing. The supplier is now closed unfortunately, so we’ve bought a laser cutter and a desktop brushing wheel… We’d still rather outsource this to an expert, but thought it prudent to make inroads so we potentially have a plan B (the same equipment can be used for engraving the case back). **NOTE** We have hired a CNC consultant to help project manage this work and will only undertake it if it becomes absolutely necessary.

6/ Measuring and pre-production

Obviously we got our measurements pretty much spot on before the campaign even finished, but as an extra ‘layer’ of reassurance, we laser scanned the internals of a VERY well made, and VERY well known dive watch (possibly THE definitive ETA powered dive watch), just to check that we were absolutely on the money with measurements. This process has negated the need for multiple pre-release reworks and makes up some time that we’ve lost through the supply chain.

7/ CAD/CAM/G CODE and CNC production

This was also 99% ‘there’ when we funded. The latest amendments have been made to the plotting code (based on the last ‘step’) and milling/cutting will go ahead as soon as it’s business as usual.

8/ Crown tubes

These are coming straight from Switzerland as an ‘off the shelf’ part. Bought and paid for; we’re now awaiting delivery.

9/ Gaskets

Our Supplier has put a 12 week delay on these, so we’re probably going to have to pay through the nose for them through a UK distributor like Cousins. Not hugely expensive anyway, but having a few bits of rubber hold up distribution is a risk we’re not prepared to take.

10/ Engraving

As previously mentioned, we’re about to start experimenting in-house with our own machinery. It’s just a failsafe, but we feel better by being proactive. Normal UK industrial restrictions apply otherwise.

11/ Finishing and brushing

Our CNC Supplier will do the basic deburring (so there’s a wait on that), but all brushing and beading will be executed by our guy Dan, who makes custom jewellery for Tiffany & Co (I shit you not). There’s nobody better at it, so if you want to console yourself with SOMETHING whilst we’re waiting for the world to get back to normal, let it be THIS.

12/ ION Anodising

Thankfully, this is a one man band and his services have already been secured. This remains an unaffected service.

This is what we know so far. We are expecting further updates before the end of the week on the following components.

Sapphire Crystals
Lume Compound
Leather Straps
Canvas Straps
Custom Clasps
Screws & Clamps
Standard Presentation Rolls
Fancy Boxes
Bezel Inserts
Movement Holders
Springs and balls
Printed Books
Dog tags
Some tools