Saturday, February 16, 2013

Goal Setting, Achievement...and Building A Watch

This is about goals.
Why build a watch?
My watch will look a little different. 
I think it would be cool to wear a watch I make myself. That's all, and that's enough.
Don't laugh too hard, but I won't blame you if you want to laugh a little. I will succeed in this endeavor.

I'm writing this on a computer I built. Computers are bigger than watches, but they're no more complicated than building a watch. I didn't make the mother board in this computer and I don't plan to make my own watch movement, so I'll confess I'm skipping the hard part of making a watch.

I think (and I could be wrong) that if I can build my own computer, I should be able to build a watch.

I have a habit of success when it comes to goals I set for myself. I was an Eagle Scout by the age of fourteen. I wrote (so far) ten books and published them.

Now I want to build a watch. Yeah. I can do this.

How? I'm not sure...yet.

I started collecting watches a couple of years ago. I have several of them now. I have some Chinese mechanical watches, and they work pretty well. I have a couple of Seiko automatic watches and they work great! I don't need another watch, but I have the watch bug so I'll probably keep buying them as I roll along this path called life.

This is kind of an evolutionary path for me. The Chinese watches I bought all came with cheap straps of a doubt-able material they call "pleather" or "man-made leather". Junk. I got in the habit of going to the local jewelry store and having them put new straps on my watches as soon as I got them.  I've said all I mean to say about those experiences.

The other day I ordered a watch tool kit and now I'll be able to change the straps on my watches by myself. I have a watch that needs a new quartz movement, and I'll order one and install it myself. I have another watch that came with a cheap clasp and the bracelet is too large. With my new tool kit, I'll be able to replace the clasp and remove the link myself. It'll be fun and satisfying.

Well shoot, I thought to myself... Why stop there?

All I need to do is buy a watch case, a dial, a movement, a strap, assemble it, and it will be mine. I'll have a Steele. Most people won't know I'm walking around knowing what time it is wearing a watch I built myself. I'm not doing it for recognition. I'm doing it just to see if I can.

I've given some thought to how I'm going to go about it. This is the planning stage of goal achievement. We know that what: I want to wear a watch I built myself. I'm giving myself a year to do it.

  1. Determine a plan of action.
  2. Learn how by tinkering with watches I already have.
  3. Learn how by reading tutorials online.
  4. Order the parts piecemeal as my budget allows. That will take some time, and that's okay. I have other watches to wear, and I want to make myself a nice watch.
  5. Assemble the watch parts and make sure the darn thing works before showing it off.
There are several decisions I'll have to make along the way, and it will be fun doing the research to do them. For example, do I want to buy expensive materials as I go, so when I get done I'll have a better watch than I could afford to buy already assembled? I'm leaning that way, but a wee bit o' caution is entering my mind. If I do that and I fail, I'll have a bunch of high-priced pieces parts that aren't good for anything. On the other hand, if I buy cheap parts and finish successfully, I'll have a unique, but cheap watch. Nah.
When I make clothes for my wife (which I do often), I use quality materials. Always have, even when I was just learning to sew. By the way, I know more about watches now than I knew about sewing when I started making clothes for her. I don't think I want to go to the trouble of building myself a cheap watch even when I'm learning.

On the other hand, I don't think I'll spend the hundred bucks or more that it would take to put a Swiss movement in my watch. I don't have a spare hundred bucks around to play with in this experiment. I can get a very good movement for under forty bucks, so I think that's the way I will go.

I found a couple of sites that sell watch parts. It's fun looking at their selections and playing (in my mind) designing the watch. I want a white face. I want the date. I want three hands: hour, minute, and second. That leads to a lot of choices. I'll have fun poking around deciding what I want.

It's kind of lay-away the hard way. I'll buy the case first. Stainless steel, probably. Then I'll buy the dial. Then I'll buy the crystal. Then the movement, then the strap. Lots of choices. I'll build the thing in my head a hundred times before I get it assembled.

Some guys build their own cars, or refurbish an antique. This is probably a lot like that. It's a disease I wouldn't wish on anyone, but one I'm glad I have.

...I'll post pictures when I'm done. Don't hold your breath. This is going to take a while.

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