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  • Writer's pictureReuben Schoots

October Newsletter 2023

Dear valued readers,

I pour absolutely everything I have into my work and then some... This month I was feeling particularly inspired to share some words on my philosophy, how and why I make watches, and to share something a little different from the usual posts of making components.

Some words from Reuben

Now onto case and crown making!

I made it a requirement that the Series 2 case was designed as slim as possible, without compromising the desired 3D geometry that exhibited throughout the watch or the structural integrity of the case itself. I also required that the case protect the movement and dial from the external atmosphere, to increase the lifespan of the mechanical components, through eliminating the ingress of oxygen or moisture into the watch case. In doing so we can preserve the various component finishes, eliminate the risk of corrosion, and increase the lifespan of the lubricating oils and greases that are used throughout the movement. To achieve this, the case required some rather tricky features to be machined into it to allow seating and sealing of various o-rings and gaskets. These features are machined with tiny and fragile tooling that have a 0.5mm diameter or less.

Machining 316L stainless steel is tough work on both man and machine; the material is particularly unforgiving and will break expensive tools without much effort. Specialist tooling and careful work are required. Why bother working with this 316L stainless steel? I do believe that it is a superior material choice for casemaking. It is hard, very tough, quite resistant to scratching, completely resistant to corrosion, and can be polished to a beautiful lustre.

Finalising the prototype case and crown involved an iterative process of working through and deciding on the tooling to be used (in the end, 27 unique tools were required to complete the job), reworking the technical drawings, programming and reprogramming the machines, working on the manual watchmaker's lathe, measuring on the optical measuring machine, and test-assembling all components to ensure proper function. This process was repeated until the desired result was achieved.

I finished last month's newsletter with these words:

“What's Next? I will be focusing on making the production cases and crowns. All of my machines are set up for the task, and I am ready for the small production run. I have a real spring in my step, feeling as though a major achievement has been made getting to this stage.”

Let’s take a look at how the plan rolled out.

The task at hand since producing the final prototype case and crown: repeat the finalised processes exactly, multiple times until all of the final production pieces are made.

The case is made up of 3 main machined parts (as well as 2 sapphire crystals and 4 o-ring gaskets): the bezel, case body, and caseback. The crown is also made up of 3 main machined parts (as well as an o-ring gasket).


The first step in production was to design and make custom fixturing to hold the case components accurately in the machine. Until now, and for the prototyping phase, I did not spend the extra time to make a custom fixture.

A unique fixture I designed and made to machine the front side of the bezels.

Custom fixture made to hold the base body material (making of this fixture can be seen in one of my recent Instagram posts; links are at the bottom of this newsletter).

Material mid way through machining - starting to look like watch cases!

Here is a photo of all the case components laid out. Note that the crown components are fully assembled.

Here are the production components assembled after machining.


Here are photos of one of the last machining operations for the crowns - The crowns ready to receive their o ring retaining washers.

Turning the radius profile by hand on the watchmaker's lathe.

Turning the o-ring retaining washer flush with the crown body.

Before and after the final machining operation.

All crown machining operations complete.

I am very pleased with how these have turned out. It was a process of overcoming challenges and took me many months of planning, designing and prototyping combined with years of learning. What begun as a mere fantasy and a dream is now a reality, case and crown making is now entirely in-house. Time for a quick celebration of this milestone.

I gave a quick polish (not final finishing) on the prototype case and crown, to see how it looks with a bit of a shine. A short video for you to watch is here:

Now the cases and crowns are ready to receive final finishing and polishing; however, this will have to wait, as first I have other parts to make!

Instagram Posts

Case making fixture making

Case back and bezel making

Crown final machining operation

What’s Next?

With the case and crown machining process complete, it is now time to move on. This month I hope to achieve a mix of prototyping some components from the dial side of the watch, for which I am very excited. If time permits, I will also machine one of the remaining movement components.

If you have any questions or comments we would love to hear from you. Please reach out to

Thank you,

Reuben Schoots


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