Spotted: An Exploded Rolex and a 1750 Pocket Watch

I find watchmaking wildly interesting, that shouldn’t be a surprise. Yet, I know surprisingly little about the subject. Sure, I understand how movements and complications work, but I wouldn’t even on my best day try open a watch and twist a few screws.

My Rolex Datejust needed a service, and instead of sending it to Rolex HQ, I wanted to see first hand what happened with my precious little 1601. I got in touch with Erik, a freelance watchmaker. Erik has been in the business for 33 years, and has followed countless trainings at Rolex, Audemars Piguet, Cartier… Watches have no secrets for him, the guy basically is a walking encyclopedia.

Erik was kind enough to invite me to his workshop. He showed me one of the biggest privately owned collections of spare parts in the world.

Finding spare parts for discontinued watches is always a pain in the a**. That’s why he has been stockpiling spare parts for over 30 years, resulting in an impressive collection.

This is why I was so excited to be involved in the service. Erik showed me every step of the way.

This got me wondering: if watches have no secrets for you, and you know them insideout, what do you choose to wear?

The watch a watchmaker wears HAS to be good, right?

Erik: Well, I actually don’t really wear watches on a daily basis, especially not while working. It gets in the way while working.

I’m more passionate about watchmaking than about watches themselves. The movement is what I love the most, that is where my passion lies. Working on a movement and wearing a watch are two totally different things in my opinion. Not every mechanic is a car collector, right?

I don’t really follow the latest and newest models brands release either. Except if it involves a new movement of course. A new color for a bezel or dial just doesn’t excite me.

I do have a few pocket watches I cherish. As I said, I’m intrigued by movements.

I have a few very interesting pocket watches, even some from around 1750. The fact that people were able to make such pieces of art with such limited tools in the 1700’s blows me away. Those watches were in ticking when the steam engine was invented, and even before Mozart or Beethoven were born. Imagine the things these watches must have seen the last 270 years.

If you live in Belgium/Holland, you can contact Erik at Info@erikdiels.be

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