Damas: technique

It is a quest: to make a watch that is « above time », out of fashion and trends. A piece that you can wear twenty years later with the same happiness, and that keeps the same mystery.

The idea for the watch came first from the material, because I had seen knives in damascus steel. Damascus gives an organic touch to the coldest of steels. It is always different depending on the angle of the light. It was perfect to make a unique watch.

So there was the choice of the shape. As the drawings didn’t show much, I decided to make some prototypes.

Then came the problems of machining: how could I make a watch case with the crude tools I had at my disposal? This gave rise to a lot of wrangling: the machining of the case support took twice as long as the case itself. Because this case cannot look like the classic watches with a dial insert: it has to be machined in one piece directly into the ingot so that the damask lines run through the case on both sides. This means that the dial is an integral part of the case. And as it is only 3 tenths of a millimetre thick, the last passes of the lathe are done in apnea… A single mistake made at this point inevitably translates into a week’s work lost, and all the swearing that goes with it. The« skeleton » watch is just such a mistake.

The last works are only formalities: machining of the casing circle, assembly, fitting of the hands, glass and back. The movement is a Swiss automatic calibre (no quartz)

Cutting the raw Damascus steel ingot

Installation on the machining support

Turning the internal cavity and the dial (using an old 10mm milling cutter machined on purpose, the best tool I could find.

Cutting of the lugs

Milling the fasteners

Turning the part over

Turning the top curve and the dial

The first blanks have been made for some time now. They are only prototypes and each one has its little defects. I wear them on my wrist for a while, then I machine a new case to correct and improve what is possible.

Here is the very first of my steel damask watch prototypes