Growing Rubies For Watches

Quartz and battery operated watches are mass produced and many can be very cheap but the art of real mechanical hand crafted watchmaking still exists with some stunningly attractive and accurate examples.

The sky is the limit on the price of some of these and there is currently one manufacturer who regularly sells watches for over four million dollars.

Twenty odd years ago in my job as recycler of component parts from old computers I discovered there was a small company in a Swiss Alpine village that would buy some ruby guide blocks from a few hundred old dot matrix printers we were dismantling.

In a top quality dot matrix printer there is a small red ruby block with up to 24 pin holes in it to guide and control the tiny print pins. The block is a quarter the size of a fingernail so with eight hundred of these in my rucksack I flew to Geneva and caught the train to Lausanne and another to the village.

At twenty eight pounds apiece the day trip was as enjoyable as it was lucrative. Two other points stand out from that trip, the first was being taken to a room where I saw and had explained to me the art of growing synthetic rubies. On a table stood a three foot high blood red ruby tower which had taken months to grow using aluminium oxide and smaller amounts of one or two other elements.

The second surprise was looking out of the first floor office window and seeing a small office block across the road with all the windows blocked from view. What caught the eye were the twenty or so cars in the car park which were all the most expensive cars in the world!

Curiosity made me ask my contact what was made in that office or factory and he replied watches. With a genuine curiosity about the manufacturers name I asked but he said I would never have heard of it as it has never been advertised. The annual production was less than fifty watches a year and the waiting list was several years long.

This may have been the manufacturer who makes four million dollar watches and would certainly account for the several million pounds worth of cars in the staff car park!

The demand for quality watches still exists today and this is a sign that there are still rich enough people about as well as those with discerning taste. Not all have good taste and some expensive watches as well as cheap watches can look like a lump of ostentatious bling.

As long as there are decently made timepieces there will always be a need for watch repairs and there will always be a need for artisans in that line of work. watch battery replacement near me

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