DIY watch v. 1.00

The main objective of the project was to pay homage to this watch:

Jaeger-Lecoultre Mark XI
<click pics for XL version>

I measured those (and other) photos, recorded the dimensions, then whipped up a CAD model:

Unigraphics screen shot

Obviously I did not try to exactly duplicate the Mark XI. Note the crown protector boss and the decorative polygon on the back side. Also, I increased the basic case diameter by 3%, the better to fit my Wal-Mart ebauches, and lengthened the lugs by 6%, to accentuate the 'long lug' look of the Mark XI.

Next I switched to the CAM module, drove cutting tool paths, and generated a CNC program. Now for the fun part! I machined the cases from billet on a 4-axis Mori-Seiki CNC vertical machining center, on a Sunday at work. The case on the left is 6LV Titanium, on the right 17-4 PH Stainless Steel:

Version 1.00

Flipped over. Note the Ti case on left uses a screw-in caseback. This is the case I eventually used in the automatic version, several years later. On the right is the SS version with regular (snap-in) caseback.


For the movements, I used cheapie Watch-It brand watches from Wal-Mart. Bought a whole cart full of  'em. Literally! Well.. 25, anyway. The lady at the checkout did a major double-take, and I tell her "EVERYone gets a watch this Christmas!Smile She would've never understood the truth: That, to me, these were simply ebauches, to be gutted of their movements, crystals, etc., and placed into custom CNC-machined cases! My comment was truthful, as I did indeed give away most of the finished watches as Christmas presents.

The seven parts

The parts that go into the watch. If the having the fewest number of components is the real hallmark of a sophisticated watch, as I've heard it said, then I must count this as a great success. Wink I claim seven parts: Case, crystal, ebauche, movement holder ring, case back, stem/crown, and crown tube.

Here's an assembled version 1.06:

Version 1.06

Shown on one of the great folded-link titanium bracelets from

Next - RickyWatch v. 1.20

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