There are several steps in the watch manufacturing process, such as burnishing
, electroplating, numerical control, etc. Do you know what these steps are? Let me introduce them to you one by one.


Burnishing is a process that work-hardens a metal surface. It is often used on pivots to increase their durability and reduce friction.


CNC (Computer Numerical Control) is a method of controlling machining equipment (mills, lathes) with a computer. This allows for higher repeatable precision, as a human operator is not needed, except to start the job and monitor progress. CNC enables modern watch brands to produce large series of complex and precise movements that would have previously been very labor intensive.


Deep reactive-ion etching is a fabrication process used to create parts from silicon wafers. Through lithography, a mask is made that determines the outlines of the part shapes on the silicon wafer. The wafer is then plasma etched. DRIE was originally developed for MEMS devices (the accelerometer in your smart phone is one) but recently has begun being used for horological applications due to its precision and the material properties of silicon.


Electroplating uses electrical current to deposit a thin layer of metal onto a workpiece. In a watch, this is done for both aesthetic and functional reasons.


Riveting is a method of attaching two metal workpieces in a permanent fashion. In a watch movement, wheels and pinions are riveted together.


Milling is the process of cutting metal using a mill. A mill holds the workpiece still and uses a rotating cutting tool, called an end-mill.


Turning is the process of cutting metal using a lathe. A lathe rotates the workpiece rather than the cutting tool.


Tempering is the process of slowly softening a metal by exposing it to heat. A byproduct of tempering is a layer of oxidation on the workpiece. This produces the blue color often seen on watch screws.

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