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How Watch Manufacturers Might Help the Watchmaker and the Customer

From American Horologist magazine, April, 1936

How Watch Manufacturers Might Help the Watchmaker and the Customer

IF THE makers of watches realized what an annoyance pulled out stems are to the watchmakers, and what an irritation to the customer, they would do something about it. The cause of this trouble is often just a badly designed detent screw. The shoulder of this screw must be long enough to go well through the plate, so that the detent, when screwed tight, will not rub on the plate and become loose.

In the matter of pendants, crowns and bows of pocket watches, the case designers sometimes sacrifice all the practical requirements of these parts for style. These features are sometimes so freakish that it is almost impossible either to wind the watch fully, or to set it.

The crowns on wrist watches are also often entirely out of proportion to the work required of them. This little gadget is the only part of the entire machine that the consumer knows anything about or has any contact with. It should, therefore, perform its function easily and safely and stay put.
Pardon the watchmaker, Mr. Manufacturer, when he suggests that, whenever you put a pair of hands on your product, something besides appearance is bound to be expected of it.

And now about wrist watch cases.  There the watchmaker surely needs help.

He has put in many hours because of bad casing. The opening for the stem is often large enough to admit two stems, leaving a space around the stem that is a veritable dust trap. An accumulation of lint and dirt, through this opening, often stops a small watch a short time after it has been overhauled. That means another job for the watchmaker, and without pay, and a bawling out from the customer besides. When this occurs perhaps two or three times, it is the movement manufacturer, as well as the jeweler, who gets the criticism. The consumer does not know that the case maker is really to blame. He knows the movement maker's name and, of course, holds him responsible. A little better case fitting inspection would help a lot, Mr. Manufacturer.

Another thing that provokes watchmaker profanity is that in wrist watches the movement is often forced so tightly into the case, that it is almost impossible to get it out. One wonders if it was put in with a power press or a pile driver.

To lift it out by the stem, in the regular way, is pretty sure to break the stem. So there is nothing to do but pry it out, and that is really cruelty to the movement.

Not only are the edges of the plate and bridges badly marred, but there is a constant danger of slipping and mutilating the dial or breaking the staff or other parts. Just a little more accuracy in measurements and care in fitting will help this situation immensely.

In the matter of cord attachments, there is room for improvement. They should be easily and amply adjustable, and be made of non-corrosive metal.

The safety of watches with silk or leather cord bracelets depend on secure fastenings and a good snap. The attachments should be made large enough to accommodate wire, or other wrappings, on the cord ends to prevent unraveling and loosening.

Many so-called "easily adjustable," "cam operated" and "snap shut" cord fastenings are easily adjustable, but can hardly be called fastenings after a few months of service. There are satisfactory attachments made, and are well worth the slight difference in cost by the safety and satisfaction they insure.

And now, Mr. Watch Manufacturer, it is hoped that you will accept the spirit of co-operation intended in these few suggestions. For after all, we are striving for the same goal, customer satisfaction. 

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