JewelryCycle.com - Open source, educational jewelry.
A few things that are special about the Open Watch:

A mechanical watch that is comfortable, beautiful, and easy to read. With an open dial that allows you to admire the beauty within. All designs and plans are open source. Assembled by me in Northern California. From handmade and imported parts.

NO BATTERIES REQUIRED EVER

Batteries are ubiquitous, and contribute to an enormous negative environmental and social impact. Not just the manufacturing and disposal, but the mining of lithium and cobalt. Keep batteries out of the landfills. Don’t support slave mining of heavy metals. These watches are powered by you.

OPEN SOURCE & MODULAR

The open watch is made of 8 replaceable parts. The movement, the dial, the hands, the spacer, the case, the crown, the back, and the band. Videos are available for self maintenance and repairs. Parts and tools a available through the shop. All designs and plans plus video tutorials and how tos are open source and freely available.

SELF REPAIRABLE & MAINTAINED

An watchmaker (horologist) might not be available to you if your watch should break, or it needs to be cleaned and oiled.  Often they charge minimum of $100 per visit. Well worth it! However, with the open watch you can maintain and repair it yourself, Videos are available for self maintenance and repairs. Parts and tools a available through the shop. All designs and plans plus video tutorials and how tos are open source and freely available.

WATER RESISTANT

The case of the Open Watch has a rubber washer on the back, and on the winding crown. This prevents accidental brushes with water from corroding your movement. Please do not swim or wash dishes while wearing your watch!

OVERWIND PROTECTION

You can see all the way through, plus all the moving parts. Glass on both sides. A common way a mechanical watch breaks is if it’s overwound. With my open design, you can actually see if you’re winding your main spring too tightly. How to wind your watch video available here.

SHOCK PROTECTION

The balance wheel on the Open Watch’s movement comes with a modified incablock shock protection system. The spindle points are the weakest part of the watch so you need the extra protection should you drop your watch. More info here. Please try not to drop your watch!

HAND FABRICATED STERLING SILVER DIAL

Sterling silver dial is hand smelted, rolled, cut, stamped, patinaed, polished, and installed by me in my California workshop. Antiques with age.

How to and video for creating your own sterling silver dial is here.

HAND STAMPED NUMBERS

The numbers are hand stamped with a custom adjustable jig. The design produces a center radial pattern. More uniform than typical numbering. Liver of sulfur is applied to blacken the numbers making a high contrast against the sterling silver. Then it is given a matte finish or semi-polish so as not to reflect too much light. How to make your own stamping jig is available here.

STANDARDIZED MOVEMENT

The open watch uses the ubiquitous and very good tongji or chinese standard movement. This movement is readily accessible to most at low cost. Thus parts are interchangeable, and easily acquired. Making repairing your open watch less dependent on a particular supplier.

17 & 21 JEWELS

17 & 21 polished synthetic rubies (corundum) are used in the Open Watch’s movement for various critical joints in the manual and automatic respectively. The second hardest terrestrial mineral. This allows the the metal part to turn or contact  the polished low friction surface of the jewel with minimal wear to either.

SCRATCH RESISTANT GLASS

Hard mineral glass is used for the case glass in front and back.

LUMINOUS HANDS

Hands will glow in the dark for a short time after the lights go out.

Buy a Custom Open Watch

I would love to build you a custom Open Watch!

4000 variations! Choose between 2 sizes, 2 movement types, 2 movement finishes, 5 case finishes, 5 crown finishes, 5 hand finishes, and 4 watch bands.

SWEET! DESIGN AND ORDER MY WATCH.

Examples

Some Open Watches I’ve built.

Gold Case

Gold Movement

Rose Gold Case

Silver Movement

Antique Bronze Case

Silver Movement

Black Case

Gold Movement

Silver Case

Gold Movement

Gold Case

Gold Movement

Silver/Gold Case

Gold Movement

Silver/Gold Case

Silver Movement

View my full portfolio!

Want to check out most of the watches and jewelry I’ve built?

Jewelry Portfolio
My Story

I’ve always loved jewelry.

When I was little I’d wander into my neighbor’s tiny jewelry studio, and watch her work. Often she would give me a piece of copper to pound on.

The Catalyst

After a devastating breakup with the love of my life, and girlfriend of 5 years, I traveled to the city of Taxco. In the State of Guerrero, Mexico. I went to overwhelm my mind with new things, expand my horizons, and specifically to learn spanish, and silversmithery. Taxco is considered the silver capital of this continent.

The Connection

Through couchsurfing.org I found a place to stay with Efrain Balbas and his family. Efrain owns a restaurant, and the day I arrived he introduced me to Uli Brix and Dani, who own a jewelry workshop right next door to the restaurant.

The invitation

They invited me to come by the next day, and check it out. The next morning I rang the bell and was buzzed in. I climbed two stories down the cramped rickety iron spiral staircase.

I talked and laughed with all the people diligently soldering, drying, stamping, oxidizing, polishing, stone setting, and much more. After a while Uli told me to come down to his own personal hell.

My Story

Training

We both climbed down two more stories, all the while the temperature raising. At the bottom the room was jam packed with all kinds of heavy machinery. Lathes, presses, and many I did not recognize. I could barely hear Uli talking because in a corner a huge propane torch was blasting the shiny contents of a crucible. After explaining and demonstrating the smelting process Uli told me it was my turn. I added 2 kilos of pure silver grain into the still hot and smoking crucible, then the small amount of copper. I then positioned the torch and smoked cigarettes and joked with Uli until the silver was liquid. Every once and a while he would toss in some borax and stir it a little. Sweating, and with my heart pounding, I picked up the torch, grabbed the crucible with the long tongs and attempted to smoothly move and pour the molten silver into the mold, all the while holding the torch hot and steady. My arm shook because of the heat and weight. I smelted eight kilos of silver that day. Uli gave me a shard of crucible that had borax and silver built up on the side. The rest of the week I spent making that shard into my first silver piece.

My first piece

Sterling silver. Crucible with silver and borax buildup.

My Story

Homecoming

I came home with knowledge, experience, tools, cut gems, silver, and built a studio to work in. Through a friend I returned my love’s ring back to her as the centerpiece to a silver necklace. She accepted it even though her partner at the time wanted her to throw it into the ocean. Seven years passed.  My love came back to me wearing the necklace. Just like the song she sang to me when she left. Now we are engaged, and together we crafted our engagement rings.

360° STUDIO TOUR

Sterling silver. Manzanita heartwood. Cobalt heat fused green topaz.

My Story

Mechanical Watches

My first watch was a Timex Indiglo. So I was raised after the quartz crisis of the 1970s. That was when battery powered quartz watches almost completely overtook mehcanical watches in the global market. Quartz watches are amazing too, but I never fell in love with a watch until I opened up my first mechanical one. My mom’s mom passed away, and my mom received her grandmother’s watch. My great grandmother. She loves it, but it didn’t tick. I told her I would look into what it would take to fix it. Boy was I surprised with the beauty of what I saw inside. Later, my fiance encouraged me to buy a broken Elgin pocketwatch at a consignment shop. As I researched, I found a practice of putting glass on both sides and “skeletonizing” the movement. Basically removing unnecessary material so more light can shine through. That started the search I’ve been on for a watch that not only is comfortable and easy to read, but also allows you to admire the beauty within.

“I believe in maximizing the benefits of technology while minimizing the costs and mitigating the harm to people and our planet.”

Technology Background

My entire adult life, I’ve worked in the technology industry. Specifically for nonprofits. I fell completely in love with Linux and the open source community early on. I love being able to work on my own software, and ask my community for help when I can’t figure something out. I believe information should be free. That inspired in a big part this project. The open watch is not only modular, but all videos for assembling and repairing are available here on my How-tos page. I also supply all tools and parts in my shop. The custom stamping jig I created in making The Open Watch will be available, and the plans freely distributed. If you make yourself an Open Watch, feel free to donate to the project.

Serving nonprofits in Nevada County for 17 years.
LEARN MORE

Praise

Who loves the Open Watch?

I love my Open Watch. I check what time it is way more often, but usually just end up admiring the beauty.

Jeffrey Hein

Maker

It’s beautiful and unique.

Cassandra Lee

My fiance

=]

The Open Pocket Watch

The Open Watch’s brother

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