Αποστολέας Θέμα: habring watch  (Αναγνώστηκε 1728 φορές)

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Αποσυνδεδεμένος george_

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habring watch
« στις: Μάρτιος 07, 2007, 01:43:22 μμ »

Richard was born into an environment full of watches. While not a watchmaker himself, his father was successfully selling parts, such as wheels, pinions, tools and straps to watchmakers in entire Austria. During his tours, he was often accompanied by young Richard, who felt the fascination of the tiny mechanics as soon as he was tall enough to look onto the worktables' surfaces. For him, becoming a watchmaker was a logical step in his life.

Far to the North, in a region we affectionally dubbed the "Austrian Siberia", when we were trained there as young soldiers, amidst forests, swamps, granite rocks and old ruins telling from a distant, more glorious past, lies the tiny village of Karlstein. Of course it has a medieval castle. But more important for us watch enthusiasts, Karlstein is a place with long horological tradition: Already in 1680, clocks were made there, with the production reaching its peak with 140,000 clocks in 1840. In 1874, Austria's oldest, and nowadays only dedicated watchmaking school was founded, now combined with a secondary boarding school.

There, young people, better: children start working with watch movements, while at the same time learning the standard curriculum of modern secondary schools. I can only imagine how tough it must have been for Richard to spend several years in the cold Waldviertel, far from his sunny home. But the training was good, and already there, he developed his massive interest in tourbillons. Together with some fellow apprentices, he swore to build his own tourbillon as soon as possible. However, as one of his former colleagues from school told me just recently, Richard was the only one persistant enough to succeed.

After school, Richard pursued his interest in old timepieces, when working for a watchmaker in Tyrol, restoring a large number of fine vintage watches and clocks. The compulsory military service, however, marked a cession of his activities, and after its end, he had to realize that in Austria, there is not much need for trained and highly motivated watchmakers, so the quest for a new job became a rather frustrating issue.

He wrote dozens of applications, also to the famous watch manufacturers in Switzerland. However, most of them made a good command of the French language mandatory, which unfortunately had not been part of the watchmaking school’s curriculum. Only IWC replied and invited him for an interview. Richard saddled his old car and made the ten hours drive to Schaffhausen with high hopes, but somehow, things did not go well. While he was eager to speak about new ideas, toubillons and other high horology concepts, his interview partner seemingly had more interest in a watchmaker for routine service and repair activities. Massively disappointed, Richard returned home, and even had an accident with his old car.

As it is sometimes the case, life then took an unexpected turn: As it was common practice, the applicant’s travel expenses were refunded by the company. When Richard sent his fuel bills to IWC, the company’s president, Günter Blümlein happened to find the letter, together with the complete file Richard had sent to Schaffhausen when he applied. Therein were all the data about the concepts and especially tourbillons Richard had already made before. Immediately, Blümlein insisted on getting this young man straight back in front of him. Consequently, a brief phone call now changed Richard’s life.

Following his move to Schaffhausen, Richard joined a team of young watchmakers under the liberal leadership of IWC’s legendary chef developer, Kurt Klaus. It was assigned with the development of an innovative split second complication, which could be integrated with the existing chronograph movement, already used in the renown Porsche Design Chronograph. Within a remarkably short time, Richard presented an ingeniously effective design and the base of the "Doppelchronograph”.

This task being finished, the next challenge was the mighty "Destriero Scafusiae” one of the most complicated watches ever made by IWC. Besides the new split second mechanism, perpetual calendar and minute repeater, this magnificent watch should receive another special complication: a tourbillon. Richard was entrusted with the development of a tourbillon that could be integrated without necessitating massive changes of the movement. And again, he resolved the problem within an astonishingly short time. The "Destriero" got its tourbillon, and later, the "Da Vinci", too, was equipped with this development, similarly to the "Portugieser Rattrapante" and the "Da Vinci Rattrapante”, which received Richard's split-second mechanism.

As if split-second chronograph and tourbillon were not enough already, Richard was responsible for yet another milestone in IWC's history: the "Deep One" diving watch, which had a depth meter integrated into the watch case. The development of that special timepiece alone would be worth an own article.

But then, his story took another turn. In Eastern Germany, a new high-end watch brand was born, continuing old traditions: A. Lange & Söhne. This company was founded with money, know-how and people from Switzerland, from IWC and Jaeger LeCoultre. Günter Blümlein now needed a good watchmaker with great organisational skills for building up Lange's technical department and world-wide service network. Richard was his man of choice, and in 1997, he went to Glashütte, even farer north than the cold watchmaking school at Karlstein. However, he found the most perfect way to warm himself up, when he met a beautiful young woman with the equally beautiful name Maria-Kristina, his future wife and partner.

The relationship between Richard and Maria-Kristina never was limited to being a family, and Richard is eager to state that his person is but one half of what "Habring” is today. While Richard always was a marvelous watchmaker, Maria-Kristina now added her organisatorial and management abilities. Above that, she is also massively involved in technical and design decisions.

When after Blümlein’s sudden death the situation changed, both in Schaffhausen and Glashütte, Richard decided to leave Lange in 2002, and together with his wife, went to Vienna, where they both took over the service department of Austria’s most renown watch distributor, Hübner. Richard did all the technical work and trained fellow watchmakers, while Maria-Kristina was responsible for the administration.

From the very beginning, it was clear for both of them, that the production of their own watches was the definite goal they were working towards, and as soon as the situation allowed, they left Vienna and closed the geographical circle, which had begun when as a boy, Richard left for the watchmaking school: They moved into the house of Richard’s parents in Eberndorf in Carinthia, which is where I was visiting them and this article started.

While the small shop barely shows any sign of its prominent, if not horologically famous genius loci, it is still the economical healthy base for Richard’s activities. Especially his father’s business, the distribution of watch parts, watchmaking tools and accessories, is doing well, and is currently transferred to Richard. To enter the small, but brightly lit workshop, one has to find a path through piles of bracelets, straps, screwdrivers and boxes with pins and screws. There I am greeted by Richard, who looks far too young to have such a spectacular chronology of horological achievements. He is a very decent personality, speaking with the soft tone common to the people from Carinthia. Bragging about his abilities is certainly not part of his character, and it sometimes is even difficult to retrieve from him the information I am looking for

Somehow, I was not prepared to the fact that it needs so little sophisticated equipment for building tourbillon watches. Neither there was a computer-controlled milling machine present in the small room, nor some magical black-box. All I can see is a lathe, a drill that can be positioned by coordinates, and an optical projector for checking parts against templates for their accuracy. The rest is in Richard's brain and hands.

Since some time already, his tourbillons underwent an evolutionary process. While the first ones were very traditional, he later recognized that a lot could be done in order to make tourbillons less difficult to service, and less prone to damage. He experimented with different materials for the cages. Gold was excluded, due to its heavy weight and mass inertia. Titanium was good, and tested already during his time at IWC. However, brass proved to offer the best compromise between stability, temperature performance, weight and workability.

A tourbillon cage's first moments: With a (manually guided) lathe the rough shapes are cut from the material

In order to keep the cage's mass small, its diameter was reduced, until it was barely large enough to house the balance wheel. This made it necessary to relocate the screw connections to the sides.

Rough tourbillon cage parts from various materials

To make it brief: at the end, Richard achieved something that had been considered impossible. His tourbillons became real "sports tourbillons", since they were robust enough to withstand all the shocks, bumps and temperature changes that normally happen during the life of a sports watch. Additionally, he claims that any well-trained watchmaker would be fully capable to service his tourbillon. As a consequence, the finish of the parts is adapted to the style of the sports watches they equip: There is no fancy perlage or black-polished shimmer, but a straightly grinded flat finish, with razorsharp edges; not rough, but perfectly executed.

Until now, all of his watches were custom ordered, and mostly based on existing movements. But since almost three years, Maria-Kristina and Richard are working on a new idea, nothing smaller than the launch of their own watch brand. When I visited them, the concept just entered its hot phase. Regarding the brand name, it was intended to make clear from the first moment, that not only "Richard Habring", the man, would be part of it, but also Maria-Kristina, the "good fairy" aside Richard, and the driving force behind many good ideas and designs. Consequently, the brand's name should be "Habring & Habring", which, of course, is a bit too long for all but oversized watches. Thus, the idea for "Habring2" was born.

The "Habring2" watch line shall consist of several watches, having in common that the customer will not be limited to the watch itself, once he bought it. Instead, he would be able to upgrade the timepiece with one or several complications. For example, the first "Habring2", dubbed "Time Only", is sold as a simple, yet stunningly beautiful handwinding watch with three hands. However, the movement is already prepared to be modified with a tourbillon, and once the customer wishes, Richard will add this tourbillon. The dial then receives a cutout, and probably the crystal will have to be changed, since the tourbillon needs more space between dial and crystal. Consequently, it will not be necessary to pay for two watches, or to wait until the - very competitive - price of the tourbillon watch has been saved. Instead, one can wear a beautiful watch as long as necessary to collect the funds, before finally getting a beautiful and absolutely rare tourbillon timepiece.

Similar upgrade models will be offered with simpler complications, such as power reserves, GMT function, dead second, chronograph and so on.

In the Habring household, the work is done together. During the meals, Richard and Maria-Kristina discuss designs and technical details, with the notebook and the drawings being a permanent presence on the dinner table. Even when they are walking the dog, work continues. Only the purely technical and watchmaking part is done by Richard alone, while Maria-Kristina is responsible for the administration.

Currently, the financial burden of the new watch brand is mostly paid by restoring old and valuable timepieces, making custom order watches, and assignments from the watch industry, which wants him to develop some innovative mechanics. As an example for the latter, Richard is now co-operating with Vulcain, and a not so well-known Dutch brand, specialized on watches for regatta sailing: TNG. For them, Richard designed a mechanical 15 minutes countdown regatta timer, based on a Valjoux 7750 chronograph movement. What makes another TNG watch peculiar, is the 60 minutes-chronograph counter from the center.

Aside from that and the work on their "Habring2" project, they still find time to experiment with new and unusual design ideas. Translucid dials made from shells or horn are but one of several such concepts. I can imagine that seeing but a faint picture of a tourbillon cage rotating under such a dial must indeed look fantastic!

So it is not astonishing that the small workshop in the Carinthian countryside is bristling with activity, which is why I finally make my excuses and leave. I do not want to be responsible for any delays in the work of the two Habrings, of course! When driving home, I am very happy to witness another star rising on the sky of the independent brands: "Habring2"

Αποσυνδεδεμένος citicasi

  • Just Registered
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Απ: habring watch
« Απάντηση #1 στις: Νοέμβριος 20, 2008, 10:13:33 μμ »
ειναι κατι το οποιο εχει να διεξει και η αυστρια.εχω μπει στι λινκ και με αρεσαν τα ρολογια του.Καλη δουλεια.

Αποσυνδεδεμένος Aris911

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Απ: habring watch
« Απάντηση #2 στις: Απρίλιος 30, 2019, 10:10:47 πμ »