Watchmaker at Work

Yesterday morning, I was fortunate enough to visit the workshop of Matthew Carbaugh, an authorized watchmaker for many of the world’s finest watch brands. I had always heard amazing things about Matt, but seeing him in action confirmed his reputation and then some. Watching him work on a Breitling was like witnessing an orthopedic surgeon performing an operation. It was incredible!

Matt got into watchmaking because of his uncle, who is also a watchmaker. His original plan was to go to Temple University’s Tyler School of Art and study ceramics. As a detail-oriented guy, Matt had always been fascinated by the way things were constructed.  His uncle, who is authorized to work on all sorts of watches, including complicated Patek Philippe models, convinced him to give watches a try. The rest is history!

When I met with Matt yesterday, he showed me a blue dial stainless steel Colt Automatic that needed an overhaul.  He proceeded to flip the watch over and get right after it!  Matt literally dissected the timepiece until it was each individual part remaining.  As you can see from the pictures, there are over fifty parts that help make the Colt Auto run properly within COSC (Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute) specs of -4/+6 seconds a day.

While he was taking the Breitling movement apart, Matt was telling me about how he was going to make the completely scratched bracelet look brand new again.  The process includes taking apart the entire bracelet and polishing each link individually.  After seeing Matt do his thing, I have an even greater appreciation for the art that is watchmaking.  Not too shabby, huh?


5 thoughts on “Watchmaker at Work

  1. When I take things apart and put them back together, there always seems to be one or two pieces left over. I guess that doesn’t happen here 🙂

  2. Thanks for this great article George. Yes, it does provide a new respect for the profession and for the watch that I enjoy.

    Keep this sort of documentary coming! I would enjoy seeing how he takes apart the bracelet and works with it.

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