Watchmaking on the Nomad

:hushed::hushed::hushed::hushed::hushed::hushed::hushed::hushed::hushed::hushed::hushed::hushed: that is incredibly amazing

If @Vince.Fab, @RichCournoyer and @WatchDude were in the same room at the same time, I believe we would exceed the critical mass of metal work awesomeness.

At 1440 hours of superb handcrafting a piece, I tried estimating how much this watch will go for, and then my brain exploded.

@WillAdams Yes, I am completely self-taught and I used George Daniels book “Watchmaking” as well as others for this “first” timepiece. Someday I plan to do proper Guilloche, but a Rose Engine Lathe is $23,000, the best option is from Lindow

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@Julien thank you for the compliment.

Yes many folks have told me that they cannot understand why an independent watchmaker like F.P.Journe, Patek Philippe, or Greubel Forsey charge $100,000 to $500,000 (or more) for their watches. First, you are paying for art and the name of that artist; you are way out of the realm of just a simple timepiece. Next you are paying for labor, and finally materials. Most small brands will spend 500-1000 hours on a single timepiece, and nearly everything is done by hand with minimal use of CNCs, etc., using the exact same tools and techniques I displayed in the video. Here in the United States the minimum wage is $15/hr. This means that even if you are paying minimum wage (which will not be the case for independent watchmakers), a timepiece will cost at least $15,000 (assuming 1000 hrs labor), and this doesn’t include cost of materials. Most of these timepieces, like mine, are made of gold, platinum, rhodium, as well as cheaper materials like brass, steel, aluminum, titanium, or carbon fiber. Larger brands like Rolex can sell their “Diver” for $15,000 because they use mostly machines on the case, wheels and pinions, screws, bracelet, etc. (even assembly) with all pieces hand finished.

At the moment this is still a hobby for me. But like I said in my original post, I aspire to someday add my name to that international roster of “Independent Watchmakers”.


Thank you. I truly believe that anyone can do this, you just need to be persistent. I highly recommend George Daniels book “Watchmaking”.

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Thank you Sir. I highly recommend George Daniels book “Watchmaking”. I truly believe that anyone can do this, you just need to be persistent.

Ah, I think that may be the amazingly complex device Wes Pilley uses to produce delightfully complicated things

You are correct! Here is a photo with tags for Lindow.

You can occasionally find old and used rose engines, but I often see these in the $50,000-$70,000 range.

There are some folks who have made their own. But the range of options are limited.

To do true watchmaking dials you need both a rose engine lathe and a straight-line lathe. So the cost increases significantly. You can see good examples in Breguet watches. This watch uses both types of lathes (rose and straight), and the dial takes 3-4 weeks to make!!

Eventually I will have both in my workshop, but I needed to start with a close facsimile, and writing the code for the math, CAD and CAM was a fun challenge.



Since you are a diy kind of guy check out this link:. Big Guy Productions - Lathezilla, Ornamental work

The design is free but he asks a $20.00 donation. It might not be what you need but it is interesting.

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@gdon_2003 Thanks for the reference. Unfortunately this does not have the precision or options needed for watch dials.

If anyone is interested, I have posted more photos and a complete description on this website. Note that this specific timepiece is not for sale, and I am not marketing it here, the website is just for documentation.

After several collaboration and upgrade inquiries to Carbide3D without any reply, I will be selling my Nomad 883 Pro. The Nomad made this project a success, and I am thankful to Carbid3D for the cost-effective precision CNC, but I am moving to a more precise (0.002mm repeatability) CNC in the $100k range.


Can you say what specifically you’re moving to?

Truly next level, congrats

@EastcoastJoe Thank you. Doing watchmaking, in its totality from making the case to wheels and pinions, is quite enjoyable. Sure it requires patience, but the satisfaction of completion is immeasurable.

@Moded1952 I am actually purchasing a few machines. The NSCNC Elara 4-axis Mill for some tasks (with repeatability of 0.005mm), and the Elara Lathe for other tasks. For the really small parts, the Tornos SwissNano with even smaller repeatability :slight_smile: .


Damn, that’s a hell of a jump from a Nomad!

Are you buying these new? They all look pretty recent. I know some watchmakers have had good experiences with used machines. There was a watch maker shop walkthrough by NYCCNC a while ago and they mostly seemed to use older machines, with the exception of an over the top looking EDM: AMAZING Machine Shop Tour: Nicholas Hacko Watchmaker! - YouTube

@Moded1952 Yes. As a former aerospace engineer, I have experience with Haas mills. The Nomad was an experiment in my personal shop to determine its utility in my watchmaking. Consequently a much more precise CNC is required, so I am purchasing new machines.

I am familiar with the Hacko’s. They have a different problem. They plan to manufacture 100’s of movements per year, which requires a production-scale machine shop. Whereas I plan to manufacture 3-5 pieces a year, and maintain the “independent watchmaker” handmade methods as a matter of art, or what is known as the “high-art of watchmaking”.

I would have preferred to stay with Carbid3D because I know the product and workflow, but I have had zero response to my requests to collaborate on a high precision machine or mod-kit. I am honestly quite disappointed.


What an interesting idea - most Nomad owners are chasing more power and not so much additional precision. There are definitely more Shapeoko owners out there than Nomad owner which makes it a better target for 3rd party mod-kits, but indeed a high(er) precision Nomad would be an interesting market niche for someone

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Hello, could you please link to the machine you used for making the custom gears? I’m working to build my own servo motors and would like to make my own gears in the casing. Would really appreciate the help. Thank you.

I am amazed. This is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. You are an artist.