Watchmaking on the Nomad

Some folks were asking about guilloche. Well I finally have a few new tools in the shop. I will share one of them, an early 1900’s G. Plant & Sons Straightline Engine. These are exceptionally rare machines, and to my knowledge this is 1 of 3 in the world. Indeed an exceptionally rare machine, and this one is in premium condition and beautifully restored (notice the ways are freshly scraped). Here are a few photos of the initial tests on this beautiful new (old) machine. The person who helped me arrange this purchase posted some of my photos on his Instagram page. Just note, this is my first test piece in my shop after only a few hours of training from the masters, David Lindow and Josh Shapiro. This style of guilloche is called basket-weave, it is the most difficult and the most sought after in high-end independent watchmaking. To give you an idea, watches with a basket-weave guilloche dial start at $40,000. I have a long way to go, but at least I have the right machine to do the job.

The G. Plant & Sons (who closed in 1976) Straightline Engine is the premium-brand of all Straightline Engines, and this one is near mint condition. Unfortunately, there are no modern manufacturers of straightline engines, and with the exception of ~20 people in the world, this is nearly a dead art, and many of these tools have become scrap metal. You have to “know someone that knows someone” to find one of these, and then find someone who will teach you how to use it. Buying one is similar in price to a luxury sedan, and then you have to fly to somewhere in the world to receive individual instruction. I purchased this sight-unseen, and shipped it from the London, England to Texas, USA.

In case you are wondering, this machine is entirely hand operated (no electronics, though I choose to use a dial indicator and LED light for better precision), it stands 5.5 feet tall and weighs 1,050 pounds. I will post a video of its operation if you are interested.

I will post more in the near future if folks are still interested in this general topic of watchmaking.



Here is a great video by Chris at ClickSpring in Australia. He also owns 1 of 3 known remaining G. Plant & Sons Straight-Line Engines. This is the same one I have in the photos above. Great video. Enjoy!

Just so you know, it can take many hours or days to make a dial like this.


Yes, Please!!! I love watching Chris’s videos! I watch his videos, and makes my brain itch with his precision. Makes me wish I’d listened to my grandfather and become a machinist.
How are those watch faces made without a SLE?

I’d love to know how that it works with such precision being completely analog!

Thanks for sharing!

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