Apple Invent The Mechanical Watch

The Apple Watch has been on the market for long enough that its earlier iterations are now unsupported. Where some see little more than e-waste others see an opportunity, as has [NanoRobotGeek] with this mechanical watch conversion on a first-generation model.

What makes this build so special is its attention to detail. Into the Apple Watchcase has gone a Seiko movement, but it hasn’t merely been dropped into place. It uses the original Apple watch stem which is offset, so he’s had to create a linkage and a tiny pulley system to transfer the forces from one to the other. The rotor is custom-machined with am Apple logo, and the new watch face is a piece of laser-cut and heat treated zirconium. Even the watch movement itself needed a small modification to weaken the stem spring and allow the linkage to operate it.

The build is a long one with many steps, and we’re being honest when we say it would put our meager tiny machining skills to an extreme test. Sit down and take your time reading it, it really is a treat. Apple Watches may head to the tip after five years, but not this one!

See more in the video below the break, and of course long-time readers may remember we’ve considered the Apple Watch versus mechanical watches before.

38 thoughts on “Apple Invent The Mechanical Watch

  1. That is unbelievably cool. My household had an early Apple watch stop charging recently, maybe I’ll add this to my ever-growing backlog of projects that will inevitably get purged when I next move.

    1. Better than a Moser for sure, its a real Apple case ;)

      Also after posting on reddit I was informed there were other brands that did this too. Ciga design did some and even Casio made the M305.

  2. A watch without any markings on the face so one may actually use it to tell the time is a pointless thing. It may as well always be reading half past whenever.

    1. To be fair, I’d say most mechanical watches are intended as jewellery these days anyway.

      And as Openminded said, its really not that hard, I have only been wearing it around a month and I can tell the minutes hand, to the minute, at a glance. Hour hand still messes me up sometimes for some reason

      1. It makes sense that you’d have trouble with hours but not minutes. The minutes hand is basically a continuous proportional thing, while hours are displayed as continuous while needing to be rounded down to the nearest hour, which is really hard to brain. This is why even the most minimalistic mechanical watches still usually have the 12 hour markings.

    2. You really can’t tell time without numbers? My kids had to write the time on analog clocks without numbers in 2nd grade. Maybe analog clocks aren’t for you.

    3. Why would you need numbers on a watch? None of my watches have numbers on them. Numbers on a watch are either for design, or for kids that need to learn how to read a clock.

    4. I used to think this, and then was gifted a watch without markings. It took me maybe a day to get comfortable with it, and then I discovered it actually made telling the time with analog watches quicker. Instead of counting dashes to get exact minutes, I just looked at the watch and instinctively/subconsciously knew. Our minds can distinguish relational differences very easily if we let it, but if we overlay extra layers on top of it our minds will do that first.

      I used that watch so often I wore out the strap.

    1. Cheers mate. Was hoping it would be a proper e-wate recycling project to be honest but it took much more work than I expected so this may be the only watch case I end up saving in the end.

  3. What a completely useless and incorrect statement Gregg. Try it some time. You know precisely where up and down are because of wrist position, so no need for markers at all. Half past would be the big hand pointing down, or what?? Nice job, although there are esthetically nicer ones. Then again, I never bought a smartwatch because they don’t last battery wise.

  4. Wow, just wow!

    I totally expected that there’d be a cheap noname movement hot snotted inside an apple watch case.

    How utterly wrong I was!

    This is so incredibly well done! The window in the back! The customized rotor!

    I LOVE it!

        1. Maybe it would but only just. And it would take more than a day if you wanted a large (100x100mm) part. I tend to try not doing anything thicker than 1mm. Steel, brass, copper, doesn’t matter so much to a fiber laser as far as I am aware. I think most people recommended no lower than 30W, mostly for engraving, and if you wanted to cut they recommend like 60-90W. But like I say, it should get through in the end.

  5. Amazing project and even better end project! Id assume that this is definitely is an expert level endeavor, but how would you suggest trying something like this? Would it be possible to get a tool and equipment list? Watches have always fascinated me, but seem so daunting and intricate.
    Do you think you would ever make these for private sale in the future?

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