Chris and Jon look back on 2018 and set course for the year ahead.

No Tree is the Same

Episode 33

Jon‘s brother Josh joins us to discuss his career as a fine wood worker.

Jon and Chris follow a thread that weaves horology, magic, and movies together.

Inherently Honest

Episode 31

Chris and Jon talk about the late Ricky Jay, sleight of hand, and graveyards full of secrets.

Hazy Blue Halo

Episode 30

Le Grande K is out of a job. Chris has lathe problems, Jon has lens problems, and the iPad Pro still has a pro app problem.

This episode of Off Hours was made possible in part
thanks to the Santa Fe Symposium

Learn more at

  • CanUX A conference Jon attended between the recording of last episode & this episode
  • Raven Telemetry Creators of Raven Sense, a system to improve the uptime of automated machinery
  • Kevin Deveey One of the key designers behind Raven Sense & a speaker at CanUX 2018

  • Richard Mille RMS 05 Fountain Pen A $105,000 mechanical fountain pen

  • Kari Voutilainen A great interview with independent watchmaker, Kari Voutilainen
An employee at Voutilainen's dial manufacture, Comblémine, working on what appears to be a Neuweiler Straight Line Engine
An employee at Voutilainen’s dial manufacture, Comblémine, working on what appears to be a Neuweiler Straight Line Engine, photo by Xavier Markl via Monochrome

While Chris was away traveling the world, Jon got a tour behind the scenes at Veritas, a tool making company based in Canada’s Capital. From the first all metal lathe ever made to building CNC machines at home, this episode is all about tools.

This episode of Off Hours was made possible in part
thanks to the Santa Fe Symposium

Learn more at

Backpacks—an unsolvable problem. Chris has an unexpected run-in with some surrealist art, followed by a discussion of dealing with the realities of travel.

Smoking Bellows

Episode 27

Chris has just returned from a conference on ornamental turning. He and Jon discuss the difference between ornamental turning and engine turning, along with some of the other things Chris got up to while out on the West Coast.

Examples of some ornamentally turned boxes Chris has acquired over the years
Example of some self-lubricating, wooden bushings made from lignum vitae, by American clockmaker, Rick Hale
A cup by Brian Jackson, turned on an ornamental lathe in lignum vitae
A fused, dual-metal bracelet, 3D printed by Cooksongold
  • Fringe Element Chris described the fused metal bracelet created by Cooksongold in greater detail back in Episode 18
  • Mixed Metals Jon & Chris discussed Bob Kramer’s use of Damascus steel in Episode 7 of Off Hours
  • Chris Ploof Friend of the show, Chris Ploof, specializes in working with Damascus
  • James Binnion Friend of the show, Jim Binnion, specializes in mokume-gane
  • Bob Kramer Maker of fine knives, hand crafted from Damascus steel
  • LMT Patterned Metals Producers of Damascus and mokume-gane, operated by Chris Ploof & James Binnion
  • Brittany Nicole Cox Official website of antiquarian horologist, Brittany Nicole Cox
  • Smoking Bellows in Automata Brittany Nicole Cox’s talk for the Horological Society of New York, on horological conservation & materials for bellows in smoking automata
  • Conservation vs. Restoration An overview of conservation versus restoration
  • Ted Crom Books Chris picked up a copy of Crom’s Horological and Other Shop Tools while in Seattle
  • Speake-Marin on WatchesTV A look at a collection of antique watchmakers’ tools with Peter Speake-Marin
  • Watchmakers The Masters of Art Horology Another book Chris picked up recently that catalogues the work of modern independent watchmakers
  • 12 Faces of Time Similar subject matter to the Masters of Art Horology, 12 Faces of Time details the lives and works of a dozen of the foremost independent watchmakers of our era
  • CNC presentation Chris will be giving a presentation on October 23rd alongside friend of the show, Rich Loen, outlining everything you need to know to build your own CNC machine

Chris is back from the British Horological Institute, where he spent a week working on watch movements. He and Jon chat about his time in the UK, the unique things he saw, and the incredible people he met along the way.

  • BHI Short Courses Short watch & clock making courses offered by the British Horological Institute
  • John Murphy Official website of John Murphy (FBHI, Cert. Ed., WOSTEP) who trained Chris at the British Horological Institute
  • ETA 6497
  • ETA 2824
  • Incabloc A cross-section of Incabloc’s anti-shock system, designed to protect delicate pivots in mechanical watches
Capillary action at work, lubricating the Incabloc system in a mechanical watch
A cap jewel being drawn up into an Incabloc chaton via capillary action
  • Hamilton 992
  • Upton Village The small, English village that Chris called home for much of the time between this episode & last
  • Upton Hall Headquarters of the British Horological Institute
  • Museum of Timekeeping The BHI museum at Upton Hall
  • Santa Fe Symposium An annual conference for professionals in jewellery & related industries
  • Museum of the jewellery quarter A perfectly preserved workshop in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter.
  • Birmingham, UK
  • Frank Cooper Senior lecturer at Birmingham City University’s School of Jewellery
  • David Fletcher A brief introduction to 3D printing in precious metal, from David Fletcher of Cooksongold
  • Cooksongold A pioneer in additive manufacturing & one of the UK’s leading suppliers to the jewellery trade
  • Rio Grande Akin to Cooksongold, Rio Grande is of the USA’s leading suppliers to the jewellery trade
  • 3D Printed Watch Case Michiel Holthinrichs’ watch cases for the Ornament 1 are 3D printed by Cooksongold

An example of a 3D printed watch case

  • Struthers London Struthers London began making timepieces from antique, English made calibers, before branching off into creating their in-house Project 248 caliber
  • Deakin & Francis Located in the same building as the Struthers, this high end cufflink maker is England’s oldest family jeweller
  • Yard-O-Led One of the Struthers’ newest neighbors is high end penmaker, Yard-O-Led, who we spoke about back in Episode 1 of Off Hours
  • British Museum
  • Bonhams Clock Exhibit A historic clock exhibit, entitled Innovation & Collaboration, hosted by Bonhams in London
German / Gothic Chamber Clock
The oldest running clock that Chris has ever seen, from the ‘Innovation & Collaboration’ exhibit at Bonhams in 2018
  • Omega 2211 An Omega caliber based on the ETA 6498, with alternative bridge layout
  • Sea-Gull ST36 An Asian take on the ETA 6498, with yet another variation on the bridge layout

A Box of Bandaids

Episode 25

Chris’ first watch is taking shape. He and Jon chat through some of the process so far and where things may go from here.

  • Voutilainen 217QRS THG A limited edition, gold dialed version of Kari Voutilainen’s 217QRS Retrograde Date, for the Hour Glass in Singapore
  • Peter Gilroy A jeweller specializing in the use of niobium, titanium, & gold, whose work is inspired by the great outdoors
  • Spot Anodizing How to spot anodize niobium & titanium
  • Zirconium Decay ⁹⁵Niobium is the decay product of ⁹⁵Zirconium
  • Spontaneous Combustion Zirconium is considered a pyrophoric metal, making it susceptible to spontaneous combustion

Jon and Chris discuss follow up books to read, tricks for beating the Vatican hoards, letter press documentaries, and canes that aren’t quite what they appear to be.

The Perfectionists A new book by Simon Winchester we discussed last episode, which traces the impact that ever increasing levels of accuracy have had on our world

Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling A book by Ross King

Brunelleschi’s Dome Another book by Ross King about a literal Renaissance Man who reinvented architecture

Sistine Chapel

Taj Mahal

Michelangelo’s David The original David, sculpted by Michelangelo, located in the Accademia Gallery of Florence

The Uffizi Gallery

Pressing On Film A documentary about letterpress printing in the modern age

Linotype Film A more thorough & informative film on the subject of letterpress

Making Faces Film A documentary about fellow Canadian Jim Rimmer’s quest to release a new type design both digitally & in the metal at the same time

Walbaum Font Family A typeface first created by Justus Walbaum, circa 1800, remastered for the digital age and released in 2018 by Charles Nix, Carl Crossgrove, Juan Villanueva, and Lynne Yun,

Canes A selection of unusual & rare antique canes

Faberge Cigarette Case An example of a Faberge cigarette case, from the British Royal Collection

Watchmaker’s Swiss Army Knife A video demonstration of the (now discontinued) Minathor 50 Swiss Army Knife for watchmakers

Rams Documentary A soon to be released documentary about the legendary industrial designer, Dieter Rams

Rams Interview The panel discussion with Dieter Rams that Jon referred to

Rams’ Cane A photo of Dieter Rams with his cane

Watch Cane French jewelled gold watch cane

Patek Desk Clock An example of a ornamental desk clock produced by Patek Philippe

Ornamental Turning An introduction to ornamental turning from the Society of Ornamental Turners

Medici Ivories

The Lord Chancellor

Episode 23

Precision, accuracy, and a smattering of etymology. Chris and Jon discuss Simon Winchester’s latest book, The Perfectionists.

The Perfectionists A new book that traces the impact that ever increasing levels of accuracy have had on our world, from the industrial revolution, through to the digital age

Ned Ludd An English weaver, from whom the term “luddite” was derived

Bokeh The blur that occurs when an object within a photograph does not fall inside the bounds of the lens’s depth of field

Leica The camera division of Germany’s Leica Microsystems

The Essentials of Precision Timekeeping A talk delivered by Jack Forster at the Horological Society of New York in early 2018

Bullseye Diagram A visual depiction of the distinction between accuracy & precision, from Winchester’s The Perfectionists, where A is accurate, B is precise, C is neither, & D
is moderately precise & accurate

History of the Steam Engine A brief history of steam power during the Industrial Revolution

Watt Engine Friend of the show, Rich Loen, standing in front of a Watt Steam Engine

John Wilkinson An industrialist who helped James Watt refine the Watt Steam Engine

Henry Maudslay An incredibly talented machinist, whose work helped usher in the age of industrialization

Joseph Bramah A renowned locksmith & inventor

Off Hours Episode 21 The episode on multi lead threading, where we first mentioned Bramah & Maudslay

The Lord Chancellor A micrometer that was one of, if not the most, precise measuring instrument of Maudslay’s era, crafted by Maudslay himself

Cromwell Lathe A style of lathe that Chris has in his shop, which was favoured by Rolls-Royce in the mid 20th century

Rolls-Royce Casting A look at how lost wax casting continues to be used today in the manufacturing of Rolls-Royce turbine engines

Off Hours Episode 3 An early episode in which we delved into the subject of lost wax casting

Additive Manufacturing TheWatches TV takes a look at the potential promise additive manufacturing holds, while not shying away from the ways it still falls short of the accuracy needed for crafting timepieces

Rolls-Royce Swarm Bots Rolls-Royce is investing in tiny, collaborative swarm robots to help provide quality assurance & routine maintenance of its jet turbines, without needing to take them completely apart

Qantas Flight 32 An airline crash, detailed in The Perfectionists that was found to be due to error in how accurately a particular hole had been drilled

Grand Seiko Official website of the Shizuku-Ishi studio in Japan, where Grand Seiko timepieces are assembled