Ultimate Cars, Watches & Hi Fi S02 ep15 : Volker Vyskocil, Vyskocil Watches,[Switzerland]
Interview with Volker Vyskocil
Life washed me on land on September 26th, 1964, and confronted me with a most important question 16 years later: ‚What are you going to do?'. My answer was: ‚watchmaker'. Fate smiled and answered: ‚Ok, you're going to be toolmaker!'. Back then I could not understand this initial irritation, but meanwhile I'm very happy with this stroke of fate. Because of this decision I now know the promise of university studies, worked independently and on my own responsibility as a draughtsman, developed machines and - along the way - could indulge to my passion: watchmaking!
Vyscocil: I like to have a combination of a scientist and an artist. The watch makers in the past are
also people with a combination of science and arts.
Vyscocil: When I was a child, I saw a television program and they showed the scientists of the 16th
and 17th Century and instruments they used and how they work and I think oh, that’s fantastic, I
want to do this, but I realised that the only which is left is the mechanical timepiece.
Vyscocil: I interested in watch making since I am 12 or 14 when I was 15 I have to look for a
company who train me, but everyone I ask is say do not learn the watch maker trade because it will
change your whole lifetime batteries. This time was where the quartz movements rise up so I
decided to learn tool maker.
Vyscocil: The background I get from the mechanical engineer help me to understand the
mechanism of the watches in the past and in today and it gives me some ideas how can a watch
look in future maybe with this it’s a little bit different the point of view as the traditional watch
Vyscocil: Twenty years ago there was a watch maker nearby, I visit him every day, I want to learn
from him so he give me some feeling of a traditional watch making. So I did not start at zero and
all the books I have, I have a lot of books and I have interviewed or visited some watch makers and
worked with them to learn so I get the feeling for the job.
Vyscocil: One thing, is a German word for technique of watches and I reserved this domain, two
days later I realised oh, what would I do with a domain name, there must be input, must be
interesting things so I started to explain the function of parts of a mechanical watches and clocks it
has a relative big success because it is used by watch maker schools to teach the mechanic of
watches. So I get the first contacts to other watch makers and schools and one watch maker was
Bert Heideman. Bert Heideman he makes a central tourbillion and I visit him at his factory in
Switzerland and when I told him I want to build my own watch he say ok I will try that you can be
a candidate of the AHCI.
Vyscocil: You have to find two members of the AHCI they have to look at your work and say ok
this work will be it looks good it’s a big potential and maybe he can reach the level for
membership then you have to show your watches on at least three fairs and after these three fairs
every member of the AHCI have to say yes.
Vyscocil: When I start to build my watch or to thinking about how does my watch look like I
follow the old rules, 40 years ago they make very precision watches and then the quartz movement
rise up and the knowledge was cut and after 20 years they start newly but they do not follow the
old rules, they have found new rules for example the balance they use today a high frequency
balance but 40 years ago not a high frequency balance was up to date they say a big balance so my
design starts also was a big balance.
Why did that happen?
Vyscocil: Because it is the more resistance again shocks and movement the result is more stable.
My watch, the performance is not as high as the modern watch, it is something like it’s the point of
Vyscocil: When I start I look at existing movements, can I use some components of these
movements to build a new movement or some movement which will be changed in different ways.
My first thought was big balance and the diameter of the movement of the diameter is 30mm and I
placed some existing wheels in the movement and I saw it is technically ok, the engineering point
of view, but the artist in me say, oh no it looks not very well.
So what do you do then?
Vyscocil: I decided to make my own wheels and pinions. So after this process of designing the
components which I buy are only the escapement, the hair springs, the main spring and the screws
and jewels, I make the bridges, the wheels the pinions, the barrel.
Vyscocil: When I start I had only a milling machine and watch maker lasers but I have to say at
the moment I have CNC milling machine, it help me. It is something like a painter who use
different colour and you have more freedom to realise your dreams.
Vyscocil: I start with the movement, the diameter and the height, that was the limit I want to reach
or to work in these limits and I used or I decided to use propulsions of the movement which will be
guaranteed for a nice proportion for the case. After I have make the rough construction for the
movement, I started with the designing of the case and I also want to build a case which is
different from other cases, but that’s my point of view as a scientist and artist, it must be, look
classic and the whole watch looks classic. But different, I decided to make for example the side of
the movement is curved to the inner side and the locks are curved to the outer side, there are some
points where they reach each other, there are some nice curves from my point of view and my
Vyscocil: The main idea was I want to build a watch which I would buy and I think I was not alone
on the world and there must be some people also liking this watch.
And what’s been the reaction?
Vyscocil: Very good.
Have you sold it?
Vyscocil: Yes of course. I built the watch in small series, there are six watches in series.
Six, that’s it?
Vyscocil: Yes, because I don’t want to work like an assembly line. There are different types of
case materials, the retail price of the cheapest one is 24,000 Euro.
Vyscocil: At the beginning it is a lot of physical work but you have to think about a lot of things
and not only have to do with the watch itself, how does the brochure look like, the marketing.
Vyscocil: At the moment I work alone but maybe I want to ask someone to help me but I don’t
want to have 10 or 20.
Where are you making these watches in Switzerland or Germany?
Whereabouts in Germany?
Vyscocil: Near Dussledorf, the Dutch border. It’s an area in Germany where there is absolutely no
tradition in watch making. I’m the first one.
Vyscocil: At the moment I can only think about to produce the watches to make the watches they
are ordered when you will order a watch you have to pay 50% from this money I can buy the
material for the case. And I can eat something.
Vyscocil: At the moment I have to manage the production so when you will order now I have to
say hm, you have to wait I can make at the moment six to ten watches a year.
Vyscocil: The first time I show my watch on the AHCI, I came to Switzerland, I came to here the
fair and I get my PS case and inside there are the watch a screwdriver and aspirin, when I saw the
other people aluminium cases very professional white gloves, oh I think oh no, I’m absolutely
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Volker Vyskocil, Vyskocil Watches, Switzerland