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J.N. Shapiro Infinity Watch With Made In Los Angeles Guilloche Dial Hands-On

J.N. Shapiro Infinity Watch With Made In Los Angeles Guilloche Dial Hands-On Hands-On

Josh Shapiro is one of the few people I’ve ever met who has “answered the call of George Daniels.” Working out of his small workshop in a traditionally residential part of Los Angeles proper, Josh Shapiro does not have the profile one might associate with a proud craftsman. Perhaps that’s because skills related to machining and precision construction are increasingly alien in large metropolitan parts of the world, like Southern California. Los Angeles does, however, benefit from a craftsmanship culture due to three primary local industries: cars, aerospace, and entertainment. It is thus oddly fitting for this hand machine-engraved guilloche watch dial to be born in Los Angeles in an “underdog meets established industry” tale. The result: his first timepiece called the J.N. Shapiro Infinity.

About 18 months before the J.N. Shapiro Infinity watch was completed, I visited Josh Shapiro to inspect his workshop. He had been collecting antique rose engine machines as well as some modern micro-construction tools in his compact but tidy space, and he gave me a demonstration on how guilloche dials are produced. This is a historic watchmaking technique most notable for being how most Breguet (late 18th century) dials were made. Today, Breguet, as well as a few other watchmaking houses, continue to create guilloche dials mostly by using machines which are no longer produced. Shapiro uses a series of techniques to produce each of his dials, which involves machine engraving, hand engraving, and coloring (ink or acid wash). According to Shapiro, adding up all the steps, each dial takes about a month to produce.

J.N. Shapiro Infinity Watch With Made In Los Angeles Guilloche Dial Hands-On Hands-On

Rose engines (as the machines are sometimes known) in today’s age are mostly used for cutting wood. When they were no longer needed to decorate small metal parts on jewelry, these machines became less popular and stopped being produced. Existing ones are treasured by both collectors and companies, for the latter uses them to produce dials. The problem, however, is that the machine by itself often isn’t enough to get good results. Operating the machine is a lot like operating a musical instrument. You might know how to get sound out of a saxophone, but without training, you can’t play a song. For that reason, rose engine machines are said to be “hand-operated,” so their output is anything but automated. Josh Shapiro claims to have dedicated approximately seven years to studying watch and dial making techniques.

Josh tells me the dial on the prototype version of the Infinity watch took him 200 hours to make. He estimates the dial of each in the series will take up to 100 hours to make. It is clear that understanding how to produce the best results with a rose engine is tiring, arduous work that requires a lot of precision and patience. However, his biggest concern was, “What would Roger Smith think?” Over in England’s Isle of Man, Mr. Roger Smith continues the work of his mentor, George Daniels, and produces mechanical watches almost entirely by hand. Roger Smith was the only apprentice Daniels ever took on.

J.N. Shapiro Infinity Watch With Made In Los Angeles Guilloche Dial Hands-On Hands-On

J.N. Shapiro Infinity Watch With Made In Los Angeles Guilloche Dial Hands-On Hands-On

The esteemed watchmaker and inventor of the co-axial escapement, George Daniels, was also an author (and illustrator). Daniels wrote a few books, including his famous “Watchmaking.” Each of them are similar to an instruction manual on how to produce mechanical watches, though following Daniel’s teachings is much more complicated than assembling a LEGO set. Josh Shapiro discovered the work of George Daniels and answered the call. Though he doesn’t claim to be a watchmaker, Shapiro is certainly learning. For instance, he has worked closely with David Walters, a trained watchmaker in Santa Barabra who mostly produces bespoke clocks. Shapiro works with him and many other partners in California and Germany.

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J.N. Shapiro Infinity Watch With Made In Los Angeles Guilloche Dial Hands-On Hands-On

Both the case and movement of the Infinity watch are produced in Germany since Shapiro was practical and wanted both quality and prestige. The 42mm wide case is water resistant to 30m, and is available in 18k yellow, rose, or white gold. It’s also equipped with a sapphire crystal, and it’s very beautifully finished and well made (though certainly not cheap). He also tells me that steel and platinum cases can be made available on order. Inside the watch is a very uncommon manually-wound mechanical movement from UWD known as the caliber 33.1. Co-founded by the esteemed watchmaker Marco Lang (who worked on this movement design), UWD is a rare German watch movement supplier based in Dresden. The only other watch I’ve seen that also uses this movement right now is the Sinn 6200 Meisterbund. The movement is produced from nickel silver as opposed to brass, so it looks more nicely polished. It also has a distinctive architecture with an efficient mainspring mounting system (the “floating” mainspring barrel), which is supposed to help it remain accurate over time. The movement offers the time with a subsidiary seconds dial, has a power reserve of 53 hours, and operates at 3Hz (21,600 bph).

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  • Joe

    Nice looking watch but at an eye-watering price!
    It’s almost a shame it follows the Ophion review, as the dials appear similar.

    The large seconds subdial does remind me of a Roger Smith design but the seconds hand is a bit short.
    I’m not sure that the cutouts in the hour and minute hands do much other than to reduce legibility.

    The movement is nice – and I was excited by the prospect of it being made by JNS, so it’s a shame (at this price) it’s sourced externally.
    If I’m selling watches, I would care more about consumer opinion than what Roger Smith thinks.

    Whilst it probably wouldn’t suit this watch, he missed the opportunity to make this a true California dial 😛

    • ???

      Guilloche by CNC and rose engine are definitely different animals. However, I agree the price is out of my expectation. You have several choices from Urban Jurgensen with the same engine-turned dial and better other parts.

    • Joshua Shapiro

      Thanks for the feedback Joe. My plans for the future are to make my own in house movement, but for this first series I decided to buy the best movement possible and dedicate my energies to the dial. Ophion looks like a great value. I think they specifically mention that their engraving is done by cnc to bring costs down.

      Engine-turning by hand is an extremely labor intensive activity, sitting down for 100 hours to make a dial will also make your eyes water 😉

      I’m genuinely interested in what a California dial is supposed to look like. I’ve given the subject a lot of thought. I’m a California native and this has got to be one of the most diverse states in terms of history, culture and geography.

      • Dimman

        Umm, you can buy a Jochen Benzinger watch with hand engine turned dial and fully skeletonized movement for under $8k USD.

        http://www.watchbuys.com/store/pc/Jochen-Benzinger-Subskription-20p51.htm

        Just because you are new to this and take 100 hrs for one dial, doesn’t mean that is the market rate.

        • Joshua Shapiro

          Benzinger makes a great watch no doubt about it. He really inspired me when I was getting started.

          There are a few differences between Benzinger’s dials on his $8000 dollar watch and my $26,000 dollar watch.

          His dials are made on a single disc of silver and primarily use rose engine patterns. Rose engine patterns are much quicker and easier to engrave then a complicated basketweave ( Or my super complicated Infinity weave). Count the circular lines on his patterns. It will probably come out to 20 or 30 lines. A straight line engine pattern like the Basketweave and Infinity weave take hundreds upon hundreds of lines. So it takes a lot longer.

          Additionally, my dial is made up of 7 different parts that are all individually machined, finished, drilled and tapped.

          I’m not so new to engine-turning. I have been doing it for five years. I am not sure where you live but your are absolutely welcome to come to my shop and I can show you the differences between the two engine-turning machines.

          • Dimman

            That watch also has a completely by hand skeletonized, and some engine turned, movement. I don’t see that much of a difference between straight line work and engine turned work, beyond cranking the straight line engine back up for cuts, vs the ornamental lathe’s somewhat more continuous action.

            Your watch is beautiful, don’t get me wrong. I just choked a bit on the pricing. The comparison to Benzinger at the price difference is going to happen a lot for people who know about engine turning and watches. For me, and I’m sure many others, $8k is potentially far more attainable, there is more work into the entire watch, it is also very beautiful, and Benzinger is a legend.

        • DanW94

          You do realize that the Benzinger is cased in SS and this watch is cased in gold, hence a large part of the price difference?

          • Dimman

            Did you not read to the end of the article? $24.5k in steel. Over triple what that Benzinger I linked costs.

          • DanW94

            Oops, yeah, I totally missed that price in SS…..

      • FS1900
      • Joe

        Hi Joshua,

        As SuperStrapper says, it’s great to see you take part in these discussions.
        I think you need thick skin to hang around here but if you take a step back, almost all of the feedback is positive.
        Of course as consumers we like to compare what else we might get for the equivalent $$$, which is the starting point for criticism.
        It’s also encouraging to hear about your future plans – perhaps if Ariel could have included this future objective as well as your relationship to Roger Smith it would have helped us to put things into context a bit better.

        Lastly when I mentioned the eye-watering price, I failed to point out that my issue was the price proximity between the steel vs precious metal versions. I can’t speak for others but I think I see similar comments on this page. Whilst the stated price tag might reflect actual costs, if you reduced the price of the steel and increased the price of the gold and platinum, would this be “more acceptable” to us? It may not be a good example (partly because of their production volume and high ROI) but take Rolex and compare their Steel Submariner to their Yellow or White Gold versions.
        Ultimately a watch is more than the sum of the parts and should probably be priced this way if at all possible.
        Understandable in your case this might be challenging to achieve.

      • Joe

        Hi Joshua,

        I echo SuperStrapper – great to see your participation here and kudos to you. It takes some thick skin to get involved.
        Then again looking at the feedback it’s mostly positive.
        As consumers we like comparing what we get for our $$$ or £££ and that’s where the criticisms begin.

        I think the main point I failed to make (others did point out above) is of the price proximity between the steel and precious metal versions.
        While the stated prices might reflect the actual costs to make the watches, we “want” (and are possibly used to seeing) steel watches significantly lower in price compared to gold/platinum. It may not be the best example but take Rolex’s Submariner in Steel. £6,250 in steel, £25,050 in yellow gold and £27,150 in white gold. Rolex have a (I’m sure) huge advantage in unit cost but I’m sure their precious metal watches aren’t actually that much more expensive than their steel models.

        Ultimately a watch is more than the sum of its parts and if you could somehow make the steel version more affordable (in comparison), it might be more accepted (by the likes of us). Alternatively perhaps you could look to include a feature in the precious metal watches that is not there in the steep version.
        I’m sure this is easier said than done.

  • Sheez Gagoo

    In your face, Garrick!

  • Gokart Mozart

    Very nice but a very interesting price difference between the 3 metals.

    Is that the same Lang from Lang & Heyne for the movement? If so then you know it will be a top notch movement.

    • ???

      Yes, the same Marco Lang 🙂

    • IanE

      Well-made point about the prices for different metals: even if the steel version looks rather pricey, the gold, and especially the platinum, versions look relatively quite cheap when compared with the mark-ups by most other makers!

      • Joshua Shapiro

        My prices are based on the labor that goes into the watch plus cost for components. I don’t believe in marking up a metal unless there is an actual reason to do it. For instance some metals are more difficult to work with and thus take more time to machine. This really isn’t the case( No pun intended 😛 ) with precious metals. In fact steel is more difficult to machine in a lot of instances than gold.

    • Joshua Shapiro

      Yes, Marco Lang founded UWD which created this movement. One of the reasons I choose this movement was his work on it.

  • david x. droog

    Beautiful dial. Case and movement do not seem to match it very well aesthetically as both look too modern & industrial IMHO. Thanks for sharing.

    • Joshua Shapiro

      Thanks for the feedback! Yes, the front and back definitely are different. Hopefully, you can see it in person. The movement is really stunning despite the moderness of it.

    • I always though that the dial compared to the movement aesthetic of a Daniels (or Roger Smith) watch are quite different, so I don’t see this as a problem.

  • TheChuphta

    Nice looking watch, too big and too expensive, but nice looking nonetheless. The early morning snark in me thinks it’s a bit of a stretch to compare Mr. Shapiro to George Daniels when the former makes dials and then orders literally every other part the watch. I did get a laugh out of reading how painstakingly he has other people (“colleagues”) do stuff. Reminds me of the housewives who feel some type of accomplishment when the contractor and decorator tells them that the remodeling work is done. Does he even assemble these watches himself?

    • Joshua Shapiro

      Hi, thanks for the feedback. I am definitely not George Daniels, but I hope he would give me a nod of approval for the dial. I make every part of the dial, the hands, and the gold plate with tapped holes into the movement. Artur Akmaev my friend and neighbor is an amazing hand engraver, and has a lot more experience blueing hands. So I’ve asked him to do those things for me. I do assemble the watches myself and have taken several courses on watchmaking. Most notably distance learning courses from the BHI.

  • SuperStrapper

    It’s not unattractive but I’m not sure who buys it. Cali residents I guess because who else would want a watch that says California on the dial? Having one that says something like Germany or Swiss shows prestige but California has no real history or association with fine watchmaking, so a watch that says California is a vacation souvenir. $15 flourescent t shirt with funny slogan, $9 painted seashell, or $25,000 mechanical watch.

    TheChuphta raises an interesting question: who does the assembly and QC? He doesn’t call himself a watchmaker so I don’t assume Shapiro does. The clockmaker he’s aligned himself with?

    • Joshua Shapiro

      Germany and Switzerland had to start somewhere right? I put California on the dial because this is where I made the dial. If I lived in Florida I’d put Florida on the dial. I do the assembly and QC. I give a two year warranty on the watch which is doubly backed up by UWD as the movement manufacture. $9 is a bargain on a painted seashell, what souvenir shops are you going to!

      • SuperStrapper

        Ok you’ve outed me I’ve never bought a painted seashell.

        You’re obviously proud of your work and should be, but the California and engine turned badges are a better idea for the rear of the watch, where there is a noticeable lack of any information at all. Either on the rear bezel on on the movement plates would be more fitting.

        Appreciate having you participate here,

        • Joshua Shapiro

          Actually I spent a lot of time considering putting the California/ Engineturned on the back like you are suggesting. I decided to put them on the front for a few reasons.

          #1 I am proud that I did this in California. It just hasn’t ever been done here before. So I wanted to make that clear on the front.

          #2 I wanted to make it clear that I engine-turned the dial here in California. I specifically didn’t put ” Made In California” because I did not want any ambiguity where the movement was made. UWD is a great movement manufacturer. They are independent and I am proud to have used their movement in my watch.

          #3 I didn’t want to engrave the case back because on precious metal over time that engraving disappears. Without engraving it can be polished and brought back to new a century later. I also wanted to keep the case understated. My personal preference.

          I like participating. I’m not a giant Swiss watch company, I can sit down and have a dialogue about my watch. A lot better than not commenting and silently stewing 🙂

          • SuperStrapper

            Is this how you received the movement, from an appearance perspective? Did you complete any of this finishing, and when you did the assembly did you not consider adding some decoration/information/personalization to the movement?
            I’m not suggesting the current appearance is poor by any stretch, but there are certainly some opportunities on that movement to show off some decoration muscle. Who doesn’t love well done engine tuned movement decoration?

          • The number plate appears to be added as my UWD 33.1 does not have it.

          • SuperStrapper

            Do you have it in a watch? Or you have a 33.1 ebauche.

          • I have a UWD 33.1 movement which I purchased directly from UWD thanks to Marco Lang. My Ka La watch cases are not designed for this movement nor do I have hands which are made for the pinion sizes of the UWD. So this project is going slowly for me since I’m not a machinist like Josh. Here is the dial he made for me (and yes that is Josh’s hand holding it) and a photo from UWD of a movement like mine. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8067d6f4a28a755a3ce22c92e29cb11c822a744a3f977afe9370bb3218803923.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7ec296f5370631f80ecf5b5234e483a3d1e87ec447417511d8a4ec7cec8ca25b.jpg

          • SuperStrapper

            Should be a very interesting project by the time it’s done.

            The dial appears to have a champagne colour to it: was it treated to achieve this? Or is it the alloy.

          • The color balance of the photo gives it the champagne appearance. The dial is silver (both material and color).

  • Watching Time

    Cool watch, but a bit pricey. RGM out of Pennsylvania has many watches with guilloche dials as an option, as well as about 99% of the parts made in the US. One can be had for about $8K on the low end

    • Joshua Shapiro

      RGM makes a great watch. The big price differential is based on the time I spend on each dial. I make them one at a time. I could assembly line them but that isn’t how I want to do things. I’m not looking to do more than a handful or so watches a year.

  • Playboy Johnny – Team Marius.

    Not a bad looking watch. However, I would buy the other Breguet inspired watch (Ophion) and save 23K. That is a lot of money for a no name watch company…gold case or not.

    • I’m not sure what the ex-TechoTime TT 718 costs Ophion, but I suspect its a lot less than an UWD 33.1 (I have one and its more than a little pricey compared to volume produced Swiss movements). Sometime on the order of 5 times more expensive in fact.

      • Dimman

        TT718 was 770chf per unit when I inquired 4 years ago, auto 738 was 885chf. These are before customization prices, and the Option is heavily customized.

        I seriously doubt the UWD is 5x that.

        • Thanks for the TT info. FYI – the UWD is still a lot more.

          • Dimman

            What range? If it’s more than a Vaucher VMF-5401 at 1590chf (also 4 years ago), it’s going to look rather unjustifiably high.

          • Yeah – the UWD is in the ball park price of the Vaucher you mentioned.

  • That’s a lot of coin for a watch that was sourced from 11 different manufacturers. A watch assembled from quality components is still just a watch that was assembled. I don’t mean to downplay the craftmanship that went into the piece, but at the end of the day, the “watchmaker” made a dial and then put everything else together.

    $28K buys you a Lange 1 Daymatic which, in ten years, if you decide to sell, you won’t have to spend an hour trying to explain to a prospective buyer the provenance of each individual part.

    • Joshua Shapiro

      Lange makes a great watch no doubt. I sourced from two different manufacturers, UWD for the movement and Astrath for the case. THe dial, hands, and gold plate were all made by me, and Artur Akmaev did the engraving and blueing. He is local and a good friend of mine. Artur makes incredible skeleton watches.

      In the future I do plan on making the movement and cases but for this first project I made the decision to focus entirely on the dial. The coin is for the labor. I do each dial one at a time. Thanks for the feedback!

  • egznyc

    Very beautiful dial. The movement architecture is also really attractive. Like someone noted below, it does not really match the dial aesthetic, but I don’t have a problem with that. It’s like two watches for the price of … ten ;-). The only real issue, besides price (and size – 38-40mm would be perfect), is the dial text – that ridiculous “California” on the dial’s left side, and “Engine Turned” on the right. So unnecessary (and nothing personal; I love California).

    Given the almost imperceptible increases from steel to gold and then gold to platinum, I’d definitely go for the platinum … oh wait, I forgot, this is way beyond my watch budget.

    • Joshua Shapiro

      Thanks for the kind words and the feedback. In terms of metals on the case, I charge for my labor and time. I don’t add in a massive mark up for different metals. It feels like a dishonest business practice to charge $10,000 more for a gold case because it has an ounce of gold in it.

  • DanW94

    I applaud his dedication to the art of engine turning. The story of this watch is somewhat akin to the Singer chronograph. Both from Los Angeles and both with backgrounds in some other area but with an obvious affinity for watches and watchmaking. And they both sourced their movements from well respected, high-end Swiss makers. Interesting. Also, those prices, they both jumped directly into the high end of the price pool. God luck to Mr. Shapiro.

    • Joshua Shapiro

      Thanks for the kind words!

  • Larry Holmack

    Beautiful watch, I love everything about it. Now….if I can paint and sell a few hundred of my paintings without my wife confiscating the money…. I could afford one! ( Yeah…like that’s going to happen! I sold one of my landscapes in March for just shy of a grand…and I managed to buy myself 2 new pairs of shoes…the rest vanished into my wife’s checking account!!! )

    • SuperStrapper

      Do you have a website? I’d like to see your style.

      • Larry Holmack

        I don’t right now…. I mainly sell through exhibits that my local Art Guild sponsors.
        My style is a cross between realism and impressionist. I use a lot of the teaching of Johannes Vloothuis…as I take his online workshops. He is a Canadian Master artist, and is the best instructor I have ever a student of…just a masterful teacher.
        When I get home I will post a picture of one my paintings that is in progress.

        • SuperStrapper

          Nice. I don’t need an education on Vloothuis! I studied art locally and abroad for a few years and spent a considerable focus on Canadian art (I’m a Tom Thompson kinda guy). My home office is a galley and I display dozens of pieces in many styles and mediums, the majority of which are originals from newer/lesser known artists. I send pictures of you need proof but I’m serious about art and collecting what I like (and can afford) so I’m looking forward to your pictures beyond just a general interest standpoint.

          • Larry Holmack

            I started taking art lessons as a very young boy…and then took them from my Aunt, also an artist, every summer until I finished high school.
            I have some art that hung in my great grandmother’s house, and some unusual art from Jose Cisneros. My grandmother worked with him when he was a bus painter for El Paso City Bus Lines before he became a world famous artist, and was Knighted by the King of Spain. One of my family members has one of his Conquistador pen and Ink drawings that he gave to her many years ago. I met him several times as a young boy, and just idolized him. I drew in pen and Ink for years just trying to mimic his style when I was a teenager.
            I also paint abstract / mixed media just for pleasure. I’ve done some sports themed mixed medias..mainly for my man cave, and did one for a cousin, who graduated from Clemson, when they won the NCAA Football Championship a couple of years ago.

          • SuperStrapper

            Good story. I thought I wanted to be an artists many moons ago but then realized I actually wanted to be successful so I didn’t pursue it. My appreciation for it will likely never stop maturing though.

          • Larry Holmack

            I understand. My love for art never stopped…but… I had to earn a living and ended up spending most of my working years in retail management. It paid the bills and I did my artwork for my own pleasure… usually giving the finished piece art work to a friend or to which ever gal I was dating at the time.

          • SuperStrapper

            It’s better to keep it forever as a passion than end up begrudging it as a job.

    • Raymond Wilkie

      I only do copies ( pen and ink ) mainly old masters ( or parts of ) I would need to sell about 2,000 to get my ideal watch but it goes on boring things like water and rates bills.

    • Joshua Shapiro

      Thank you for the kind words!

  • cluedog12

    Would like to see more content like this on aBlogToWatch. Ariel, have you looked at profiling Keaton Myrick?

    For for this work, it’s very impressive. The hand-tuned dial and movement look befitting a $25,000 watch.

    The overall style seems very similar to Daniels and Smith. Too similar, as it invites component by component comparison. Why would I give Roger Smith get a pass when his work looks so much Daniels? Well, I actually think Roger Smith’s hands look better than anything I saw on a Daniels watch. So it’s a personal opinion. O

    In five to ten years, I’ll bet Josh Shapiro will have his own style. Look forward to seeing this talented artist grow into his potential.

    • BNABOD

      just looked Keaton Myrick pretty impressive stuff thanks for the tip

      • Joe

        Agree, his watches are very impressive.

    • Joshua Shapiro

      Thank you for the kind words! Keaton is a fantastic watchmaker. He has been very forth giving of advice and time the last few years.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    Rogers lawyers are on it.

    Get your own style!

    • Ron-W

      Roger who ? That guy who copies Breguet you mean? Or was it Daniels ?

    • Joshua Shapiro

      Actually my watch most closely resembles a Frodsham pocket watch from the 1920s. Frodsham in turn was making their watch in the style of A.L. Breguet. Abraham Louie really trail blazed the style of grained silver chapter rings with engine-turning on the inside. It is a style that countless watch companies have emulated over the last two hundred years. What is my ” own style” is the new pattern I made in the sub seconds. Over the last 5 years Roger Smith has given me a lot of advice on how to engine-turn. He is really a class act.

  • Ron-W

    Nice watch! Legible too ! German engine can never go wrong.

    • Joshua Shapiro

      Thanks for the kind words!

    • Sheez Gagoo

      In the northern canton (as we say to Germany here) there’s a small enterprise named “Volkswagen”. In a way they managed to do so.

      • G Street

        Lol, yes, perhaps we need to relook at his stated figures, “21,600 bph you say Mr Shapiro? Our tests say otherwise …” 🙂

  • U.S.A.F.fan

    I’m new to the watch world, so I’m saying “kudos” to Mr. Shapiro, who is basically a guy working out of his garage. My only question is for all the armchair experts commenting here…when is the last time any of YOU made ANY part of a watch by hand? I’m just sayin’…

    • Raymond Wilkie

      So…Unless you have actually made a watch ( and some have ) I can’t comment on any watch i see? ….Just sayin’

      Moving on™

    • SuperStrapper

      So it’s not possible to understand or appreciate something at anything other than surface level unless you directly participate?

      Are you sure?

    • Mr. Snrub

      The guy running the world’s most popular watch blog is an attorney. Just Super Saiyan

      • U.S.A.F.fan

        And I didn’t sense that he was being anything but supportive to Mr. Shapiro. Per the above policy:

        “ aBlogtoWatch Comment Policy
        Be Respectful. Statements which promote a hostile or unwelcoming environment are not accepted on aBlogtoWatch.”

        This is the first time I’ve run into any less than idyllic comments here, but again, I’m new to all things “watch” related. C’est la vie, c’est la guerre.

        • John Taylor

          Marius would have a field day with your type. Welcome to the comments section rookie.

          • U.S.A.F.fan

            I’m typecast already…c’est la vie all over again. And, thanks?

    • Dimman

      I’ve worked on my own cases and dials. Do I have permission to comment, oh mighty gatekeeper?

    • Joshua Shapiro

      Actually as my wife likes to remind me the garage is gone. I remodeled it into a machine shop 🙂 Thanks for the kind words.

      • U.S.A.F.fan

        Oh man, if you took her parking space…oy. And apparently I accidentally started a small war of words on here. Ignorance WAS bliss, until this afternoon. Anyway, I’m cheering you on man. If I win the lottery, I might even get to order one of your watches…lol

        • Joshua Shapiro

          Well I appreciate your sentiment 🙂 People on this blog are very passionate and like to express their opinions. There are certain watch brands that I have a long list of opinions about too!

          • U.S.A.F.fan

            Ah…”opinions”. Therein lies the rub. Enjoy your evening, kind sir, and all the best in creating the worlds best watch someday.

          • John Taylor

            You do realize that the comments section is for opinions. You seem easily offended. Maybe stick to the H blog.

  • Mikita

    I was expecting to read R.W.Smith on the dial.. Was a bit surprised. Doesn’t look bad, but as others have said – 25-28k is too much pesetas for it. Urban Jürgensen looks like a better offer.

  • LetoAtreides69

    Seems a bit early to jump the shark and call this guy a George Daniels type – he engine turns dials, and is not actually a watchmaker at this stage. Nice looking watch and nice photos.

    • SuperStrapper

      That’s not jumping the shark. But I agree with the sentiment.

      • LetoAtreides69

        dictionary:
        informal
        (of a television series or movie) reach a point at which far-fetched events are included merely for the sake of novelty, indicative of a decline in quality.

        so agreed not best usage but i have a thing for ricky-isms

        • SuperStrapper

          Agreed: I’m reading this while driving. 2 birds get stoned at once.

          • Kivas Fajio

            That is a violation in most places, and very unsafe.

          • G Street

            Book ‘em, Danno!

    • Joshua Shapiro

      Thanks for the kind words. I have a long ways to go before I get to George Daniels level in terms of the movement, but I’ve spent the last 5 years working on getting to his level of dial making. In terms of watchmaking, it is a vague term. There is watch repair ( which I have some experience in) and there is actually making watch components I.E. machining. That I have a lot of experience in. You would be surprised how many of the exact same machining techniques go into making a dial like this that also go into making a watch movement.

      • LetoAtreides69

        thanks for the nice reply. keep up the good work

  • Buy and Sold

    A $3,000 premium for platinum over steel: that shows you want a bunch of BS the established makers are peddling with their precious metals premiums.

    • Joshua Shapiro

      I agree 100%

    • And keep in mind that platinum is typically 950 (95% pure) while most gold watch cases are 18K which means they are only 75% pure. So even when gold and platinum prices are comparable, a Pt case will cost more to produce as there is more precious metal used in the alloy case.

      • Dimman

        Denser too. So more grams of more expensive material in the same size/volume case.

        • Yep – that too (21.4 vs 19.3 for pure metals).

          • Dimman

            18k is usually ~15ish depending on alloying element.

          • 1 cc of 950 platinum is 20.33 grams of platinum (21.4 * 0.95)
            1 cc of 18K gold is 14.475 grams of gold (19.3 * 0.75)
            So yeah, a case made from platinum has 40% more precious metal by volume than a gold case. So at today’s price 1 cc of 18K gold has about $604 USD of gold while 1 cc of 950 platinum has about $597 USD of platinum. So it’s a wash today but only because Pt is running at $29.41/gram while gold is doing much better at $41.57/gram.

          • egznyc

            Always a pleasure to geek out with your figures/calculations, Mark. Now, that’s what 1cc will yield for each element. I’m able to move a decimal point to easily see what 10cc would yield – wait, we just had a discussion around that subject for a different watch with Guilloche dial ;-).

  • SuperStrapper
    • Raymond Wilkie

      The Roman numerals also look a bit patchy.

      • Joshua Shapiro

        Thanks for the feedback. My roman numerals are actually laser engraved then filled in with ink. It means over hundreds of years all you need to do is refill the numerals with ink , versus pad printing where if the ink comes off it is much more difficult to restore. This is the prototype so with so more fine tuning on my laser the tiny patches you see in macro photos will be gone too.

    • Joshua Shapiro

      Good spot! Heat diffuses really oddly at that point , and given this is the prototype this kind of mistake will be gone in the future. Thanks for the feedback.

  • FS1900

    Best of luck to Padawan Shapiro. Call me when he does one in texalium.

  • JOHN

    Great job what Josh has achieved here with his dial. no question about that. but it’s just too expensive, and “My prices are based on the labor” is not enough to justify it but offourse you can charge whatever you want . no offence it’s just my humble opinion. The other big question is how much value is your watch gonna hold upon resell?? all the best

    • Timestandsstill

      Depending upon how far he continues to progress with his passion and with a little more help from some already well known and talented collaborators, friends and suppliers this (finished product) watch could become quite a bit more valuable some day, possibly in the not too distant future. There are a number of well to do collectors who are patrons of low production, up and coming watchmakers who might likely be interested in some of these early pieces.
      I think it’s a very creditable first offering and I wish him well.

    • A bespoke, artisanal watch will always cost more than a series produced watch. Deal with it. If you like the product and can afford it – great, buy it. If not, the watch world has plenty of other choices for you. This is true for all watches, not just this one.

      BTW – the price of a Roger Smith watch also reflect his labor costs. Resale is a rather moot point for a bespoke watch from a low volume producer as there is not a large enough market to determine current market value. Plus I’d wager that most of Josh’s customers plan to keep their watch for the long haul. But valid discussion points…

      Cheers.

  • Berndt Norten

    The West Coast has the sunshine
    And the dials they are a tanned
    I dig a Carson sheeny on Hawaiian island dials
    By a palm tree in the sand

    I been all around this great big world
    And I seen all kinds of dials
    Yeah but I can’t wait to get back in the States
    Back to the coolest dials in the world

    I wish they all could be California dials

    • Joe

      Haha. Love this one 🙂

    • And I have a guilloche dial from Josh myself which I’m (slowly) having made into a watch using one of my Ka La cases and the same movement (UWD 33.1) as I have one also. In fact, Ariel had Josh get in touch with me over a year ago as Ariel knew I picked up a UWD movement (since I know Marco Lang from BaselWorld). I then gave Josh my impressions of the movement and gave him my contact info at UWD. Josh is a very cool guy and totally dedicated to quality. His family has a machine shop so while his “day job” is in education, he has a lot of family/personal history with precision machining. He had produced bespoke watches using Unitas 6497 form factor movements in the past but using the UWD 33.1 seems perfect for what he is doing these days.

      • Berndt Norten

        A Guilloche
        Made by Josh
        Delivered personally

        Inserted into the fa la la Ka La
        For all his friends to see

        Ooooh
        What a lucky man
        He was

  • Mark Rousell

    An interest article about a very beautiful watch. Good luck to Joshua Shapiro as he develops his watches and his business. In my view, the price is not excessive for this sort of craftsmanship.

    By the way, I note this little error in the article: “Over in England’s Isle of Man”

    The Isle of Man is not part of either the UK or England. Instead it is a self-governing state with its own parliament that is a Crown Dependency, i.e. it owes allegiance directly to the monarch but not to England or the UK.

  • Hats off to you Joshua!

  • Spangles

    I love this! Very cool. I might even buy one, or a successor.

  • Mark

    Too expensive in my opinion, The comparison between George Daniels or Roger Smith and Josh is not valid. Both Dr Daniels & his successor roger smith are true watchmakers. Roger nearly all his watch in house, dial, case, hands movement etc. while Josh assembles watch parts from differ vendors. the guy that mentioned the reselling value is spot on. Roger’s watches can go for higher value than it was initially sold.

  • IG

    The movement seems to be a wee neglected compared to the dial.

  • Ulysses31

    Isn’t the “Engine turned” badge on the dial a little superfluous?

  • Aditya

    I’m not sure why I’d buy this over a Breguet. I’d rather do that and buy a Kari Voutilanien than this.

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