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Progress report

I am just emerging from a 10 day bout with the flu. Fortunately the flu shot I received a few weeks ago worked pretty well so the flu I had didn’t knocked me out but it did slow me down. As a result I was only able to ship 2 more Kingstons last week.

At this point we have shipped up to and including C7 and #13. The stem issue is under control.

Shipping sequence

After the feedback from the forum I was concerned that we might have botched the sequence numbers for the Kingston orders. The most recent snow storm kept Winnie out of the office for two days last week but we were finally able to review the sequence and scheduling information late last week. I can confirm that the sequence is actually the exact same format as Docwein suggested we do on the forum.

Docwein:”Bill since we know there are 100 [Plankowner] Kingstons…..1 to 66 and C1-C34. Why can’t you print the list on the blog and check off the numbers as they are sent.”

The actual numbers themselves are different but the numbers are sequential. So therefore the sequence number C1 is unique (i.e. there is only one of them). Despite multiple attempts to explain the system to one customer in particular, his interpretation that there is more than one sequence number C1 (for example) is incorrect. To re-iterate….each sequence number is unique.

The delivery schedule is organized in the following manner:

  1. The first 50 BG W9 non-date watches will be delivered first. This will be followed by the first 50 C3 non-date watches. The third batch will be the date dialed Kingstons. After the third batch is delivered we will return to the beginning of this sequence and resume delivering BG W9 non-date watches, then C3 no-date watches….etc.
  2. The unique sequence numbers follow this delivery pattern set out above. For example the C3 batch of non-date watches begin with the sequence number C16 and 36.
  3. We chose this sequence because it filled the most orders in any given amount of time.
  4. We will attempt to have all of the date dialed Kingstons assembled in the same batch (i.e. BG W9, C3, and the BG W9 matte black dials). This may be complicated by how the assembler chooses to unpack the parts.
  5. Everyone’s sequence number within each batch is determined by their original sales order number from their first deposit (lowest to highest).
  6. The custom watch orders and the pre-built watch orders have separate sequence numbers because the custom watches will be expected to be completed at a slower pace.
  7. We will be working on at least shipping one custom watch order per week. Sometimes there will be more but we will be working on at least one custom order per week.
  8. We chose not to schedule deliveries using actual calendar dates because I anticipated that there would be a learning curve at the beginning of the process. In addition because of the complexity added by the number of options available and the operational restructuring the shipping schedule was too complicated to provide hard dates.

Regarding the pace of deliveries:

  • We are currently in the middle of an operational restructuring that we expect to complete by the beginning of March. The restructuring includes completing the delivery of the custom watch orders we received before we temporarily suspended custom watch ordering in order to restructure the company’s operations. The end result of the restructuring should make our scheduling more flexible and as a result delivery estimates more accurate.
  • The pace of deliveries will increase once we complete the restructuring and there should be a further increase in productivity once we complete the shipment of the Plankowners’ orders. The Planks each require parts kits that at the moment is adding to the delivery time.
  • We will report the highest sequence number that we have shipped that week beginning next week. We have chosen not to publish a visual summary of the watches delivered because the additional benefits would be outweighed by the processing time required to produce the visual summary.

3 more down….

I finished three more Kingstons during the second half of last week. It’s too early to extrapolate a “pace” but the new method for the stems is working out well.

As for photos I could only manage a really quick and dirty shot with an Iphone 4 app called the Hipstamatic. The photo above doesn’t really do the app justice. Its the first time I used this app and well I can only say the photos will get better. I will try to take some photos earlier on in the process.

Stem update

I have a good feel for the range of stem lengths that the watches require. Given that I am trying a different tack. I have pre-cut, glued, and lubricated 4 crown/stem assembles. Each stem is 0.05 mm longer than the previous one, allowing me to cover the range of lengths I have encountered. Technically I should be able to try one stem after another until I get an optimal fit. I have tried this method on a few watches and so far so good.

Usually you cut the stems so that there is a small gap between the top of the case tube and the crown. With that visual cue its relatively easy for an experienced person. Because the tube on this type of tube/crown assembly is always covered to some degree by the crown there is no clear visual guide as to how long the stem should be. The method described above should allow me to over come this issue and work more quickly.

I expect that we will be able to increase the volume of watches shipped per week. I do not know at this time the pace that we will be able to sustain.

Kingston Delivery

Shipments will start ramping up this week. I had to take an involuntary break last week from shipments in general due to the fatigue from the holiday schedule catching up with.

A note that deliveries will be shipped as quickly as I can manage. The reason we gave everyone “numbers” rather than a definitive shipment date has two reasons:

* Shipping such a large number of orders and with the variety of combinations available, scheduling everyone based on a hard ship date would have only invited disappointment. There are just too many orders and variables involved for hard deadlines.
* I wanted to go through the watches to identify any lurking issues that usually crop up when we start delivering in volume. In the Kingstons case the primary issue has to do with stem lengths, a minor and manageable issue. The tolerances for a functional stem length of this type of crown/tube assembly are unusually small. A little too long and the crown will “re-engage” the movement and resume winding the movement when the crown is almost closed. If the stem is too short it will skip the winding position and go to the 2nd position when you unscrew the crown.

The tolerance for a normal crown/tube assembly is about 0.05 – 0.10 mm. For the Kingston the tolerance is 0.0-0.03 mm based on the watches I have done so far. Based on these tolerances and the fact that we had some issues with the manufacture of the case tubes means that I will hand cutting each stem to fit every watch. Hopefully as I finish more watches a consistent ideal length will reveal itself but at the moment the ideal length varies with each watch. The difficulty I have encountered with the stem length is probably why you do not see this type of assembly on more watches.

An interesting note, I tested a watch with its crown open to 200 meters and it passed. That is extraordinary given that was not part of the crown’s specifications. However please note that that is not a guarantee because I won’t be testing each watch to 200 meters with its crown open. I just did the one watch to see what would happen.

Kingston Non-dates are here!

The non-date Kingston C3 and BGW9 watches are here! This is the first batch of 100 watches (50 of each type). If you received the e-mail about submitting your parts kit orders you are in this first batch. We are sending out a second batch of the non-dates and the first batch of date dialed Kingstons to the assembler in January.

The watches will be going out to the first 100 pre-order customers that ordered a non-date BGW9 or non-date C3 watch. I realize that this isn’t going to cover all of the Plankowners but this is the most efficient method to deliver as many watches as quickly as possible. However, this process still covers the vast majority of the Plankowners.

The watches arrive here in a semi-finished state. This is done so that we minimize process oriented damage to the cases and bracelets and to ensure the best alignment possible for the bezel and dial. The watches still need to be verified for timing and to have the protective coating removed. Shipments are expected to begin next week and the process to get the first 100 out the door will take several weeks to complete.