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Kingston Update

The parts kit ordering page is up. At the moment we are only taking orders from the first 100 customers that we will be shipping to first so we can concentrate on shipping rather than the paperwork for all of the customers. We have updated the ticket system to provide those customers with the ordering link. The ordering link will not be publshed in a public way on the site. You will need to login to the ticket system or refer to the e-mail generated by the tickert system to get the url address.

Please note that unless you order a black or gold date wheel and/or an extra strap you will not need to submit payment. You may choose the “PayPal” payment option that will allow you to check out without submitting payment. If you are purchasing a black or gold date wheel and/or strap please check out as normal and remit payment.

If you have any questions please send us an e-mail.

Kingston Update

The watches are leaving Swtizerland some time this week. Our plan at this point is to begin shipments next week. We just finished updating the tickets for the first batch of BWG9 and C3 customers and I will be working on the parts ordering page later today. We will do our best to deliver as many orders in time for Christmas as we can.

Kingston Update

There will be a new update available by Monday, Dec. 6th.

Kingston: Prep for Assembly

Here is what we do for each batch of components going out for assembly. It’s far from just shoving a bunch of components into a different box and shipping them out to Switzerland. I apologize in advance for the picture quality. These were quick and dirty shots I took during different stages of the process.

Each component is individually inspected; the dials, hands, cases, movements, and case backs.

Each of the hands and dials are carefully and individually packaged for safe transport:

For security reasons I am not going to post the pics of the final packaging used

For this first batch I did the work on the movements personally. I removed the day/date wheels and other parts to make the watches operate as non-date movements. The spare parts have already been packed and are ready for inclusion with the parts kits when the watches return from Switzerland.

The following is the work done on the cases…First we have to attach the crowns to the case body. As you will see in the other post that is also going up today the case supplier, like much of the rest of the industry, is under a lot of production capacity stress. During the process the case supplier actually lost 400 of the specially made Kingston crowns in October 2010. This is a rare occurrence, especially for a case supplier of this caliber. Basically it comes down to the fact that many manufacturers (like in the US) are short staffed but in the case of the watch industry they can’t train up enough people fast enough to fill the void left by the fallout from the Lehman Brothers collapse in Sept. 2008. The box shown below is all that we had (about 200 pieces)

After 2 weeks of urgent communication the crowns were confirmed to have been lost and I reached out to the crown supplier to find out the turnaround time. I was preparing for the worst, that is to say a lead time of about 3-6 months because Christmas is fast approaching and as I noted above anyone worth working with is now jammed with work.

Here the cases are being laid out on a workbench so that I can begin applying a protective coating to the casebodies before their trip to Switzerland.

Here half of the cases are covered with protective paint. I have to start turning over the case bodies so that I can apply coating to the mirror finished case backs. The case manufacturer didn’t use stickers to protect the case backs as the stickers can leave a residue. On polished case backs trying to remove the residue would guarantee the customer would end up scratching their brand new case back.

Now the cases are ready to be packed up with the rest of the parts for shipment to Switzerland. The protective blue coating you see here you won’t see when you receive your watches. We remove the coating with a special process so that we can do one final inspection before shipment.

About the crowns…We got exceptionally good news, almost too good to be true in fact. The crown supplier had made a lot of extras when they made the original order so the lead time was in fact only 6 weeks rather than months. I didn’t want to say anything until I actually had the crowns in hand because frankly I just couldn’t believe it. However here they are….we just got them in last week…

As you can see the label notes 400 pieces, invoiced on November 8, 2010. The order was actually 11 days early.

Sorry to keep everyone in the dark but one of the reasons this update was delayed was because of the crown issue. This isn’t the kind of news that I wanted you guys to worry about until I had a better answer than “may be it will be okay”. November 19th was going to be the date we either new everything was okay or we were f**ked. Fortunately it worked out…well except for the cost of the new crowns.

The first batch of C3 parts arrived at the assemblers late last week. We will be putting together the parts kit ordering pages over the next two weeks and e-mailing the Plankowners and the others that are eligible to order the spare parts kit at that time. Thanks for everyone’s patience. Everything is going as fast as it can be done, which is to say with the requisite amount of care. My apologies for the lack of updates but updates take time. I am not saying you aren’t entitled to them but I do have to balance the priorities. This update and the updates from the last few days have take more than 12 hours solid hours of work to put together and post. But that is also the reason we have put together a new strategy that will be put into practice at the end of January 2011.

Kingston Update

The second batch of parts is almost ready to go to Switzerland. I am currently working on the C3 non-date Kingstons and getting them ready for assembly.

I still have to post the pics I took from the BG W9 preparation which will give you a better idea of the scope of the process. In a nut shell though the process takes about 30 minutes per watch.

Kingston Test Assembly: Part 3B

A look at the inside of the Kingston and the final stages of assembly. In this first pic you see the under-appreciated movement ring. The Kingston movement ring is clamped into the case body rather than using a metal or plastic ring that relies on the case back to hold the movement in place. This more complicated case construction method is more secure and lasts longer than the compression type movement rings normally found at this price range. This caseing method also leads to better time keeping.

A picture of the front of the watch. The installation of the bezel comes next. I always do the bezel installation last so that I can line the bezel up with the dial more precisely.

Now the final regulation of the movement.

Here is a peak at my notes from the regulation. I don’t normally publish this information as the accuracy on the bench always varies a little with the timing experienced in the real world due to factors such as how much the watch is worn and temperature. After a number of years of experience it seems that +5 seconds a day, averaged across the positions, seems to be ideal for a new movement of this grade. The positional deltas are also particularly good on this movement. If you look back to the first post where I did the first QC of the movement you will see that the timing has changed after the movement has been cased. The movements always perform differently after they are cased.

Now getting ready for the bezel installation. The key components below: bezel inlay, water proof double sided tape, and the bezel itself.

After some tweaks to the retention spring and the click spring the bezel is mounted using a crystal press.

And now a final cleaning of the inside of the case body and a final check of the screws to make sure everything is tight before we close up the case back.

The watch easily passed its final water resistance tests and the bracelet can finally be attached. It took a few days to finalize spare parts kit with the cusomer and get it together before shipment.

When it was finally ready to go it was a little too late in the day and I wanted to get the watch in the mail. As a result I forgot to snap a final picture of the whole package.