From traditional manual workbench machines still often used in some contemporary workshops to the most sophisticated digital machines associated with high technology, this chapter aims to catalogue all the machines used in the watchmaking process. The operating principles of each machine, the advantages and disadvantages they may present, or the materials they use are detailed therein for a better understanding of watch operation and manufacturing.


Whether manual or electric, a lathe is a machining tool used for producing components primarily of circular forms.


A milling machine is a motorized machining tool equipped with a rotating spindle that holds the cutting tool (milling cutter), whose form is tailored to the machining to be performed.


The stamping presses allow to cut, stamp and bend the material (usually metal) using a die and a punch. Such presses can be operated manually or hydraulically. Depending on their design and intended use, hydraulic presses can be automated and perform sequences of operations by successive strikes (progressive stamping).


With the help of a drill, the drilling machine is used to drill holes. In watchmaking, it is mainly the pillar drills that are used.


Face-lathe is an old hand operated lathe. It is still regularly used in the restoration industry for machining plates or bridges. Fixed chisels are often centuries old but still have great precision.


Engine-turn machine is a machine, often a century old, which allows guilloche decorations to be made, often on dials but also sometimes on watch cases.


The automatic lathe, known as a profile-turning machine, appeared at the dawn of the 20th century, and its automation was initially mechanically controlled by cam systems. Since 1980, electronics and computer technology have enabled the numerical control of automatic lathes, allowing for fully autonomous operation.


CNC is the acronym for “computer numeric control” and is similar to a multi-axis computer-controlled lathe.


An electrical discharge machine allows the machining of conductive metal parts because it uses electricity to machine its parts. It has the advantage of being able to machine several dozen parts one on top of the other and thus be very efficient.


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