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Ian Coote

Victorian MICROTECH

Adventures in vintage watch restoration.

Written and photographed by Tim Hunkin

I didn’t know much about watches until my aunt died and I inherited an astonishingly beautiful pocketwatch from her. Looking online, I found it was made in Switzerland around 1800. It didn’t run, and when I opened the case I thought a small worm had gotten trapped inside. On closer inspection it wasn’t a worm but the tiniest chain I had ever seen, a perfect microscopic bicycle chain with links smaller than half a millimeter (above right).

I really wanted to take the watch apart to see how it worked but I was nervous because it was obviously ...

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