- Posts: 45817
- Joined: December 16th 2009, 11:00pm
- Location: Oregon, Thanks for visiting! Now go back home!
With the hypnotic ticking of 10,000 watches still in his brain, Sisters watchmaker Keaton Myrick recently returned from a dream trip to Switzerland to attend BaselWorld 2012, the most important annual trade convention for the international watch and jewelry industry, held each spring in the German border town of Basel.
The prestigious event is the premiere destination and marketplace for luxury jewelers, precision timepiece manufacturers and collectors around the globe, with over 2,100 exhibitors and dealers representing nearly 50 countries, including such exclusive names as Rolex, Cartier, and Patek Philippe.
"I went to both show one of my finished watches to potential clients and get feedback from the watchmakers themselves," he said. "This is such a small industry and I'm really isolated here in Central Oregon. Going to Switzerland was monumental in my growth as an independent watchmaker."
After graduating from watchmaking school in Lititz, Pennsylvania in 2007, Myrick has been fine-tuning his skills over the past three years from his office at Beacham's Clock Company, doing pocketwatch and wristwatch repairs while crafting his own line of fine wristwatches, KM Independent Watchmaking.
For him, it was a privilege and honor to brush up against some of the legendary watchmakers in the industry while at the intensive eight-day marathon. Myrick took full advantage of his time in Europe to make new contacts, network and view some miraculous watches crafted by living legends he's looked up to for years.
"It was an amazing time and great opportunity to see the finest watches the world has to offer," he said. "How often to you get to see a $750,000 watch in person. It's overwhelming. The sheer wealth observed, being among Arab sheiks, billionaire CEOs and celebrities like George Clooney and Cameron Diaz, acting ambassadors for some of the high-end brands. Sharing my watches with these amazing artists was a humbling experience. The Rolex booth alone was essentially a little marble castle with a grand staircase and bridge built just for the show."
The event was held at a titanic convention center taking up multiple city blocks and encompassed over 160,000 square meters of exhibition space housing elaborate dealer pavilions, watchmaker tables, technical demonstrations and informative seminars. Over 100,000 visitors travel from all over the world to attend each year.
Myrick's trip turned out to be incredibly fruitful, as he has since received orders for two $18,000 watches.
"I do my best to make as much of the movement as I can right here in Sisters, Oregon," he explained. "All in all, 75 percent of the 200 components in this watch are made here. This includes the balance wheel, mainplate and bridges, but does not include the jewels, pinions and mainspring. The mainplate and all bridges are German silver and the name and number plaques are 18k yellow gold. All steel components except for the ratchet wheel are flat polished by hand."
During the week Myrick also got to see local tourist sites and visit the Patek Philippe Museum, where he saw priceless and historically important watches dating back to the middle of the 19th century.
"In Neuchatel, I got to see some modern watch factories, as well as historical buildings in the heart of Swiss watchmaking," he said. "On a grand scale, when people found out you were a genuine watchmaker you were welcomed and well-received wherever you went. This is a place where there are five to six generations of watchmaking in a family line."
The best part of the trip for Myrick was the invaluable feedback for his fine handmade timepiece.
"They shared manufacturing techniques that are timeless industry secrets, and that's not something people are often entrusted with or you get in an email. I also got to share my passion for watchmaking with others who understand the obsession."
To view one of Myrick's watches visit him online at www.kmindependent.com or call for a showing at Beacham's Clock Company in Sisters, 541-549-9971.
“Your heart was warm and happy
With the lilt of Irish laughter
Every day and in every way
Now forever and ever after."