It is possible to invent a single machine which can be used to compute any computable sequence. Alan Turing.

» Posted by on Nov 4, 2014 in General | 0 comments

It is important to remember that there were no computers as we know them today, before Turing came up with his idea, but there were humans.

Clerical workers with enough mathematical skill, patience, and pride in their work to generate reliable results of hours and hours of computation, day in and day out. Many of them were women.

Thousands of them were employed in engineering and commerce, and in the armed forces and elsewhere, calculating tables for use in navigation, gunnery and other such technical endeavors.

Genetic movement and evolution.

To this day many people cannot get their heads around the unsettling idea that a purposeless, mindless process, genes at work, can crank away through the eons, generating ever more subtle, efficient, and complex organisms without having the slightest whiff of understanding of what it is doing.

Demonstrating that making a human body for example, it is to make a perfect and beautiful machine, not requisite to know how to make it.

The world today, you will encounter jobs in which people had to understand mathematics in order to do their jobs. We know and realise that this is not necessary: you could take the task and squeeze out the last tiny bits of understanding, leaving nothing but brute, mechanical actions.

In order to be a perfect and beautiful computing machine, it is not requisite to know what arithmetic is.

Watchmaking is deeply entrenched here. When I look at a watch, I can tell, so can but a handful of people sadly, whether the maker had to know, deeply understand, what he is doing at each stage. Not every stage, that would be a tad evil.

The Greubel Forsey is one. You hold that 200 gram thing, it’s massive, but with deep purpose to contain a balance wheel and often 2 concentric tourbillons, not one gyro, but two, one within another.

Making this machine, you will sense, and upon owning one, after a year or so….realise that the makers had to KNOW what he/she was doing, even at the bit stage…what needs to happen after the part leaves his/her work desk.

Tolerances are extremely small here.

Go backwards in this blog to see more pictures.

I did not jump at the chance to speak for Greubel Forsey…because I can humbly think of 100 people more qualified than I.

More deserving.

However, I could not take a chance that this small part, but nonetheless critical, part of philosophy must not be missed.

Making any watch, most watchmakers need only to understand ONE task, their own. They need not know the next.

Making the Greubel Foresees, at least the Double 30 Vision and the 24 rapid tourbillon would require, I didn’t ask the 2 men, a knowledge of what was as well as what will come next.

Even though it is not their job.

Being in medicine, I understand this. Sadly, not all doctors do.

It is crucial to good practice to know what was before the illness, as well as what will happen after the treatment. It is easy to see this.

Selling a product, making a complex machine, the worker need not know where these parts came from. He/she need not know where or who is buying them.

At Greubel Forsey’s 100 or less watches a year, they are making furiously as fast as possible….they have to know, at these critical numbers, who and maybe why, these watches are purchased. To understand their customers.

At lower numbers…not so important. At higher, you dive into marketing.

After 10 years, 45,000 Langes will exist, and 10,000,000 Rolex maybe, and 850,000 Pateks.

Then you have 800 Grebel Foresees.

Maintenance? These are built like tanks. Made to display their machinery and easier to fix if anything goes awry.

Too pricey? You must understand how well made they are, and how far they are, from the next competitor.

Can’t see it? Digital photos are too rare, customers are not likely to be many.

These watches cost more than 2 Porsches or most Rolls Royce.

Longevity was dressed from day 1….almost if not guaranteed immortals.

It took 12 to 16 years for Lange to fly off the shelves, and faster for the more attractive Richard Mille and others…but a Greubel Forsey is like an extremely well made Rolls, too subtle to stand out from her sisters…

Until she sings.

It’s something like so.

Happy 10 birthday Greubel Forsey.

When watchmaking came back to life after quartz, many connoisseurs waited for the day that an almost perfect, money no object, machine could appear…and be beautiful also. The price was anticipated.

I am glad I saved.

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