Back in September, we travelled to Shenzhen to help our manufacturing partners during the assembly process for the Lightwell. Assembling a solar-powered watch is a painstakingly manual affair that requires meticulous attention to detail, but Mr. Joe and his team of experienced watchmakers perform quality assurance checks at every stage to ensure the structural and mechanical integrity of our watches.
To ensure our uncompromising standards for quality, our production team inspects each of the components prior to assembly.
The cases are examined for structural defects and blemishes on the brushed finishing. The sapphire crystals are checked for scratches on the anti-reflective coating. The hands and dials are examined for scuffs and consistent lume application. The solar-powered movements are fully charged from exposure to over 8 hours of light bright enough (10,000+ lumens) to replicate daylight conditions. Anything with cosmetic or mechanical issues are pulled from the production queue and set aside for correction or recycling.
The assembly process takes place a dust-free room. Once the dial and hands are set onto the movement, we test the hand alignment and the date wheel to make sure the date switches over at the correct time. Finally, the movement, dial, and hands are cased and the movements are tested in several positions to ensure accurate time, regulated at +/- 20 seconds per month.
Afterwards, the gaskets are lubricated, the crown is installed, and the caseback is screwed down tightly in preparation for the water-resistance tests. Although we proudly state that our watches are rated to 10 ATM, all of our watches are tested in a gas chamber with 15 ATM of pressure to guarantee that the crystal, caseback, and crown gaskets are fully secure and water-proof.
Watches that failed these water-resistance tests were pulled aside for re-assembly and tested again. Only watches that pass the water-resistance tests make it to final inspections.
Preparing for final inspections with Mr Wing (our supply chain coordinator)
These poor guys didn't pass the water pressure tests.
White dial Lightwells passing inspections
The final inspection is a thorough visual check of the watches, straps, and packaging to re-confirm that there are no aesthetic defects or inconsistencies. The watches are cleaned and polished once more, wrapped in protective film, and prepared for shipment.
Checking for dust, misaligned dials, and other cosmetic defects
Inspecting brand marks and hardware
Ready for cleaning and polishing!
Left to right: Mr. Joe (Factory Owner), Ms. Wong (Production Manager), Michael Belen (Centric Instruments Founder), and Mr. Wing (Supply Chain Coordinator)
We wrapped up the final inspections for three of the different Lightwell models earlier this afternoon and they queued up to be shipped to our distribution center in Oakland, California. We just have a few more tests to run on the Gunmetal Lightwells, but production is moving forward smoothly and we are on track to ship the Lightwell pre-orders by November!