There were many incredible makers at the recent Maker Faire Austin. I really enjoyed walking around and seeing both familiar and new sights while I visited. While I was genuinely impressed by many exhibitors, I have to admit that the watchmakers are the ones that really caught my attention, and brought me back over and over to see what they were doing.

At first glance, the booth was bright, colorful, and has deliciously detailed mechanical items on display, clicking and clacking as they show their functions. As you get closer, you see that it isn’t just a display of some watch parts (an assumption I incorrectly made), but rather a well rounded exhibit showing learning demos, tools, hands-on teaching apparatus, and knowledgable excited watchmakers eager to share their craft.

This was their first time visiting Maker Faire, which came as a bit of a surprise as most institutions fail to fully grasp the hands-on nature of Maker Faire until halfway through their first event. This was not the case with the watchmakers guild. I saw children assembling giant plastic clocks, which routinely exploded, throwing parts everywhere, as eager kids opened them prematurely. Small crowds consistently gathered to watch the live feed from a microscope showing the inner workings of a mechanical wristwatch ticking back and forth, and I personally spent time mesmerized by the giant scale and fully functional mechanical watch.

 

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Oversized functional displays help people learn how watches work

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Various watch examples

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the tiniest ones on the left are the real thing. The larger metal ones are 10x size and the red items on the right are 100X models!

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various tools of the trade

 

You can find more information at the website for the American Watchmakers / Clockmakers Institute