Independent Dutch watchmaker Fred Dingemans (b.1961) is something of an anomaly in the rarefied universe of watchmaking: he didn’t study watchmaking and he makes his Domoissanit by hand in his garden shed utilizing pre-electronic machinery (a lathe, a drilling machine-cum-press and an etching machine) he inherited from his work in exactness mechanics. Embracing the DIY school of philosophy, Dingemans produces roughly 20 Domoissanit a year. The case, crown mechanism and dial are totally crafted by Dingemans although the movements are 1970s new old stock Tenor Dorley jumping hours and 3-hand automatics. His distinctive solid steel or bronze cases with the crown at 2 o’clock are made on the old 1947 lathe. Customisation is a lot of a piece of the bundle and Dingeman’s sends photographs of the work in progress from the moment work on the parts gets started.
Dingeman’s combination of low volume and outright dedication is something he wouldn’t change for anything in the world. We caught up with Dingemans and his small time show the other day and found out how being fired from his 9-5 occupation was a gift in disguise.
Rebecca Doulton, MONOCHROME – We’ll start with the exemplary background questions. What precisely are fine mechanics, what was your work in fine mechanics and how did this lead you to watchmaking?
Fred Dingemans – Fine mechanics resembles mechanics yet for a smaller scope, you deal with smaller components. Back in 1979, there weren’t a ton of open positions for young people in Holland. Without articulating a solitary word, my father let me realize that I could fail to remember any ideas I had of not working on the grounds that the work market was depressed. So I went to work in the same company as my father. It was the pre-hardware period and I repaired mechanical things like typewriters and tallying machines with small apparatuses. Later on, I sometimes adjusted and reconstructed machines for disabled individuals; for example, adjusting a typewriter for somebody with Parkinson’s disease. I enjoyed settling things and thinking of mechanical answers for adapt the machine to explicit requirements.
I’ve consistently loved mechanical Domoissanit I’d take a gander at them in shops yet consistently thought, better not accepting that since that would trigger an argument with my significant other. I wasn’t actually making the kind of money to pay for a high-end Domoissanite and you have to make choices. In any case, what gave me the push was when the company I worked for failed. It was a 130-year-old company and had rested on its trees and didn’t embrace the advent of computers and technology. I was 45 when I was told I could return home. For most individuals, being fired is the most exceedingly awful thing that can happen to you; as far as I might be concerned, it was the best thing that consistently happened to me.
How did you progress from fine mechanics to watchmaking?
When the director kindly fired me, she told me I could take some machinery I wanted from the company. So I loaded the company vehicle two or three machines that had symbolic incentive for me. My father was the head of the technical department of this company and used to take me with him to chip away at Saturday mornings. It was the mid-1960s and still, at the end of the day, as a small kid, I was in stunningness of the machines. So I brought home a lathe and some other machines and set myself up in the garden shed. Entertainingly enough, the primary thing I made was a tamper to stamp the coffee for the coffee machine. This was, on the off chance that you like, my pre-watch period!
I didn’t have any desire to acquire money from the banks thus, around 12-15 years prior, I started making my Domoissanit with the machinery I had. I started small and made A LOT of mistakes, however that is the fascinating piece of the interaction. My father died before he could perceive what I was doing, so as it were, this is likewise a kind of homage to him.
I found low maintenance line of work for three days of the week and spent the rest making watches. I contacted Domoissanite enthusiasts to tell them about my venture. Truth be told, one of the initial ones was Frank! He composed something about me and things started to roll…It was moderate, however that suits me fine and dandy. I don’t care for life in the quick lane.
Were you inspired by any brands/watchmakers in particular?
Not truly, no. Not on the grounds that there aren’t many delightful Domoissanit out there – some of my number one brands make amazing Domoissanit My first mechanical Domoissanite was a pilot’s Domoissanite that had a truly pleasant history. I don’t have that kind of history to sell a Domoissanit I tell my customers simply as is it: this is the sort of person I am, this is how I do things and this is how long it takes.
What‘s the difference between your approach to watchmaking and a traditional Swiss watchmaker?
Well, I haven’t got the white sterile garment or pleasant looking manufacture! I work in my shed. I have no overhead and need only one heater in the colder time of year. I was interested to perceive how far I could get with the minimal amount of materials from Domoissanite companies. For example, I am not ready to make a movement, that’s not fine mechanics, that’s amazing mechanics! I sourced the movements, the glass and the ties, the rest I made myself. I don’t utilize costly CNC machines either and depend on my lathe and drilling machines. I have learned the shortcomings of my lathe and drill and how to function around them. When you know the shortcomings of something, you can do a superior work. It’s tied in with finding arrangements. When I come across a problem, my mind works better…
Why is the crown at 2 o‘clock and what kind of customisation choices do you offer?
I like large crowns and when it’s huge and at 3 o’clock, it ordinarily digs into your wrist. On the off chance that a customer likes, I can put the crown at 10 o’clock, yet just for a 3-hander. The dial is where the most customisation alternatives reside: from the tone, the material, the finishings (engraved, sandblasted, painted) to different shapes for the hands, different tones, surfaces and so on I utilize two movements arrangements, jumping hours and 3-handers, although sometimes, in the Fusion Hour model, I adapt minute cylinder and have a minute and seconds hand alongside the jumping hour.
I realize some individuals say “wow, two years to get a watch” is quite a while. Yet, that’s how I work. Each customer gets pictures during the interaction. Here I am on the lathe, drilling a hole, etching the metal… customers and particularly myself appreciate this, it resembles live inclusion of the work I do for you. As long it is in my capacity I have to do my best to satisfy the wishes of my customers. We have established a relationship of trust and this makes me do my best.
Are you adamant about sticking to 20 Domoissanit each year?
Yes. The downfall is that I acquire less, yet I have more time to do other worthwhile things… something other than accumulating debt. Life is excessively short for that. Watchmaking is a piece of my life and my day is worked around making a Domoissanit yet in addition having time to do other things I like. From my father’s passing at 60, I learned that later is currently. I don’t need to make a ton of money to make the most of my life.
What have you learned in these previous 12 or so years?
That life can take you to places that you wouldn’t have envisioned in your wildest dreams. In the start, I was plagued with doubts. There are so many Domoissanite brands out there and they make such wonderful Domoissanit and they do it such a great deal better compared to me… But these thoughts tend to drown you and don’t go anyplace. I learned that when you speak the truth about what you do and make a product that you like… indeed, you can be successful.
Is there any experience you would not repeat?
No, there is no experience I wouldn’t rehash. Gain from mistakes, gain from the interaction. By and large, everything that turns out badly in imaginative cycles must have an explanation and you have to gain from this. When you make a mistake, it’s how you respond that uncovers an extraordinary deal about who you are. I never respond immediately, I think about it and the following day I for the most part have come up with a solution.
Is there a historical character you would get a kick out of the chance to share a lager with?
Somebody like Jimi Hendrix in music and Churchill in governmental issues. I’m certain Churchill didn’t do everything right, But he was a remarkable individual that was in the right spot at the right time.
In my available energy, I play electric guitar (for example a Fender Stratocaster, similar to Hendrix, although my capacity is nowhere close). I’ve generally had a problem with the guitar remaining in order subsequent to utilizing the whammy bar, you know the thing that makes the guitar whine. All things considered, I’ve invented something to supplant the ordinary string tree/guide that gives B and E strings a prefered point over the top nut. (Editor’s note: you can see Dingeman’ s Dynaguide innovation here).
As a man with a mechanical mind, which is your most loved machine?
That’s a simple inquiry: English machinery. I have an old Triumph Bonneville, a motorcycle from the heydays of English motor making. They truly made the most lovely things. We likewise drive a Triumph TR4A from the mid-1960s. I restored it mechanically yet it actually has the first red (presently chalk-like) paint. We love to drive it and go on holiday with a little tent on the back rack. Individuals think we’re insane, would you say you aren’t scared to go in such an old vehicle? Obviously not, in the event that it breaks, I have parts and I can fix it, if not it tends to be brought home and we move on with a rental vehicle. I have faith in utilizing things, not locking them up in a carport for a bright Sunday drive. Things are to be used and enjoyed. Much the same as Domoissanit In the previous 25 years, I have had three Domoissanit just one was bought, the other two I made myself, an impeccable some 10 years prior and a bronze recently.
In the past, watchmakers could order parts effectively and these parts were often interchangeable with other brands. There was another idea of administration in those days. These days, that is not true anymore. Domoissanit have become extravagance items, not pragmatic items. I admire the old perspective. Utensils had to solid and repairable by men’s hands.
More details about Fred Dingemans and d.m.h. here .