Watch It Made® is our educational programme introducing pre-GCSE children (11- to 13-year-olds) to engineering through the design and manufacture of their own quality personalised watch.

Key facts

    • Two Cranfield alumni, Armand Didier and Florian Caroff, were part of an MSc group project who went on to develop the educational experience as an engaging learning process.
    • More than 600 local school children have taken part to date.
  • Funded by Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) through the EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacture in Ultra Precision, with additional funding awarded by the EPSRC’s Impact Acceleration Accounts (IAA) and the Royal Academy of Engineering’s public engagement grant scheme, Ingenious.
Children making their watches.

Impact of our research

More than 600 children from local Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire schools have had significant engagement through the programme, actively making something using real engineering processes and machinery.

Watch It Made® has also delivered its watch-making experiences at the annual Cambridge Science Festival, the Glasgow Science Centre during the EPSRC Manufacturing the Future Conference, and at the National Physical Laboratory, celebrating the 60th anniversary of the atomic clock.

By delivering these watch-making workshops, it is hoped to capture children’s interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects and for them to experience pride in producing a high-quality engineered product prior to selecting their GCSE choices. Feedback from the children, parents and teachers is extremely positive, viewing the experience as both intellectually stimulating and enjoyable.

Two of our alumni, Florian Caroff and Armand Didier, were engaged in the very early stages of the project and developed the programme as an engaging learning experience but also developed a retail and franchise business concept that could enable a wider geographic engagement. Florian, who went on to work with the UK’s largest jewellery manufacturer, investigated and defined the modern machinery necessary for children to make watch components. Armand designed simple-to-use tooling that enables children to easily and safely assemble their own watch.

As well as the funding outlined above, the programme also received sponsorship from Hexagon Metrology, Contour Fine Tooling and Vauxhall Motors. As part of the Watch It Made® Go Mobile MSc group project, Vauxhall also generously provided a van to enable the watch-making experiences to be delivered off site.

Why the research was commissioned

One of the aims of the EPSRC Centre in Ultra Precision was to develop an educational outreach programme. The lack of young people entering the engineering profession in the UK also needed to be addressed.

Watch It Made® was developed as an outreach mechanism aimed at enthusing pre-GCSE aged children with a precision engineering activity, and an experience that brings manufacturing and engineering alive. Children produce a real product that they are proud to own and wear and the activity engages them in the design and manufacture of their own personalised watch, producing parts to their own design on modern machine tools in a safe, fun and friendly manufacturing learning studio.

Children, parents, teachers and other educators were engaged in the early development process through live demonstrations at the Cambridge Science Festival and at the Glasgow Science Centre during the EPSRC Manufacturing the Future Conference in September 2014. There were also two school field trips to the University to test the product ideas and process concepts with groups of local schoolchildren.

Why Cranfield?

The funding received was through the EPSRC-funded Centres for Innovative Manufacturing.

Watch It Made® allows children to choose the design of their watch face dial and see how it is printed using UV ink jet technology. The children then get to experience manufacturing, by diamond turning their watch case on a lathe. They can then personalise the back of their watch using an engraver and finally, they get to put all the pieces together, including some pre-supplied parts (such as the watch hands, glass and strap) before taking their watch home.

Facilities used

A bespoke studio in the Precision Engineering Institute containing a UV printer, modern lathe, engraver and assembly station.