Dan Spitz was Anthrax's co-founder and lead guitarist since the early '80s, and when he quit in 1995, it was a bit of a shock. Seen from afar, his actions could have been misinterpreted as a meltdown: Spitz "started tearing the stereos out of his cars, removing all music from his house of all forms and nature and gave more than fifty touring and studio guitars away to hang on the walls of the Hard Rock Cafes around the globe."
Spitz, however, had a plan, one that dated back to when he was eight years old. "Ever since my [grandfather] showed me the inside of a Patek Philippe as a young child I could never see straight again," he writes. "I fixed everything in my house I could get my hands on." Thus Spitz, after leaving the band, began studying both micro-mechanical engineering and micro-electrical engineering, with the goal of becoming a Swiss-trained Master Watchmaker.
After attending the Joseph Bulova School of Watchmaking and completing several apprenticeships, Spitz won a scholarship to the WOSTEP (Watchmakers of Switzerland Training and Educational Program) in Neuchatel, Switzerland.
Today Spitz holds a laundry list of watchmaking diplomas, runs two luxury watch service centers, serves as a watchmaking instructor and has held titles like "Master Watchmaker of Complications Specialist" for Chopard and Leviev. His latest endeavor has been to design a highly specific type of furniture: An ergonomic watchmaker's bench.
As Spitz explained in an interview with Hodinkee,
I brought over a few benches from Switzerland, since I wanted a bench with my specific requirements, but they were $10,000 or more. So I designed something out of raw ergonomic design – I spent 3 years designing the bench in CAD and making prototypes. The result was the best bench I have ever used. Watchmaking is an ergonomically horrible job, you are hunched over, your arms are falling asleep, and you are just asking for carpal tunnel syndrome. The first thing new watchmakers should save for is not tools, but a really good bench.
From the description on the product page:
The working surface where the green matting sits has been thought out for months for its unique shape. It leaves a wider mouth where your larger tooling sits at the back end, and oil cups can be brought in or out and still leaving the extended main working surface angling out from the beautifully rounded front edge where your chin often sits giving you the feeling of much more room to work comfortably. Use your own green or white matting as it comes pre routed at the common depth for the usual.
Spitz points out that the $10,000-plus Swiss-made watchmaker's benches typically have 1.5-inch thick tops; he reckons his design is a better buy at $2,275 for only the top, which is double the thickness at three inches for stability, with the thought being that the customer adds their own legs. "You can buy the top and slowly upgrade your bench as your funding allows you to," he writes.
There are manufacturing shots and more details on the bench's construction viewable here. Judging by both, Spitz seems pretty obsessed with the quality of his product, right down to the shipping. "It comes crated so well," he writes, "you will wonder how long the crate took to make before you even open the bench."
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