Introduction: Display Frame for Watches

I usually wear a Tikker "Happiness Watch," (other brands of watch are available) but I have also inherited a couple of nice watches which I sometimes wear. To store these safely, to display them, and to use up the sheet of glass left over after building a previous project, I decided to make a display frame for them.

This was to mount on the wall and hold the watches up for admiration, while also having a hinged front which would allow me to remove a watch if I wanted to wear it.

Step 1: Building the Back of the Frame

As well as two old mechanical watches, I also have a geek watch, which tells the time in binary. This one had the longest strap and the widest face, so it was used to size the frame.

In the first picture can be seen the scrap plywood which was used for the back of the frame, the much nicer plywood which would be used to make the front, the sheet of glass from the previous project and the watch.

The watch was laid on the glass and various lines drawn on the scrap plywood to get the sizes needed.

The back was made from a layer of 12mm (1/2") ply which had an area in the centre removed, and then a sheet of 6mm (1/4") ply which provided the back.

After drilling a pilot hole to allow the blade entry, the hole in the thicker ply was cut out with the jigsaw. Then the two layers of low-grade ply were glued and clamped together.

Step 2: Building the Front of the Frame

The front of the frame was made from three layers of nice hardwood ply. This was so that the glass could be slid in after construction (and replaced if it breaks) while it was still held securely for when the front of the frame is opened.

Two pieces of ply were cut with square holes slightly smaller than the size of the glass sheet, and one into a U-shape slightly larger. These were layered up with the U-shaped piece in the middle of the sandwich and glued together.

Once the glue was cured, the edges of the sandwich were sanded to even up any imperfections in the alignment of the three layers.

Step 3: Painting, Varnishing and Lining the Frame

To finish the front of the frame, a combined stain and varnish was used. Four coats were put on, sanding before and between coats.

The back half of the frame was painted matt black, with one coat of primer and two topcoats.

To cover the area of the back of the frame visible through the glass, self-adhesive green felt was used. Once the paint had dried the hole was measured and a piece of felt cut out and fitted.

The last picture shows it looking pretty good. A desktop pool game may be on the to-do list.

Step 4: Adding Support Bar

To hold the watches in place while the frame hung vertically, a small wooden bar was fitted just below the top of the hole.

The rail had to stand off from the base of the back of the frame enough to allow the buckle of the watch strap to pass underneath, but be low enough that the back of the frame would fit against the front.

Various pieces of scrap wood were glued together to make a bracket. The bracket was covered with scraps of the same self-adhesive felt as the back of the frame and then it was held in place with a couple of woodscrews driven in from the rear of the back of the frame.

Step 5: Hinges, Hooks and Hangers

Finally, all the bits of furniture had to be added.

The hinge which had been test fitted before painting the pieces was refitted, then a pair of hanging loops were screwed to the back of the frame.

Two jewellery-box catches were attached with short panel pins.

Finally some hanging wire was threaded between the two hanging loops and fastened.

Step 6: Crimes Concealed

The main mistake in this project was that the bar supporting the watches was mounted too low down in the frame, which meant that it intruded into the visible space, as shown in the first picture above. This wasn't noticed until the frame was hung on the wall.

When the bar was moved up 10mm (1/2") it looked much better.

After unscrewing the bar and re-attaching it higher up (and taking care to actually have it horizontal), there were a couple of squares of felt where the pile had been crushed flat by the attachments, and two small holes where the screws had been.

A sharp bradawl was used to tease up the crushed pile.

A small square of scrap felt was cut and placed over each screw hole, and then the fibres were teased across the join with the point of a knife.

The second picture above shows how much better the new position looked.

The other problem with the project was that even with the holding bar, the watches tended to slip down the frame. A small scrap of wood was used underneath the strap buckle to hold them in place. That works fine, and is hidden by the front of the frame when it is hanging on the wall.