Watchuseek Blog

Friday, August 17, 2012

The remarkable renderings of W. P. Rayner

Do you ever marvel at those incredibly intricate and accurate ‘exploded’ tourbillon watch movements that let you see in glorious 3 dimensional details how all the tiny cogs, wheels, screws and hairsprings fall into place?

Paul Rayner is one of the guys who creates them. It takes endless hours of furious concentration, super-glued to a computer and living a vampire-like existence. He’s been creating 3D CAD work and rendering for seven years now. Initially he focussed on motorcycle and historic technology subjects and completed a lot of work for model-makers, especially those  interested in historically accurate models of railway prototypes. 

With the continuing decline in recent years of the popularity of the model-making market, Paul has had to shift his attention to horology and automotive subjects. However this is not such an unexpected development as may at first seem. Paul’s affinity for horology comes naturally as my father, grandfather and great uncle were all watchmakers, so Paul is in a sense carrying on a family tradition.

In his possession, Paul has a small collection of clocks that have been passed down through the family along with his grandfather's watchmaker's bench, various tools and pieces of equipment. 

Given the strength and sophistication of the high-end horology market, Paul believes he has identified a niche, particularly among independent watch makers, to market 3D CAD and product visualisation services to enable watchmakers to demonstrate the ingenuity and sophistication of their tourbillions.

To this end he has been preparing several renderings and drawings as part of his portfolio with the hope of amazing industry clients with his 3D CAM skills. 

Paul produced some Tourbillon renderings for that purpose. These renderings (four to date) were derived from open-source CAD drawings. The Tourbillons were not drawn from scratch but rather modified from existing drawings. 

The most dramatic modification is the exploded view of the co-axial Tourbillon.
Normally Paul renders his own drawings, but in this instance he worked closely with the stock drawings.

To demonstrate his capabilities in the field, Paul has selected 6 projects including ‘exploded’ tourbillons by four leading independent watchmakers to draw and render. These include:

Vianney-Halter's Classic 

Beat Haldimann's H-1

   Peter Speake-Marin's Tourbillon Pocket Watch 

McGonigle Brothers' Tourbillon

These are all gasp-inducing high-end contemporary watches which will doubtless prove incredibly challenging to recreate in 3D. When completed, renderings of each watch will be sent to each maker as a means of introducing Paul’s services.

As if that’s not enough, Paul has been working on a drawing of Jaeger-LeCoultre's
Gyrotourbillon escapement which is truly testing his technical knowledge of
Tourbillon construction, while at the same time presenting a significant drawing challenge. 

The sixth project is a pin-wheel escapement movement from a
Jeweller's Regulator in Paul’s personal collection. With the exception of the
Regulator, he works from reference photographs of the selected watches and
extrapolates needed dimensions from known dimensions, usually just the case
diameter and thickness.

What about software? Well, Microsoft Paint it ain't. Paul uses Autodesk Inventor Pro almost exclusively for all his drawing work as its parametric approach suits both the subject matter and his somewhat OCD way of thinking. (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – come on, you can’t hope to do this kind of work without being both obsessed and compulsive).

Paul also uses Autodesk Alias for more involved surface modelling and Solidworks. All of his renderings are produced in Luxion's Keyshot 3 Pro. Being obsessive, Paul spends a great deal of time creating textures that represent as closely as possible those used by the original watchmakers and developing the appropriate evocative lighting is always one of the greatest challenges.

Paul's portfolio

 Tourbillon Watch Escapement

Exploded Tourbillon

 Co-Axial Tourbillon

 Jaguar MKII

To find out more about Paul's incredible 3D work, visit or contact him directly at

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