Michael Chung was born in Xiantao, Hubei, China in 1987 and took an early interest in mechanics and electronics. In 2005 he attended the Wuhan University of Technology where he received a degree in Mechanical Design Manufacture and Automation in 2009. After graduation, he moved to Shanghai and spent eight years working in the field where, amongst other things, he designed a 6-joint robot as well as registering several technical patents.
In 2011 Michael had his first experience with watchmakers' lathes when he, purely by chance, joined a state-run company that manufactures watch equipment and tools. At his place of work, he met several master watchmakers and discovered that Chinese-made lathes for watchmakers then on the market were deficient in both quality and design. As a result, the lathes he used often failed to perform satisfactorily and it was necessary to use ones from foreign markets. Even so, these imported lathes were hard to find, varied in quality with hit-and-miss alignment problems, had accessories that were difficult to source and suffered from a lack of after-sales service. As a result, Michael decided he would design and build a watchmaker's lathe that was reasonably priced, had a broad range of accessories and a high standard of precision. In 2016 he moved back to Wuhan to establish his business.
Since its inception, Michael's CZ50 lathe has evolved through five generations - and he's also developed several other specialized machine tools such as a CNC milling machine for watchmaking, a bench drill, and other machines customised for clients. The growth of the business has resulted in him employing a small team of highly skilled professionals - all of this, and he's only 35 years old.
A recent buyer of a CZ50, a professional watchmaker, reports: "Here is what I know - and why I like the CZ50 Michael Chung lathe. It is extremely precise and well-made. The modern upgrades, like the CNC indexer, powered milling attachment, CNC thread cutter, and cantering camera help to simplify setups and reduce running time on complex operations - and just makes everything faster. From my experience, Schaublin B8 (8 mm) collets fit the head and tailstock and the milling attachment takes collets type ER11. The cross side is especially well made and I do not experience any backlash; it's also arranged to allow the use of digital indicators on both the Z and X travels. I'm using a Heidenhain ND1102 as a DRO and the precision and repeatability are just 'on another level'.
When I purchased my lathe the maker was not well known - and it was a bit scary because I had to pay by bank transfer. The price was $5500, plus accessories at an additional cost. I believe that each lathe is assembled when ordered with the headstock, tailstock and cross table all ground to fit an individual bed and the parts have matching serial numbers. Once half the purchase price is made, you receive a serial number, they assemble the lathe and send test videos displaying the serial numbers and testing runout on the headstock, milling head, tailstock cantering, the bed and cross table flatness and a few other measurements. Together with the videos, manuals are supplied on a USB stick; these are not the best, but everything is fairly easy to figure out.
Like most traditional WW (Webster Whitcombe) watchmaker lathes, CZ50 has a 50 mm center height, but for much of my work I still need a larger lathe for many operations. I believe that Michael is working on a CZ70, a version that would be an ideal size for me (just as the English Pultra was made, after WW", in two centre heights the 17/50 and 1770..
Yours, Andrew James., USA
Around 200 examples have been sold during the last five years with sales to China and exports to the USA, Canada, the UK, Germany, France, Switzerland, Italy, Slovakia, Russia, Uzbekistan, the UAE, South Korea, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, and Cambodia.. It was reviewed, and demonstrated by David Lindow , Zach Smith and other watchmakers at a AWCI meeting and Plumier Foundation Symposium and has received much good feedback from watchmakers worldwide.
Like many post-1945 lathes for watchmakers, the CZ50 was mounted on a heavy and rigid base and equipped with a built-in drive system and switchgear. Examples of the type include the Boley F1, IME Models 100 and 300, Leinen WW82 and WW83, Andrä & Zwingenberger, B.I.M.T.P. (Beijing Instrument Machine Tool Works) Model C0608-1 of the 1970s, Cowells CW and the rather more complex and heavy stand-mounted Schaublin 70
The full specification of the CZ50 is at the bottom of the page