Watch dial making process

- Apr 02, 2019-


Watch dial production seems simple, but it is quite complex, involving a large number of processes, from relief printing to twist-line sculpture, from gemstone inlay to coated luminous materials. These skills are very professional, which is the integration of aesthetics and technology between designers and engineers. It requires special equipment and high-quality staff. Most high-end watchmakers only design the dial, which is then manufactured by a specialized dial manufacturer. These include Stern Creations, acquired by Lifeng Group in 2000, or Cadran'or, an independent dial manufacturer. Of course, a few brands are self-contained (including self-made dials), such as Rolex and Palma Johnny.


The first process of dial manufacturing - base plate


The dial design is an integral part of any watch and brand image. Customers submit design drawings and engineers are responsible for converting them into engineering design specifications and manufacturing processes. The work and complexity of the dial depend on the design, the function of the machine core and the degree required for the surface treatment process. For example, a large calendar must have a large hole in the dial, and a moon dial must be printed for the moon phase indication. The chronometer dial means additional steps in the manufacturing process. Because some types of decals are very subtle, they involve precise manual work. All these processes must be mastered by experts and most of the time; they involve precise manual operation, because the most advanced machines cannot replace the eyes and hands of experts.


Once the design is determined, the dial manufacturer will start with a metal plate called the ______________ Once the base plate has been cut to the correct shape, the two feet are riveted on the back of the board. These feet are like two small metal sticks, about 1-2 mm long, which are used to fix the dial on the machine core. If the dial is gold, the feet are always gold, but if the dial is nickel, the feet will be copper. If the foot is broken, the dial is discarded, so each foot is tested for strength. The next step is to machine some small holes on the face plate (for fixed time scale, LOGO, etc.). Next, harden the dial to 90 - 120 Vickers strength. Then wash and polish to prepare for the next decoration process.


Decoration technology of dial


Over the centuries, the watch industry has developed a variety of dial manufacturing processes, many of which have remained unchanged. Here we choose to introduce some common key dial technologies in advanced tabulation.


Tapisserie square pattern


The oldest form of dial making is the Tapisserie square pattern, which is the most common form of the Epi table. Its processing technology has remained unchanged since the end of the 19th century. If you have seen machine keys, the principle of Tapisserie processing machine is the same. There is a small saucer-sized motherboard on the left side of the machine. This motherboard has been manually processed into Tapisserie square pattern. The right side of the machine can be fixed to the table plate to be processed. Two outstretched arms are in front of the two boards, and the left side is used for it. The pattern on the motherboard is read mechanically, and the knife head on the right side is reduced and duplicated and engraved on the dial. It's a genius design. It's hundreds of years since the machine was founded.


Glyph of twist


Torsion is a long-standing engraving technology, invented in the 17th century, which has been used for centuries to decorate the dial and the case, essentially carving a hypotrochoid on the dial. If you have ever played with children's kaleidoscopes, you will understand that the painting is a kind of Newline pattern:


Hold the gear with your left hand so that it clings to the paper and cannot move. Put a pinion in the big gear and insert the tip of the pen into a hole of the pinion so that the pinion can roll close to the inner wall of the big gear. Then the tip of the pen will draw many beautiful curves on the paper. In addition, you can also press the pinion and insert the tip of the pen into a small hole in the big gear to make the big and small gears mesh and operate, and also can draw various beautiful curves.


Newcastle engraving machine is to draw a'pen'- the knife head does not move, but the dial is fixed, and then according to the gear design to do circular inner wheel movement, the front knife head will naturally carve the corresponding Newcastle lines. These micro prints are quite complex, depending entirely on the delicate feel of the cutter, for them, the machine is just an extension of the hands. He must be careful not to carve too deeply and ensure that consistent forces are applied to each thread. Ultimately, a harmonious and pleasant pattern will emerge. Newline pattern is the most common in Baoji table.


Dial printing


Have you ever wondered how perfect the numbers on the dial are? These numbers, track prints, logos, etc. have been gravure printed on the dial for hundreds of years.


First, the number, scale and logo needed for the dial will be engraved on the metal plate to form a gravure plate (formerly hand-engraved, now chemically etched), then coated with ink on the concave plate, and then wiped off more ink than the surface, so that only the indented scale trough has ink residue, and then the printer will press a flexible silicon ball on the concave plate to pick up ink, and then Transfer to the dial!


Gemstone inlay


You must remember the Tiansuo Rock Watch in the 1980s. Over the years, the use of unusual materials in the wristwatch industry has become increasingly popular. Brands such as Rolex and Earl have been using some very unusual materials. There will be a variety of gems on the dial: such as petrochemical corals, meteorites, Dalmatian jasper, Lapis lazuli, agate, turquoise, malachite, tiger's eye, platinum ore 400,000 years ago.