Watch dial production looks very simple, in fact, quite complex, involving a lot of technology, from letterpress printing to twist pattern carving, from gem inlaid to coated luminous material. 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 of the senior watch manufacturers just design face plate, and then by the special watch manufacturers to complete.
Dial design is an integral part of any watch and brand image. The customer submits the design drawings, and the engineer is responsible for converting them into engineering design specifications. The dial work and complexity depend on the degree of design, movement and surface treatment required. For example, the big calendar certainly need to open a large hole on the dial, moon phase instructions have to print a moon plate, chronograph sub-dial means that the manufacturing process of additional steps. Since some types of decals are very subtle, they involve precise manual work. All of these processes must be grasped by experts and most of the time; they involve precise manual operation, because the most advanced machines can not replace the expert's eyes and hands.
Once the design is confirmed, the dial manufacturer will start from the metal plate called ébauche, the material is usually silver, gold or nickel. Once the ébauche substrate has been cut to the correct shape, the two feet are riveted on the back of the board. The two feet are two small metal sticks, about 1 to 2 mm long, used to fix the dial on the movement. If the face plate is gold, the feet are always gold, but if the dial is nickel, the feet will be copper. If the foot is broken, then the dial will be wasted, so every foot is the power test. The next step is to use the machine to work out some small holes on the disk (for fixed time stamp, LOGO, etc.). Then harden the dial to 90--120 Vickers strength. And then cleaning and polishing, ready for the next decorative process.
First, the dial will be required for the number, scale, logo engraved on the metal plate to form a printed gravure (previously hand-carved, are now chemical process corrosion), and then coated with ink on the concave plate, and then wipe the surface In the ink, so that only the depression of the slot only ink residue, and then the printing industry with a flexible silicon ball pressure in the concave plate to pick up the ink, and then transferred to the dial above.
The perfect color on the dial is itself an art. There are now two main technologies, namely metal plating and four-color printing. Many different colors can be achieved by electroplating, either yellow, rose or colored gold, rhodium. The problem with plating is that the time that the original plate is immersed in the chemical bath must be very precise. Time even more than a second, will be different colors. Four-color printing is similar to printing color newspaper. The key lies in positioning accuracy.