How Do Watchmakers Fabricate Dials?

Pocket Watch Dial pic

Pocket Watch Dial
Image: heritagepocketwatch.com

An accomplished San Francisco Bay Area business professional, Craig Duling maintains a passion for timepieces, which he explores through his website, heritagepocketwatch.com. On this site, Craig Duling explores a number of issues related to watch collecting and manufacturing, including the creation of dials.

Some watch dials start with a metal plate that is enameled on at least one side to improve overall rigidity. This enamel gives watch dials their characteristic glass-like look.

Often, watchmakers layer different sections of the dial by “sinking” – creating multiple enameled plates and soldering them together. Some companies save money by pressing a dial instead of sinking it. However, this process does not produce the same distinct transition layers.

Manufacturers may choose not to use enamel on watch dials at all. In addition to making a different fashion statement, these metal dials are more durable than enamel ones.

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Patek Philippe – Unrivaled Maker of Luxury Timepieces

 

Patek Philippe pic

Patek Philippe
Image: pinterest.com

In addition to his professional responsibilities as the CEO of Heritage Management Services, Craig Duling is an antiquarian horologist. Through his website, heritagepocketwatch.com, Craig Duling shares information he has gleaned from over 40 years collecting rare timepieces. Patek Philippe crafted one of the impressive watches featured on heritagepocketwatch.com.

Patek Philippe stands as one of the most prestigious watchmakers in the world, as well as the world’s oldest independently owned watch manufacturer. The company was founded in 1839 by polish immigrant Antoni Patek, who was later joined by Adrien Philippe, a talented Frenchman who invented the keyless winding mechanism.

Widely recognized for its meticulous craftsmanship, Patek Philippe continues to make some of the finest timepieces in the world. The company makes all of its own watch components according to rigorous standards. Each year, Patek Philippe only manufactures about 40,000 watches. As a result, the timepieces are highly sought after and are often sold at auction for staggering amounts.

One watch, the Sky Moon Tourbillon men’s watch, has an estimated worth of $1.45 million. Patek Philippe’s most complicated model, the watch was introduced in 2001 and features 12 complications on two dials and has over 2,800 components and 242 jewels.

Temperature Adjustment – One of the Marks of a Quality Timepiece

Craig Duling

An experienced engineer and business professional, Craig Duling serves as chief executive officer of Heritage Management Services in San Francisco. In addition, Craig Duling has collected and studied antique pocket watches for four decades. He maintains HeritagePocketWatch.com, a website that explores several different facets of timepieces, including how to judge the quality of a specific watch.

One of the biggest markers of quality remains adjustment for temperature. Simply put, this feature means that the workings of the watch have been positioned so that the watch will remain accurate even when the external temperatures change, which would cause the metal to expand or contract.

Typically, adjustment is achieved through the balance wheel, which has screws that adjust to changes in the hairspring caused by temperature fluctuations. Newer watches use a bi-metallic compensating balance made from steel and brass. Because the balance is cut at two points, it can fluctuate with changes in temperature while keeping the time consistent.

Watch technicians are able to change the positions of the weight screws in the balance to increase or decreases the amount of compensation provided. With some tinkering, the watch should keep time accurately in a wide range of different temperatures.

The Process of Creating a Pocket Watch Dial

Pocket Watch Dial pic

Pocket Watch Dial
Image: heritagepocketwatch.com

The recipient of a bachelor of science in physics from San Jose State University, Craig Duling is a former engineer for Lockheed Missiles and Space Company who serves as chairman of the board for Heritage Management Services. Beyond his professional responsibilities, Craig Duling enjoys sharing his extensive knowledge about timepieces on his website Heritagepocketwatch.com.

Pocket watches are best identified by the information and designs on their dials, the smooth, often-white surface that displays numbers and other markings. The complex process of creating the dial starts with granulated enamel, which is laid upon a metal plate with raised edges roughly the same size of the dial before being heated to create the glass-like appearance. The enameling process is normally done on both sides of the metal plate to strengthen the dial.

Although all watchmakers follow the same process, they’re able to create vastly different-looking watches by a process called sinking, in which they layer different sections of the dial. For the most part, dials are single-sunk or double-sunk, but they are sometimes triple-sunk. To single-sink a dial, a watchmaker fires two dials as outlined above, but the second is thinner and smaller than the first. An opening approximately the size of the smaller dial is then created in the larger dial and both are soldered together, which creates crisp edges and a tiered effect. To double-sink a watch, the process is repeated twice with three dials of varying size.

Pocket Watch Jewel Settings

 

Craig Duling

Craig Duling, an antiquarian horologist, is a former engineer that currently serves as the CEO of Heritage Management Services. Craig Duling also owns and operates Heritagepocketwatch.com, where he applied his expertise in the evaluation of antique timepieces.

When evaluating pocket watches, it is important to assess the quality of the movement as well as the condition of the dial and case. Jewels are an important watch component that help to reduce friction at movement pressure points and ensure the watch operates correctly over a long period of time.

Pocket watch jewels come in several forms, including round shaped hole and cap jewels, angled pallet jewels, and pin style impulse jewels. Jewels can be set with friction, where they are pressed into a tight hole that keeps them secured. Watches with friction set jewels are typically less expensive and lower quality. Another method to set jewels includes the use of small screws which attach to the movement plate. Screw set jewels can be flush with the plate or a raised style where the setting’s rim is slightly elevated. Watches with screw set jewels are often higher quality pieces.

Vacheron Constantin – A History of Precision and Elegance from Geneva

 

Vacheron Constantin pic

Vacheron Constantin
Image: vacheron-constantin.com

Craig Duling’s love for rare antique pocket watches inspired him to create a website to share his knowledge. At HeritagePocketWatch.com, fellow collectors and interested readers can find out the history of pocket watches and accessories of all types. Craig Duling provides extensive information on luxury brands such as Rolex, Patek Philippe, and the less-well-known, but equally stunning Vacheron Constantin.

In 1755, Jean-Marc Vacheron signed-on his first apprentice in his Geneva, Switzerland, watchmaking workshop, and a legendary company was born. That year also marked the manufacture of the earliest known of Vacheron’s extant works, a silver pocket watch.

Jean-Marc’s son Abraham continued in his father’s trade. Abraham Vacheron married the daughter of another watchmaker, and eventually went into business with his father-in-law as A. Vacheron Girod.

Jean-Marc’s grandson Jacques Barthélémi Vacheron took over in 1810 and expanded the family business considerably. Under Jacques Barthélémi’s leadership, the company began to acquire clients from Europe’s royal houses and to produce even more complex mechanical marvels, including musical timepieces. It was Jacques Barthélémi who concluded the partnership with entrepreneur François Constantin.

Vacheron Constantin has produced masterpieces such as an 1824 watch whose case shows a map of Italy done in enamel of varying shades of light and dark blue, with yellow gold traceries. The company is additionally renowned for its production of pocket chronometers, such as a fine precision piece manufactured in 1869, during the time of major European explorations of the world. The brand remains an icon today.

Who Invented the Pocket Watch?

 

 Pocket Watch pic

Pocket Watch
Image: historyofwatch.com

Craig Duling serves as CEO of the San Francisco company Heritage Management Services, Inc., and devotes time to philanthropic endeavors. In addition, Craig Duling has studied and collected antique pocket watches for four decades. He shares his love of pocket watches and their history on his website HeritagePocketWatch.com, where readers will find advice on collecting and appraising watches, as well as articles on their history.

With Smithsonian magazine calling the pocket watch the “first wearable tech game changer” in the world, the importance of the pocket watch to human civilization is readily apparent. The precise origins of the pocket watch may be lost in history, although medieval people were familiar with mechanical clockworks. Renaissance-era portraits show men holding watches of various types suspended from ribbons or chains, in an era where simple mainspring technology flourished.

Some authorities believe the pocket watch was invented by Italian makers in the 15th century. Many others point to Peter Henlein, the Nuremberg watchmaker and creator of a single-hand device early in the 16th century. In any case, both men and women were using portable watches in the 1500s. The earliest models were egg-shaped and bulky, but they were soon replaced by flatter case shapes.

King Charles II of England is said to have popularized the securing of pocket watches by chains. When he introduced the wearing of waistcoats in the late 17th century, he provided men with a fashionable way to carry their pocket watches.

How Quartz Movements Keep Time

Quartz pic

Quartz
Image: explainthatstuff.com

Pocket watch collector Craig Duling is the expert behind http://www.heritagepocketwatch.com. Craig Duling’s website showcases his collection of rare and ornate watches and provides a wealth of information about the history and inner workings of various timepieces.

Timepieces that are based on pendulums or springs require winding to help them keep time. Winding is a form of stored energy, which gradually depletes through friction, air resistance, and other forces.

Quartz watches use a battery in place of a winding mechanism. A battery can store enough energy to run a timepiece well for years. In a quartz clock, the battery delivers energy to a small crystal. This crystal will always vibrate at a specific frequency: 32,768 times per second. An electronic circuit in the timepiece is able to count these vibrations, which allows it to generate a small electric pulse exactly once a second.

These repetitive electronic pulses keep time just like the escapements in a mechanical timepiece. They can be used to turn gears that move timepiece arms, or they can be used to power a small display in a digital timepiece.

How a Pocket Watch Dial Is Created

The dial is the most identifying and conspicuous component of the pocket watch. Often referred to as the “face,” the dial is the smooth, typically white surface where artists hand paint numerals, markings, and occasionally images.

 dialarrow

The process of making the dial begins with granulated enamel, which is placed on a metal plate (disk) equal to the size of the dial with a raised edge and then fired in order to form the glass-like appearance. This process is often repeated on both sides of the disk to improve the strength and rigidity of the dial. Despite this relatively straightforward process, watchmakers are able to create a great deal of variety in their dials by essentially layering different sections of the dial. This process is called sinking, and dials are either single-sunk, double-sunk, or very rarely, triple sunk. In order to single-sink a dial, the watchmaker must fire two dials in the fashion described above, the second being smaller and thinner than the first. The watchmaker then makes a hole the same size of the smaller dial in the larger and solders the former into the latter, creating a layered effect with crisp edges. In order for a watch to be double-sunk, this process must be repeated twice, with a total of three dials of varying size, thus producing three distinct layers. The cheaper – and easier – way to provide this effect is called pressing. Pressing is a simple matter of imprinting the desired layers of the dial (whether one or two) directly into the metal base prior to the introduction of the enamel. This allows the watchmaker to fire all layers of the dial simultaneously and can be distinguished from a genuinely sunk dial by the lack of distinct transitions between layers.

In some cases, pocket watch dials were manufactured wholly without the use of enamel. These watches sported an entirely metal dial which was then painted on directly. Due to the fact that enamel is prone to cracking, these all-metal dials were more durable than their enamel counterparts.

Source: http://theoldpocketwatch.com/creating-the-dial-by-craig-duling/

The Gold American Pocket Watches of the Nashua Watch Company

The chief executive officer of Heritage Management Services in San Francisco, California, Craig Duling is an avid collector of antique American pocket watches. One of the rarest timepieces in Craig Duling’s collection is a gold pocket watch made by the Nashua Watch Company.

The movement of this particular watch is top notch and better yet, its original components are untouched. The dial is also in impeccable shape. The only observable flaw is that the watch’s case is slightly worn. However, the value of the Nashua watch is not solely rooted in its relatively good condition, but also has something to do with its history. With over 40 years of experience when it comes to collecting timepieces, Mr. Duling knew that the Nashua Watch Company produced only four pocket watches with 20-size keywind keyset movements. In addition, the Nashua Watch Company employed Nelson P. Stratton, one of the most prominent innovators in the field of horology, further increasing the value of the watches that they made.