How Do Watchmakers Fabricate Dials?

Pocket Watch Dial pic

Pocket Watch Dial

An accomplished San Francisco Bay Area business professional, Craig Duling maintains a passion for timepieces, which he explores through his website, 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.


Patek Philippe – Unrivaled Maker of Luxury Timepieces


Patek Philippe pic

Patek Philippe

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

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, 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

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

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, 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

Craig Duling’s love for rare antique pocket watches inspired him to create a website to share his knowledge. At, 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

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, 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.

Patek Philippe’s Grand Complications with Astronomical Features

Patek Philippe pic

Patek Philippe

In addition to leading Heritage Management Services, Inc., as CEO, Craig Duling focuses much of his efforts in the philanthropic sphere. Also an antique pocket watch collector in his leisure time, Craig Duling maintains the Heritage Pocket Watch site to share his love of classic timepieces. One piece his website highlights is the contemporary Patek Philippe men’s Sky Moon Tourbillon Model 5002P, which features a star chart and is valued at nearly $1.5 million.

The story of Patek Philippe tradition of astronomical complications begins with The Packard grand complication, which was created in 1927 at the behest of James Ward Packard, the maker of the Packard automobile. The watch comprised 10 complications, including a moon phase display, as well as sunrise and sunset times and a celestial chart calibrated to the location of Packard’s mansion in Ohio.

In 1933, Patek Philippe created the Henry Graves supercomplication for one of America’s preeminent bankers. Featuring two dozen complications, the piece still stands as the most complicated pocket watch in history. Among its complications were a Westminster chime minute repeater, a perpetual calendar, and a celestial night sky chart set to Graves’ New York City residence.

Today, the Sky Moon Tourbillon represents Patek Philippe’s most complex wristwatch and features between its two dials a dozen complications, such as retrograde date and perpetual calendar. In addition to its star chart, the watch has an elliptical sky vault that shows the real-time orientation of the visible celestial sky.

How Quartz Movements Keep Time

Quartz pic


Pocket watch collector Craig Duling is the expert behind 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.

Periodicals Published by the American Numismatic Association

American Numismatic Association (ANA)


Craig Duling is an antiquarian horologist that operates the website, an informational website that specializes in information related to rare timepieces. In addition, Craig Duling is active in charitable organizations, is an active member in the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, and is a lifetime member in the American Numismatic Association (ANA).

Founded in 1858, the American Numismatic Association (ANA) is a non-profit organization devoted to coins, currencies, and similar items. The organization, which is headquartered in Colorado Springs operates a pneumatic library and a collection of more than 800,000 items, which date to 650 BCE. In addition to these resources, the society operates a publication program.

The publication program of the American Numismatic Association (ANA) originated in 1866 and includes books, monographs, research, and periodicals. The organization’s periodical collection includes the American Journal of Numismatics, which is a peer-reviewed scholarly journal. In addition, the organization publishes the Colonial Newsletter, which focuses on coins from the colonial and confederation periods, and the ANA Magazine, which is a quarterly periodical for the society’s members.