Continuing our last topic, slowly combing the attractive ‘toxicity’ of a small watch, and exploring the superb designs and superb craftsmanship that are poisonous.
In the last issue we talked about the fine carving of the dial. We introduced the most common gold relief, shell carving and enamel carving. Now that it comes to fine carving, and it is just after the Hong Kong Asian Watch and Clock Fair that has just ended, then we must mention the micro carving, which is about to be lost. In a small space of only a few square centimeters, it is difficult to imagine the exquisite painting. This technology was developed by an Italian engraver. Traditionally, this craft is dedicated to decorative daggers and hunting weapons, and its name is derived from the engraving tools used by Italian artisans. Because the micro-carving effect is extremely detailed, it can only be performed under a microscope. Chiseling along points and lines can only be achieved by craftsmen engraving with different strengths.
In Hong Kong’s ‘Clocks and Miracles’ Asian Haute Horlogerie Fair, which was just concluded this year, Piaget applied this technology to the Altiplano dial. . Using a microscope, the craftsman engraved the horse’s outline with a sharp needle on the gold dial, and then used metal micro-engraving technology to polish the horse’s glittering body part. The craftsman handles the horse’s dial with ingenuity, and the background pattern is carved with a diamond head chisel, making the composition particularly delicate and moving. The gray part of the horse must be micro-engraved at a 90-degree angle, and the deeper shadows are engraved at an 80-degree angle. The final finishing of the metal micro-engraving pattern is completed by craftsmen relying on icon magnification technology. I believe that Piaget condensed this great skill into his wrist, and will definitely set off a new leap in the fine carving of the dial.
Dial inlay process
Mosaic technology, an ancient technique that has been passed down for thousands of years, was originally only used in large decorations such as walls, murals, ceilings and floors. Today, it crosses the field of expression and miniaturizes it for use in watchmaking. Among the existing watchmaking techniques, some are inherited from traditional techniques, while others are completely innovative and developed. This is most evident in the inlaying process, from claw-type gem inlays and snowflake inlays to innovative straw inlays, feather inlays, and gem inlay mosaics, etc. The ancient handicrafts have been continuously improved and developed, making the system The watch technology is constantly breaking through and reaching its peak.
Jewelry inlaid craftsmanship started in the West. Its craftsmanship is more delicate and complicated than traditional oriental jade carving craftsmanship. It pays attention to the design texture and technical exquisiteness. In jewelry modeling, it can highlight the characteristics of jewelry materials. The whole jewellery is more fashionable and art deco. The dial gem inlay is one of the more common inlaying techniques and requires the close collaboration of designers. When the number and location of the stones were determined, the artisans began sculpting the material, chipping away metal scraps little by little, to provide a place for the stones. Then they chose gems that could fit tightly into the holes. Through this operation over and over, the gems are set intact one by one. Mosaicists determine the setting method according to different styles, such as grain setting, melon setting, gem seat setting, concealed setting, illusion setting, guide way setting, etc. At the same time, the gem cutting shape should be properly selected: round Cut, rectangular cut, princess cut, or pear cut. Precise operation, detailed setting and ingenious polishing give the jewelry the perfect detail and unique charm. After the patience of the mosaic expert, each gemstone is individually tested.
This Piaget’s traditional ultra-thin watch is a fusion of noble materials such as rose gold, diamonds and garnet. The full dial is lined with 290 round diamonds and weighs about 1 carat. The diamonds set from the dial alone are enough to attract the eye. The setting of the diamond is a test of the patience and skill of the watchmaker. The plate is like a hive, compact and regular. The time scale is displayed in brown garnet, revealing elegance in luxury.
In addition to ordinary gem inlays, there is also a mosaic gem inlay. The mosaic inlay technique, an ancient technique that has been passed down for thousands of years, was originally only used in large decorations such as walls, murals, ceilings and floors. Today, it crosses the field of expression and miniaturizes it for use in watchmaking.
Mosaic gem setting must first select gems. There are many types of gemstones, including onyx, tiger’s eye, eagle eye, yellow petite, carnelian, yellow jasper, palm jasper, Kalahari jasper, yellow agate, mossy agate, coral and mother-of-pearl. Subsequently, the gem setting technician polished and cut the warm-toned natural stones that were screened into small squares of uniform length and thickness. Then inlay the gem squares one by one in the prescribed order to piece together the pattern.
Cartier Rotonde de Cartier, a mosaic-inlaid turtle watch, first outlines each tortoise shell and tortoise foot with black gems, and then inlays other colors of gems layer by layer, making the color layer richer and the shape more prominent. The entire turtle pattern is inlaid with 1,167 gems. Gem setting alone requires more than 60 man-hours. The intricate inlaying process makes the turtle made of gemstones on the dial vivid and attractive. All gems are pasted on the dial and then consolidated to ensure a uniform and smooth surface. It is precisely this extremely precise and delicate processing method and meticulous creative attitude that can achieve the classic.
Let’s talk about the relatively rare setting technique, gold bead setting. The craftsmanship is just as its name suggests, this ancient technique dating back to the first half of the third millennium BC has also been applied to the dial inlay, showing a new look. This extremely complicated decoration process reached its heyday in the first millennium of Etruscan civilization. Its representative work is the world-famous ancient utensils decorated with ‘Etruscan metal beads’. The process steps are: wrapping the cut gold thin wire and heating it at high temperature until tiny beads are formed, and the whole process seems to be the ‘seed’ of sowing gold. Then, place these gold beads one by one into the part to be decorated, and fuse with the gold base to create a three-dimensional relief pattern.
Cartier’s Rotonde de Cartier series cheetah decoration watch uses a 42mm diameter 18K yellow gold case, set with 306 brilliant-cut diamonds totaling 3.63 carats, and an 18K yellow gold bead-shaped crown with a bright cut diamond. The 22K gold dial is decorated with apple-shaped blue steel hands. Under the hands is the classic cheetah head logo pattern made of metal beads. The pattern is complicated to make. The craftsmen need to place the gold beads one by one. And fused with a gold base to create a three-dimensional pattern.
Using tiny gold beads to piece together vivid patterns, the difficulty of this process makes people frown. In addition to the jewellery gold inlay, have you ever heard of a dial inlaid with real flower petals, this dial inlaid creative is unique. Each petal needed for inlaying has to be colored, dried and cut to transform the ephemeral beauty of flowers into eternity. Then finely tile into the desired pattern.
Cartier’s Ballon Bleu de Cartier parrot decoration watch takes a lot of time and a series of complicated steps: collecting petals and coloring them, placing each petal on a thin piece of wood, and inlaying a foot saw with the help of finesse Cut it into the desired shape. Then they changed and turned into feathers. This rare material is noble and lively, yet sensual but fragile. The full shape and texture are in sharp contrast with the sparkling luster of the black agate bird’s beak and emerald eyes. In order to make the black and gray feathers around the eyes more eye-catching, the spots need to be completed one by one using a micro-painting process.
In addition to inlaying with petals, there are also inlays with fine wood. The process of inlaying is mainly to cut out some inlays on the wooden plane and assemble them to create extremely delicate decorative effects. Inlay craftsmen are often trained as furniture technicians. They are hardworking and precise. From the initial sketches on paper to the creation of spectacular mosaic-style mosaics that can subvert the original design, many high-tech processes of mosaic art are well known.
Such as this Parmigiani Tonda Woodstock (US version) watch. The artisan’s work starts from the original copy design. They use a special tool (Rotring drawing pen) to carefully draw each element. This copy work is the basis of mosaic work, so the size and outline of each design block can be determined.
Next, inlay craftsmen reprint ten or more design drawings on paper, and they will use these drawings to cut out different design blocks. In preparing for this critical cutting stage, the craftsman selects the wood. The selection criteria involve the color and surface of the wood. Each dial crafted by inlaying craftsmanship contains more than 50 pieces of dyed wood. After 10 days The result of hard work.
These woods are designed, cut, and assembled with great efforts, and then they can reach a smooth surface that appears to the naked eye, and then the 10 carefully selected woods are stacked together, and these woods are firmly nailed together with nails. Then copy the copy plan to be processed to the top of the pile of wood, and carefully cut along the border of the copy plan with a saw blade to obtain 10 wooden blocks with the same shape.
Even if all that is needed is a wooden block, the inlay craftsman always cuts it with a pile of wood, and then only keeps the most successful cut of the 10 blocks. After the blocks have been cut, the craftsmen begin to assemble the design blocks. Although the entire process strictly follows the dimensions, when the block assembly stage is reached, the craftsman may still find very small errors or small eye-catching cracks, so the entire work is ruined. The craftsman must start from scratch and patiently copy and cut again as needed.
In addition to using precious metal materials for a watch, there are two main ways to increase the value of the watch. One is advanced complex functions, such as tourbillon, perpetual calendar, three questions, mysterious watch, etc., and the other is craftsmanship, such as enamel. , Fine carving, and then mosaic. Regarding the three dial technology of enamel, fine carving and inlay, we will introduce it here first, of course, it is not comprehensive, but only some of the more common or special technologies are selected. At the same time, netizens are welcome to leave a message and let us Make progress together.
In the next issue, we will continue to talk about the dial technology of the watch, see what is more special and attractive dial technology in addition to enamel, carved, inlaid, so stay tuned!