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The world of watchmaking is constantly changing, and manufacturers are always looking to push the boundaries of design and technology. One of the most intriguing and fascinating examples of this innovation is the meteorite dialwhich not only offers a unique appearance but also an engaging story.
In this guide, we’ll explore the features and operation of these exceptional dials.
What is a meteorite dial?
As the name suggests, a meteorite dial is made from an actual meteorite, a celestial body that has passed through Earth’s atmosphere and crashed into our planet. These pieces of space rock are then formed into thin slabs to create watch faces, providing a unique texture and pattern that cannot be replicated by any other material.
The different origins of the meteorites used
There are several types of meteorites, each with its own characteristics and coming from different sources in our solar system. Here are some of the most common types used to create meteorite dials:
- iron meteorite : also called siderite, it comes mainly from the asteroid Vesta and is composed mainly of iron and nickel. It is characterized by crossed rectilinear motifs, called Widmanstätten figures.
- stony meteorite : composed largely of silicates, it comes from the asteroid belt located between Mars and Jupiter. It has a duller appearance than iron meteorites and often has inclusions of rare minerals such as olivine or pyroxene.
- Mixed meteorite : as its name suggests, this category includes meteorites containing both metal and rocks. Their composition varies and their provenance can be difficult to determine. Dials made from these meteorites can vary widely in appearance, ranging from intricate and chaotic patterns to more subtle textures.
The transformation of meteorites into watch faces
The extraction and preparation process
Before they can be used to create watch faces, meteorites must undergo several processing steps. First, they are extracted from the impact sites where they were discovered.
Then they go through a series of tests and analyzes to determine their exact composition and confirm that it is indeed a meteorite.
Once this step is completed, the meteorites are cut into thin slices using a diamond saw. These edges are then polished to eliminate any roughness and give the dial a smooth and shiny surface.
The Challenges of Making a Meteorite Dial
The realization of a meteorite dial presents several technical difficulties. First of all, it is crucial to preserve and enhance the natural patterns of the meteorite, such as the Widmanstätten figures. To do this, watchmakers must work with care and precision when cutting and polishing the meteorite slices.
Then, another challenge lies in the stabilization of the material. Indeed, some meteorites can be sensitive to oxidation or humidity, which could damage the dial over time. To prevent this, meteorite dials are often treated with protective coatings or placed in a controlled atmosphere when assembled.
The unique aesthetics of meteorite dials
The main attraction of meteorite dials lies in their singular and mysterious appearance. Each piece of meteorite being unique, no dial will be identical to another. The natural patterns formed by metallic crystals, such as Widmanstätten figures, provide unparalleled texture and depth.
Moreover, the very provenance of the material – a space journey through our solar system – adds a fascinating dimension to these dials.
Watches with a meteorite dial
Many high-end watch manufacturers have incorporated meteorite dials into their collections, including Rolex, Omega, and Jaeger-LeCoultre. These watches are often produced in limited editions or as unique pieces, reflecting the precious and rare nature of the material used.
The prices of these watches can vary greatly depending on the brand, model and quality of the meteorite used. There’s also the cost of the manual labor needed to turn this space rock into a fancy watch face.
Conclude on these dials
The meteorite dial is undoubtedly one of the most captivating and intriguing innovations in watchmaking. Combining the unique aesthetic of space rock with a compelling story of interplanetary travel, these dials offer a truly cosmic experience to those who wear these exceptional timepieces.