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Everything You Need to Know About the Finishes and Decorations of Watch Movements

Mechanical watches are much more than simple utilitarian objects for measuring time. They are also considered true works of art, combining technicality and aesthetics. The finishes and decorations of the watch movements constitute an important part of this artistic beauty and testify to the know-how of the watchmaking craftsmen.

The different finishing and decoration techniques

There are several finishing and decoration techniques used in watchmaking to embellish and personalize mechanical movements. Here are some of the most common methods:

  • beadwork : This technique consists of making concentric circles using a rotating brush on the metal surfaces of the components. The result gives a pearl and shimmering appearance to the room.
  • Bevelling : Beveling concerns the edges of the internal components of the movement. It is a question of polishing these edges by giving them a chamfered shape, which makes it possible to create luminous reflections and to improve the general aesthetics of the movement.
  • Coasts of Geneva : Also called “circular ribs”, these wavy lines are produced by abrasion on the bridges and plates of the movement. They impart a distinctive texture and visual appearance to metal surfaces.
  • Sandblasting : This technique involves projecting abrasive particles onto metal surfaces to create a matte, uniform finish. Sandblasting is often used on movement bridges and plates, as well as watch cases.
  • Engraving : Engraving is the art of inscribing patterns, letters or numbers on metal parts using a chisel. Watch engravers can make extremely detailed and complex decorations, which contribute to the personalization and aesthetic value of the watch.

The stages of realization of finishes and decorations

finishes and decorations of watch movements

Achieving the finishes and decorations of watch movements requires several steps, which vary according to the techniques used. Here is an overview of the main steps:

Surface preparation

Before applying the various finishing and decoration techniques, it is essential to prepare the metal surfaces of the movement components. This preparation can include polishing, sanding or cleaning with chemical solutions. The aim is to remove any trace of oxidation, scratches or impurities that could compromise the quality of the finishes.

Application of finishing and decoration techniques

Once the surfaces have been prepared, the watchmakers can apply the various finishing and decoration techniques. These operations are generally carried out by hand, using specific tools such as rotating brushes, chisels or polishing machines.

The application of finishes and decorations requires great precision and craftsmanship, for which the watch manufacturers are renowned.

Quality control and assembly of the movement

After carrying out the finishes and decorations, it is important to carry out a meticulous quality control to ensure the conformity of the pieces and the beauty of the patterns made. Finally, the decorated components are integrated into the movement, the assembly of which also requires great watchmaking expertise.

The importance of finishes and decorations in luxury watchmaking

The finishes and decorations of watch movements occupy a central place in luxury watchmaking, as they contribute to the aesthetic and technical value of mechanical watches. Here are a few reasons why these elements are so important:

  • Valorization of craftsmanship : The finishes and decorations testify to the know-how of the watchmakers and enhance their manual work. They represent a guarantee of quality and competence for luxury watch brands.
  • Personalization of parts : Thanks to decorative techniques, each watch movement is unique and bears the signature of its creator. Engraved patterns, Côtes de Genève and perlage provide a personal touch to each watch.
  • Aesthetics and visual pleasure : The finishes and decorations contribute to the overall aesthetics of the movement and provide visual pleasure for watch enthusiasts. The beauty of the internal components is often enhanced by transparent cases, which allow the work carried out on the movement to be admired.

Finishes and decorations accessible to all budgets

If the finishes and decorations of watch movements are often associated with luxury watchmaking, it is interesting to note that many brands offer mechanical watches with varied levels of finish and accessible to all budgets.

Thus, whether you are an avid collector or simply looking for a beautiful watch to mark a special occasion, you can find what you are looking for among the various finishing and decoration techniques available on the market.

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