Once the components have been made, our decoration and engraving workshops take on the task of giving them character. These refined finishes are the distinguishing mark of fine watchmaking.
Before assembly, a certain number of components are entrusted to the expert hands of the Manufacture's decorative and engraving artists. There they are transformed into miniature works of art.
These decorations and finishes are executed essentially by hand, using traditional tools: stones, files, burnishers, buffs, etc. They give each watch a unique personality, right down to its hidden components. Even the bridges that carry the arbors and pivots are fashioned to become more than mere supports.
Decoration of components
Master-craftsmen of the decoration workshop, trained in-house, command a wide range of decorative techniques used in the trade for centuries:
- • chamfering, by which sharp edges are faceted and polished;
- • flank drawing;
- • straight line smoothing;
- • circular graining, a process of engraving small circles very close together on plates and bridges;
- • Geneva stripes, a decoration resembling waves formed by grinding on bridges and oscillating weights;
- • snailing;
- • mirror polishing, by which a block of zinc is polished with an abrasive paste called "diamantine" until it is as perfectly smooth and shiny as a mirror, giving the technique its name.
The manually performed work of these craftsmen achieves a result that no machine could ever attain, such as the perfect clarity of a chamfer. It also offers the craftsman freedom of expression. During circular graining, it is he who decides on the position of each circle. To cite one example, it takes a whole month of work to decorate the 70 components of the Minute Repeater calibre 332.
On some case-backs or oscillating weights, four engraving artists create worlds peopled with creatures, divine or mischievous. The engraving is executed entirely by hand using a small graver, without the aid of any digital technique.
One of our master-engravers adorns certain timepieces with automaton scenes.
Of course, it is possible to personalise a watch by having it engraved with a motif of your choice.