Guilloché is a decorative art that first appeared in the pocket watch case in the early 18th century. Abraham Louis Breguet combined circles and straight lines to use a professional lathe (ie Rose Engine) to engrav the dial to create a coherent pattern. The engraving process has made great progress. A person who has both the genius of inventing the tourbillon and the artistic talent of reconciling the fine dial decoration, it seems that the world is a little unfair.
The Breguet watch factory is equipped with a professional and precious Rose Engine (curve pattern lathe accessory) lathe
Even if developed, this style of decoration will only be used on the most expensive watches of that era. Think of Kari Voutilainen, Philippe Dufour, and Roger Smith. In contrast, perhaps they can better understand the contours of Breguet’s customized watches in the early 19th century. The gold owners are willing to spend time waiting, in order to finally put a piece in their pockets, they can meet all the needs of the watchmaker.
The people who operate these machines are called ‘guillocheur’
Today, Baodi Watch Factory has formed a large team to ensure the quality of the process while expanding the relative scale. The company produces about 30,000 watches per year, far higher than the independent watchmakers mentioned above. A small number of these watches rely on stamping technology to achieve effects similar to traditional engraved patterns.
Operating these machines is not easy and requires a lot of training
So, is the dial ultimately made by a machine? Yes, technically, it is. But the precision of the carving depends entirely on human skills and robust hands. Only the most skilled craftsmen can decorate the dial in this way, and it takes time. Rose Engine uses a series of metal cams to control the lateral movement of the cutting head. The cutting head is guided by human hands and rests on the gold dial.
Breguet Classique 7147 watch with rich guilloché dial
The size of the force determines the depth of carving. To achieve a coherent, consistent, charming and charming effect requires a pair of experienced hands. By adjusting the metal plate that controls the movement of the cutting head, the carving pattern can be changed. The combination of patterns in different forms is not only beautiful, but also easy to recognize, and few other decorative techniques can match it. But the completion of this work requires a careful and careful watchmaking apprentice.
A closer look reveals the rich patterns contained in the simple design
Even though it is slightly conservative in the taste of some people, it is undeniable that the engine-turning dial is very attractive. The core value of the engraving process is almost pure decoration, but it is really helpful in improving readability. Let’s take Ref. 7147 as an example. This seemingly simple timepiece has just replaced Ref. 5140, becoming Breguet’s thinnest entry-level automatic dress watch.
Breguet Classique 7147 is the brand’s thinnest entry-level automatic dress watch
The watch is equipped with a silver-plated gold dial, which is a decorative dial, which is divided into three areas by the craftsman according to the function display. Each pattern is carved to improve the readability of each part. The center is decorated with a Paris nail pattern (because it is similar to the nail head of the reinforced boot sole), the reverse small seconds at 5 o’clock is decorated with a wave pattern, and the outer track scale circle is decorated with a circular pattern. The guilloché process divides the entire dial into different areas, and the decorative patterns are both decorative and legible. Of course, the movement oscillating weight is also machined.
The rotor of the Breguet Classique 7147 watch is also machine-engraved
The guilloché dial and Breguet go hand in hand to complement each other. Almost all Breguet watches (except enamel dials) are decorated with this technology, including military-inspired watches with non-gold dials and La Musicale watches with brass dials for better acoustics. If you still doubt the importance of the engraving department, look at the decorative lettering at 6 o’clock on the Breguet dial, not ‘Swiss Made’, but ‘Swiss Guilloché Main’, which is Breguet’s firm commitment to the guilloché process.