Even though the main function of a watch is to give the time, the aesthetics and decoration of a watch are becoming more important today. As the watch becomes increasingly a jewel, decorative techniques are multiplying. There are many watchmaking decoration techniques and they are mostly apiqued on the watch dial. Today Team Charlie Paris has decided to show you one of them: the guillochage.
Guillochage is a decorative technique in clockwork. This decoration can be applied on the dial and watch case. The guillocher action “is to burn guillochis by hand or machine on metal”. How do I recognize a guilloche watch? If you see an engraving of right or cross or interlaced curves, called guillochis, this is certainly a guillochochy watch. This decorative technique is the making of engraving of straight lines or cross-curves or interlaced with the help of a sash machine. This machine is made up of a crank and a bush.
Considered one of the finest watch finishing techniques, guillochage is a decorative technique among the oldest in clockwork. Appeared during the 16th century, the guillochage was originally carried out by hand. However, guillochage developed through the luxury watchmaking company Breguet which in the 18th century used it the first in the field of clockwork. Its founder, Abraham-Louis Breguet discovered the guillochage on a trip to London where this ornamental art was notably used to decorate furniture pieces. Inspired by his London observations, Breguet, who returned to Paris, is experimenting to apply this technique to his watch dials. For Breguet this type of engraving was both beautiful and functional. Indeed, the guillochage is not only ornamental and meets practical objectives. The dial surface is engraved and therefore makes polished surfaces less fragile, easily stripable. The guillochage also allows to capture any dust and impurities. This decorative technique experienced its time of glory during the 19th century. Nowadays, hand-checking is still practiced on luxury or high-end watches.
The guillochage is recognized as a true art profession. A guilloche dial is a full-fledged work of art and different steps are to be followed to achieve a guillochage. First, the smooth dial disc is worked at the burin to trace the various areas that will, if necessary and according to the model, accommodate complications such as indications of time, walking reserve, moon phase or like the small second. The draft dial is then ready to accommodate the guillochage which will offer it a mat surface that will delineate the areas with varied drawings. Beyond these stages, the decorations are varied and very worked.
Today hand-checking is a technique mastered by a few large houses, and machines for making it are no longer manufactured. The few sash machines put up for sale are therefore extremely expensive. This decorative technique is also a production whose quantity is limited in nature because hand guillochage requires not only time for its realization but also requires valuable and rare know-how. These reasons explain why hand guillochage is reserved for exceptional watches and is mainly worked at large luxury houses or high-end watch brands. The number of guillochers working in Europe is estimated to be between 10 and 15.
While the traditional method remains by excellence hand guillochage, other methods have emerged during the 20th century through industrialization. New equipment is emerging, such as automatic machines, engraving machines, printing machines or, quite recently, digitally controlled machines. This industrialization has therefore allowed the guillochage to be extended to many watch brands. In summary, guillochage is a perpetuated and reinvented technique.
The most well known types of guillochage are the Paris nail, the Paris pavement, the sunshine, barley grains, waves, the old basket, the checkerboard or the flammed decor, etc. Team Charlie Paris, lets you discover the most used watchmaking patterns:
The use of different patterns gives the model good legibility but also unique character and design.
You will understand that guillochage is a well-known decorative engraving technique in clockwork. At Charlie Paris we want to create models of watches french, elegant and quality, all at a fair price. The guillochage, is a decorative technique renowned in large luxury houses and we wished to use it to work the dial of our model of woman automatic watch. Indeed, c’est sur notre woman watch initial 36 that we decided to offer a guilloche dial, both sophisticated and refined. Our Initial 36 women's automatic watch now features a champagne-coloured dial and a guilloche dial on a white background. If you want a feminine and light automatic watch, opt for our automatic women's watch with a white dial. If you prefer a dial that is similar in colour to the pink gold in your watch case, choose the Initial 36 with the champagne dial. In addition, our system ofinterchangeable bracelets allows you to customize your women's watch to the rhythm of your desires.
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