The manufacturing of a refined dial is an elaborate process that most of the brands outsource to specialized third-party companies.
Glashütte Original is one of the very few watchmakers in the prestige segment to create the dials of its timepieces in-house, not in the main building in Glashütte but in a dedicated manufactory in the town of Pforzheim, a city rich in the traditions of jewelry making around 600 km east of the headquarter.
Through a series of pictures that show how the brand create the dials of its SeaQ Panorama Date diver’s watches (you read our hands-on review of this model here), we can learn more about the various separate tasks - most of them rigorously performed by hand - that are involved in dial making.
Subsequently a central hole is inserted where the hands will make their rounds. Additional, almost invisible holes are drilled for the SeaQ Panorama Date version, into which the small feet of the appliques are fitted and then welded in place at the back. To complete these basic steps the dial is then punched from the blank, giving it its definitive diameter.
At this point the surface treatment begins. With the assistance of a grinding and polishing machine and a special liquid (emulsion) the dials are first ground and then polished to a high gloss finish. This is the necessary prerequisite for the subsequent application of the sunray finish, which is performed using a vertically rotating brass brush.
Galvanisation gives the dials their black or blue hue, depending on the version. The dialmakers need a great deal of experience and sustained concentration in order to produce identical results with the same high quality for the entire edition. Once the dials have been rinsed in clear water and dried they are ready for the application of numerals, indexes, the logo, lettering and additional details.
A soft rubber pad (tampon) then picks up the ink from an etched plate (cliché) and impresses logo, lettering and minute ring with exceptional precision onto the surface of the dial.
The numeral and index appliques are mounted by hand and give the dial a three-dimensional quality. These appliques are inlaid with Super-LumiNova luminous coating – in this case in bright green or white (on black or blue dials, respectively). Readability - in daylight and in the dark, on land and under water - is one of the priorities for a diver's watch.
To complete the process the dials undergo rigorous testing for quality before setting off on their journey to Glashütte and final assembly.
You can read more about the production processes at Glashütte Original in our article: "Our visit to the Glashütte Original manufactory". glashuette-original.com