03 JUN

The Grinding Process of Fine Watches

  • Life Style
  • Ariel
  • Nov 06,2023
  • 1

The Grinding Process of Fine Watches

As well as being accurate, a watch must be beautiful enough, and fine watchmaking pays particular attention to polishing the movement, which is crucial for indexing. As a matter of fact, polishing is a topic that cannot be avoided, and it is even of the utmost concern for many players. In the end, polishing determines the aesthetics of a watch, as well as the brand's quality.

There are two categories of watch enthusiasts: those who belong to the Appearance Management Association and those in the machine heart party. Members of the Appearance association prioritize the appearance and design of their watches regardless of brand, while those in the machine heart party focus on the social function and complexity of a watch's structure. Highly skilled grinding techniques are also a prominent topic for the machine heart party, as they value this aspect above all else.

The fineness of the grinding determines the watch's beauty

The grinding process for movements can be separated into functional and decorative categories. While decorative grinding focuses on appearance, functional grinding is more intricate and costly. Its purpose is to improve the operational efficiency of the movement by eliminating rough edges, ensuring proper fit, TUDOR Black Bay Chrono M79360N-0002and smoothing shafts, among other tasks. Each component within a movement has a specific function, making the quality of its grinding crucial for optimal performance and longevity. This includes everything from the spring to the escapement wheel and balance wheel. Poorly executed or flawed grinding can lead to issues with smooth functioning or even cause the movement to come to a halt.

The ultimate objective of functional polishing is to decrease the friction of the movement during operation, enhance its ability to resist dust and rust, improve the precision of grooves between different parts of the traditional system, eliminate any burrs from initial machining, and ensure a stable and dependable movement for improved accuracy and longevity. However, decorative polishing is what truly adds aesthetic appeal. Common designs include Geneva patterns, fish scale patterns, pearl patterns (with striking similarities between the first two), radial patterns, drawing, sanding, polishing, chamfering, as well as carvings commonly seen on German dining tables. Needless to say, decorative polishing also serves a functional purpose in most cases.

Decorative polishing is what truly enhances the beauty of an object. Popular decorative patterns include Geneva, fish scale, radial, and mirror polishing, as well as drawing, sanding, and chamfering.TUDOR Royal M28503-0008 Germany is known for its intricate carvings. However, decorative polishing often serves a functional purpose at first, before showcasing the craftsman's artistic flair and reflecting a stunning shine in the light. Clearly, this polished touch of elegance surpasses mere practicality.

Consequently, the functional study polishing is mainly on the surface we can't see some small activities details small places of polishing, such as between the teeth of the gear gear center shaft surface and other parts of the gear; the main purpose of decorative constant polishing technology is to enhance the ornamental and artistic machine heart through their own polishing, mainly on the outer surface plywood problem of the polishing design.

Machine center chamfering

The most common grinding technique is chamfering, which is a reflection of the watchmaker's skill, and this is the most common chamfer grind. There are two kinds of chamfer grinding: beveling and chamfering. A lot of plywood, gears, jewelled countersunk holes, screw slots, etc., must be polished with chamfering. Chamfering can be very good for light and dark textures, but it is rare to find a really good chamfering brand.

Process of brushing

The watch polishing process relies heavily on the drawing technique, which may appear straightforward,TUDOR Royal M28500-0006 yet it showcases essential skills. The final result of the drawing depends on various factors such as the technician, tools, strength, and direction used. A well-executed drawing is visually appealing, while a poorly done one can look unrefined. The available methods for drawing include straight line and round techniques. Many watch movements incorporate brushing in different areas, but only a few brands utilize it as the primary method for polishing bridge components, like the TUDOR Black Bay Chrono M79360N-0002.

Polishing mirrors

There are two types of mirror polishing: mechanical and chemical solution. The former involves using metal materials to grind and polish in order to achieve a smooth and shiny mirror surface. As for the latter, it utilizes chemical solutions with bubbles to remove any oxidized skin and create a luminous effect. In watchmaking, the traditional method of boxwood polished mirror is typically used for achieving this desired finish.

While the decorative polishing of a watch's movement may not significantly affect its accuracy, it plays a crucial role in its artistic appeal. Polished movements are a vital component in the production of any high-quality watch, with both its appearance and movement quality being meticulously crafted by hand. In fact, some enthusiasts use the level of polish on a watch's movement as a measure of its excellence. Elegant patterns such as pearl, radial and Geneva styles are commonly used for this purpose, but their seemingly simple designs require great skill from the workers who create them.

Genève Coast

In the 1920s, the popular Geneva pattern was named for its resemblance to the shimmering surface of Lake Geneva. This distinctive design can be found in three variations: stripes, rings, and radials. The ring corrugation features a concentric band of equal width, while radial corrugation radiates outward from the center of rotation like a gradient. A wider vertical stripe pattern is also used in some designs. While these two types of corrugation are less commonly used in today's corporate world, the bar-shaped Geneva pattern is often found on watch plates and automatic oscillating weights. This low-profile design is especially popular with students who appreciate its transparency when viewing the back of their watch. The bar-shaped Geneva pattern adds an elegant touch to watches, with rubies and sapphires serving as embellishments on the bearings for optimal development.

The radial pattern

As the name implies, a sun pattern is a more delicate radial pattern that is used in a small part. A close examination of the sketched straight lines and ring drawings will reveal a fine and uniform texture, often arranged in the outer ring of plywood, and various connections to the shaft's movement.

Sanding fishscales

Scales of fish or pearl grains

The circular fishscale pattern features a uniform and discreet aesthetic. It is commonly found arranged in layers and its small, broken design makes it ideal for inconspicuous areas like the movement base plate. However, in recent years, this pattern has been used sparingly to add depth and dimension to certain areas. Some argue that this is because the fishscale pattern is not as visually appealing as the Geneva pattern, so it is often relegated to unnoticeable locations. Nevertheless, many watches still choose to showcase this pattern in prominent places such as the pendulum and upper plate.

The guilloche

The term "Guilloche" derives from the French word Guillochis and refers to a precise, machine-made engraving technique featuring straight lines and circular patterns. Initially used in the jewelry industry as a high-level craft involving handiwork, Guilloche is comparable to carving with a ruler. This is made possible by the rose engine and the straight cutter, which can be used separately or in combination. Craftsmen use the straight cutter to create straight lines and the rose engine for curves. The process involves the cutter head touching the metal surface, cutting deep, and then scraping away. In traditional engraving, one would hold the workpiece in place while moving the tool to create different designs. However, in this case, the cutter head remains stationary while the piece being engraved moves according to the pattern. The execution of this process requires skillful control from the craftsman's hand to ensure consistency in each pattern. Overall, there is an endless possibility of patterns that can be created through this method, including popular ones like basket ripples, barley grains, flat pegs, brick piles, z-lines, and silk ripples. These patterns have been produced for over a century.

For better gear meshing and reduced wear, center gears are functionally sharpened.

China polishes the Geneva time stamp centerpiece to a high standard.

Geneva rules have placed stringent requirements on all parts of the machine since 1886, with a particular emphasis on grinding. In addition to functional grinding, such as chamfering, there are also requirements for purely decorative grinding, such as "the bare eye, including screws, grooves and spiral edges, must be polished and free of burrs", and "the outside of the grooves of the plate jewels must be polished to a semi-transparent finish".

When considering the purchase of a high-quality polished watch, opting for a model with the prestigious Geneva Seal may be beneficial. This standard focuses on the core skills of polishing and holds brands to strict criteria for their machine movements. While meeting these requirements places a brand at a high level, it does not guarantee perfection. Not all top-quality watches possess the Seal, such as those from Dufour, and some brands may choose not to pursue it. Additionally, the exclusive nature of the Seal limits its availability to brands outside of Geneva. Therefore, while obtaining the Seal is impressive, not having it does not diminish the quality of polishing.