Production continues! After the dials, cases, and bracelets, we now come to the manufacture of round hands, signature of the Maison Beaubleu. Considering the style of the watch, the hands are small but important elements. They are a real engine of our identity, the punctuation point of our visual identity, our dear Beaubleu round hands.
In the past, we have written this series of articles in the form of a logbook. However, for the manufacturing of the round hands, we will rather explain the stages according to the different treatments that the hands will undergo.
It all starts with simple strips of rolled steel with a thickness ranging from 0.1 mm to 0.3 mm, with the width varying according to the types of hands. Then, we make the pilot holes, which will position the hands during the passages in the different machines. All these operations are carried out on the strip itself, from cutting to the Super Luminova treatment.
Given the fineness of the parts and the vagaries of production in general, not all hands will be usable. Indeed, they must meet our quality standards, such as their size 0.001 mm, no deformation, and color treatment without dust, scratches, or bubbles.
Before carrying out the various treatments of the steel strips, we divide them into several batches, each corresponding to a different color treatment: the PVD treatment, the spray paint, the Super Luminova treatment, and the treatment of blued hands.
Regarding the treatment to achieve the matte colors on our round hands, we apply several coats of spray paint with drying time between each applied layer. Here, the difficulty is to obtain the thinnest possible thickness and perfectly smooth layers, so as not to cause friction during the subsequent assembly of the watch.
Each wrong move results in the final loss of the prize. So, before each pass, we perform a test to guarantee quality.
First, what is a Super-Luminova hand? It is a hand that lights up in the dark, which allows you to read the time in all circumstances. So how do we make luminescent hands? It is necessary to apply a product resembling a paste (non-radioactive of course) on the metal plate. You must be very careful not to waste the product because it has a much higher cost than other treatments because of its rarity.
For the PVD treatment, this involves directly tinting the material in-depth by immersing the parts in a bath. Thus, we obtain a lasting effect and a color identical to the case for Olympe and Audace.
The process of bluing steel hands is different from the process of applying color. Batches of ten hands are heated for a few minutes in very precise ovens. Heating them to a certain temperature will form an oxide film. If you want to know more, go to an article that we devoted some time ago to this coloring technique (internal link).
After stamping, the round hands are finally isolated from the strip and handled individually using tweezers.
However, cutting is not the last step, quite the contrary. A succession of steps follows one another to give the final shape of our hands. They are interspersed with washing and polishing sessions to remove impurities.
Finally, before being added to the watch, the circular hands are carefully checked, whether it is the size, the shape, or the colors, they must be impeccable so as not to interact with the other elements of the dial.
The challenge here is to have both perfectly flat hands that are light enough for lift reasons, but strong enough not to bend and risk touching the other hands.
Thus, this ends the penultimate part of our logbook, then we will proceed to the assembly. The Miyota 9015 movement decorated with the Beaubleu logo will be added to it and we will carry out all the necessary tests and verifications. All that is missing is the final touch, the straps (link to the article in step 3 to make the straps), and their folding clasp, a novelty that brings comfort, elegance and security to the Union Collection!
The watches from the Union Collection are about to be assembled in our Parisian Atelier. Since moving from pocket to wrist, watches now require straps.
Our Union Collection offers three leather bracelets in blue, black, or green, whose exotic details give real personality to the watches. What makes it distinct? Each bracelet is handmade and artisanal, making it truly unique.
The manufacture of our bracelets has begun. The leathers are bought raw, then prepared, and tanned in the atelier. How does it work? The leathers will undergo different treatments, carried out by specific (and traditional) machines. These machines are essential for refining and tanning the skin.
Of course, as with every element of the watch, if certain pieces of leather do not have the quality necessary for the manufacture of our bracelets, they must be permanently removed from the production chain. The team is, therefore, busy detecting scratches and stains on the skins to keep only the best quality parts.
After having selected the pieces that we will use to make the bracelets, we must dye the skins to obtain the colors of our bracelets: green, blue, and green. It will then be a question of completing the details in alligator, for the black and blue bracelet, and the téju for the green bracelet.
When we have the desired results, the skins are polished to obtain the best possible finish to protect the leather in the long term.
Once the leathers are stored, we begin cutting the skins in the best parts to obtain the different elements that will constitute the bracelet.
A bracelet is composed of a skin carefully selected on the top added with a leather lining imperatively treated to be biocompatible (hypoallergenic among others). Between these two strips of leather, we place a tear-resistant reinforcement to make the bracelet, not only more comfortable but also more durable over time in the face of daily use. These three elements are glued together and then sewn by hand.
To achieve tone-on-tone solid topstitching, our leather craftsmen use the saddle stitch. Saddle stitching is done with only a few feet of thread at a time and must be made by hand. To create each stitch, the entire thread serpentines two times through the layers of leather.
The final touch is the application of a colored resin to protect the edge of the leather. For the blue and green bracelets, we chose an azure resin, for an even more pronounced contrast.
Now we will cut the bracelet to be able to insert the flash pump. It will allow you to change your bracelet with more ease at home, without tools. Of course, this bracelet manufacturing process ends with quality control before receiving them at the atelier. There they will then be added to the watches, depending on the choices you have made.