Most of us have resumed work, life is gradually resuming, and for several weeks now, the production of our Union Collection watches has begun. This article will be the first of a small series, which will give our ambassadors the opportunity to follow the manufacturing process and its different stages: from the dials to the straps.
Today we are going to discuss the dials. Originally, it was a simple metal plate, which quickly became the center of attention. If we consider the case as the body of the watch, the dial is therefore the delicate face.
This is the first element that attracts the eye, it is, therefore, important to carry it out in the rules of art with impeccable quality. The manufacture of a dial is far from being a subcategory of watchmaking, it requires impeccable know-how and extreme precision to be both beautiful and readable. It supports many elements such as indexes, decorations, or simply inscriptions. In addition, for perfect placement of the hands, without risking touching the glass covering them or the other parts of the dial, each measurement must be made to the nearest hundredth of a millimeter. For our watches, the additional difficulty will be the curved dial, which requires a special technique.
April 15, 2020
First day of production. The excitement is at its peak, after weeks of the pre-order campaign and the uncertainty that we have all faced with COVID- 19, we are finally starting the cutting of steel plates which will become flat or curved dials. We begin to make the central and outer contour, where the canon of the movement will be housed. The canon will consequently receive the circular hands. The cutting process stops here for the flat dial, and for the curved dial, we will have to carve a thicker steel plate to give it its curved shape.
April 20, 2020
That day, we soldered our feet to the dials. These feet will be clipped onto the movement to position the dial for the following operations and final assembly.
April 25, 2020
This Wednesday, big things are happening. Using sandpaper, we will soften the metal plate. This step will remove machining residue, then sand the surface and finally prepare it for polishing.
Directly after these stages of dial preparation, before lacquering and varnishing, the plate must be properly polished to obtain a perfectly smooth surface to eliminate micro-scratches. This stage of the process is very meticulous, and we establish the bases of the best quality to limit the problems which can arise later. Indeed, we always have some surprises…
April 27, 2020
The dials now have the desired shape, they are polished and ready to receive their first layer of lacquer for the curved dials and varnish for the flat dials. Here we begin the last and most delicate stage of the production of the dials.
Whether lacquer or varnish, the process remains the same, but as you may have seen in pictures, the rendering is different. To prevent particles of dust from settling on the dial, we isolate it in a special cabin under very strict conditions. Our standards of cleanliness are high to offer you high-quality parts. Then, the varnish is applied with care, set to dry, and adheres to the metal plate before adding a second coat to obtain our famous velvet colors. Generally, a lacquer is applied on a flat surface and it is thus easier to manage the thickness of the coats. On our curved dials, the operation is more complicated and requires a special technique which is a secret recipe from the Maison!
May 7, 2020
Our dials are now dressed in their velvet color. So, it is time to focus on the last details. Let us start with the decal, here it is to add the inscriptions that should appear on the plate. Whether on flat or curved dials, you will always find the same three inscriptions: “Beaubleu Paris”, “Création Parisienne” (Parisian creation), and “Automatique” (automatic). This pad printing process is carried out in a white room to prevent the encrusting of dust particles once again. You may have a question in mind, but what is pad printing?
A pear-shaped tool collects the ink inscription on an engraved surface, then immediately moves it on the dial to obtain a clear and precise inscription.
May 12, 2020
Today we insert the indexes. The application of the indexes which are in the form of a lamp requires a different technique. These elements must be applied meticulously in their reserved place on the dial. They thus create a relief effect that accentuates the contrasts of the dial and therefore of the watch. And you know, it is all about contrast with Beaubleu watches!
May 20, 2020
Now is the time for quality control, an important step as it determines which parts can be used and which have defects.
May 27, 2020
Following the quality control of the dials, defects were detected on 4% of the parts. These defects, not visible to the naked eye, are most often micro-dust between the varnish and the metal plate or microbubbles in pad printing. They, therefore, lead to the scrapping of these parts to remake them from scratch. By this process, we install a high level of quality for our pieces.
This is how the first part of our logbook of the production collection ends. In the next article, we will detail the manufacturing of the cases, which requires different know-how but is just as exciting.
You got it, you will be able to preorder our new Union Collection from February 29th at 00:01. To centralize and simplify the preorder process, everything will happen with the crowdfunding platform called Kickstarter. Never heard about it? No worries, this article is made for explaining how the platform works and the simple step to follow to preorder your watch.
Kickstarter is a crowdfunding platform with the objective to achieve for starting the production. Through this process, you take part in the Beaubleu adventure and you have the opportunity to have your watch before anyone else.
Our goal is to reach and overtake the crowdfunding objective –the sky is the limit. When the campaign will end, we will start the manufacturing process of your watch.
Our Kickstarter page will be online on February 29th at 00:01. This page gives you access to all the details concerning the new collection, from the creation to the production chain. After learning everything about our project (if you did not know it), discover the 3 simple steps to follow for preordering your watch:
When you are on our Kickstarter page, on the right side, you will see a column with different rewards. You just have to select the one you want.
After having selected your reward, you will be invited to subscribe to Kickstarter in a few seconds. When your personal informations are completed, you will be automatically redirected to the payment page, the preorder final step.
When our Kickstarter campaign will end (April 5th), we will send you a survey about your watch choice(s) and the options available (strap, engraving, etc).
Finally, we will keep you in touch about the different manufacturing steps until the reception of your watch in July.
The Beaubleu adventure continues, thanks to you. Your support on Kickstarter will help us to extend our brand and to be internationally known. Let’s start this new chapter together on February 29th!
Thank you again for your support and enthusiasm.
We wish you wonderful hours.
The Beaubleu team.
In a previous article, we talked about our circular hands, signature of Beaubleu which give a new vision of the time and a poetic reading of the clock. Now we would like to go back in the time and relate the story of the hands and how they affect the design and the personality of a watch.
Everything started with only one hand. Remember the sundials we talked about. The shadow of the sun on a flat surface used to tell the time of the day. This shadow gave birth to the hand for the hours, which was the only one until 1691. From this date, after the invention of the Spiral which gave more accuracy, the hands for the minutes have been invented by Daniel Quare. After in 1812, the first hands manufactory was created by Charles Wagnon. Other manufactories were created with more than 400 types of hands.
Despite all these types, they have the same composition: the base, the neck, the head and the body. And what do you think of talking about the most important types of hands?
The baton hands
Part of the most common hands, the baton hands have a straight and flat form, relatively dense. They can have a tip at the end.
The sword-shaped hands
As their name indicated, they have the form of a sword to indicate the hour. They are often on military or diving watches.
The Dauphine hands
The Dauphine hands take the form of an elongated triangle with a relief at the center. This is because of the facets.
The Breguet Hands
Invented in 1783 by the famous watchmaker Abraham Louis Breguet, this thin and litgh hand has at its end a hollowed-out moon.
The Skeleton hands
This type of hands permits to see the dial underneath. They have been cut to open their body.
The spear hands
The spear hands dispose of a more significant shape, with a tip as an arrow taking the shape of a triangle. This type of hand is often used for the sportive watches, known for their great readability.
The Beaubleu hands
The Beaubleu circular hand offer a more poetic vision of the time. Compare to the other hands which show an absolute time, the Beaubleu hands indicate a location which stop for an instant.
Finally, the watch’s hands, despite what we can think, are at the heart of the dial and then at the center of the design. They can make everything change about the personality of the watch.
For some models, they become a reference. Such as the circular hands of our Beaubleu’s watches.