The second stage of production is the Union Collection case manufacturing. In the previous article, you discovered the process and creation of the flat and curved dials. Today, we will introduce you to the next chapter of our series and will discuss the savoir-faire of the case’s fabrication.
Before we begin, it is important to note that our cases go through a unique design process. Generally, the horns are an integral part of the case, but in Beaubleu, the horns come to encircle it and screw inside the case. The challenges of our design, therefore, lie in the adjustment of parts and the treatment of surfaces. An exciting process but not without risk.
Let us start the manufacturing of the cases! Suffice to say that, for now, these are simple blocks of steel, and it will be a long journey before the results. To go from the draft to the result, you must follow different stages interspersed with measurement and annealing operations.
The first step in creating the middle of the case is the modeling of the steel block. It is a simple block that will be successively compressed and flattened ten times using rolling mills – machines made up of hardened steel cylinders. This stage changes the metal quality to create a compact solid shape. Each piece will have to pass the dimension test because each variation will be visible on the final product. Nothing we can’t handle!
Today, we are in the workshop to check the first pieces of the stamping stage. We will discuss with our craftsmen the various difficulties encountered and viable solutions.
The stamping operation, which would be like cutting, consists of shaping the medium with a stamp that crushes the material. Repeated several times, the metal gradually regains its shape. Between each stamping, the part is annealed and remeasured.
We begin to see the first elements of the Beaubleu watch horns. They are worked separately, and at this stage are only a silhouette of the design. We remain ruthless in the face of quality, and non-conforming parts are entirely reworked.
Once the stamping process is finished, the piece is now ready to begin the machining stage. The machining process is an important step, and failure at this level of manufacturing can result in significant costs. This step consists in sculpting the final shape of the parts, focusing on the mechanical aspect, i.e. ensuring the placement and drilling of the screws, the adjustment of the parts between them (case horns and movement), and the quality of the shapes (chamfers, fillets, curves, and solids).
At this stage, we finally have before us the Beaubleu pieces. The horns are hollowed out using an arm capable of positioning on five axes. This technique is called CNC 5-Axis Use and is intended for small series. In our case, it is the most advanced technology to obtain the expected result. The horns’ slenderness and position must be treated first by computer-controlled machines and after by hand.
Alex, a machining specialist, sums up our day with a laugh: “Your horns are beautiful, but hell to do.” In order not to spoil anything, pieces are precise to a tenth of a millimeter, with each part remeasured and redone from the start if it is considered non-compliant.
We knew it, but the machining step being extremely delicate, several parts were not in conformity: deformations of certain parts due to metal variations and other unexpected “pleasures”. So, we stay calm and begin again. Luckily, this has no impact on production times, which is a victory.
Considering the past few days and the relaxation of government working conditions regarding Covid-19, we are now entering the most beautiful stage: the treatment of surfaces. We have gone from a big block of steel to a rough watch. Now it is time for a final look at the metal of the Union collection: grained and polished. All visible parts are placed in a sealed box where very fine sand will be thrown at high speed. Abrasion of the steel will then give this grainy, almost powdery appearance. The challenge here is to better control the grain size to obtain homogeneous and delicate graining.
The next steps is polishing. Using a lathe, the parts are polished, being extremely careful not to protrude from the grained surfaces. Despite the loud noise of the machines, the workshop is plunged into religious silence for the concentration of each craftsman. A single movement can damage the sanded surface and if this is the case, we must start sanding completely.
Another element must be considered: the quality of the surface. Aside from the absence of scratches, the qualified experts, and our designer Nicolas, check the light and environmental expressions on the watch. It is like the body of a car, the reflective design will tell you if the part is “veiled”, concave, or convex. It is a question of experience at this level because if you remove too much material from the polishing, it is the assurance to start the part from the beginning.
There is a special mention for the hollowed-out ropes. Since no power tool is small enough to polish the interior, the finishes are done entirely by hand. Great progression!
A small routine check on the first steel watches begins. The angles of the parts are well controlled, and we see ourselves in the polished surfaces. Some parts have been reworked to meet our quality requirements.
Today, there are still different stages, such as the processing of certain models such as the Audace or Olympe from the Rive Gauche line, and of course the final assembly. In the meantime, we will focus on our signature round hands and their manufacturing process.
For a few days, for general health, we are encouraged to stay at home. But no worries, life is still going on and more than ever the Beaubleu adventure so. As you may know, our new Union Collection has highlighted some innovations such as the second’s hand, the lume, and the blued steel hands. And we will talk about these last ones.
You can see them on some models like the Olympe and the Intrepide, they are easily recognizable with their blue shades. We have chosen them to twirl on our dial because they give poetry – as we are always looking for – contrast – you can find it in every detail of our watches – and readability – their blued shade stays discrete to be more focused on the reading of time.
Today, more used for the aesthetics of our watches, the blued steel hands used to have specific usefulness.
Let’s go back a few decades ago, we can say the Before War period. The steel hands were flame blued to reduce the sensitivity of the metal against the corrosion. But what process do we use? It is quite simple – depending on your knowledge and experience of course – the blued color is obtained thanks to a temperature rise process. First, we heat red the steel and then we steep it to increase its resistance. Then, we heat it again at a specific temperature. If it is not heated enough, we will have yellow shade, if the temperature is too high, we’ll obtain a purple shade.
Here we are, you know all about our blued steel hands and the contrasts they give to our timekeeper while conserving the best reading of time possible. Each variation given by these hands extends the discovery of your watch and these surprises unfold by the everyday light. For us – and for you too – each detail counts, then it seemed important to us, and useful, to tell you these “small” information about our circular hands.
Even if the actual period in France is not the best ever, we will keep writing every week about our watch and our universe.
We wish you wonderful hours,
Take care and stay safe.
The Beaubleu Team
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.
You couldn’t miss it, our babies are out, and we did not expect this frenzy about the new collection! The excitement aside, I wanted to take a few minutes to talk to you about the story of the Union Collection. This part is the first step about the design process of the house before the launching (very expected) of the pre-orders.
A few months ago, someone asked me: “so how is going to be the new collection?”. I knew people were expecting a lot from this new creation, and I asked myself: How to offer more surprise and keeping at the same time the Beaubleu’s identity? Who will go these watches to? How to integrate the community’s expectations? Such a hard work…
However, before putting down my first thoughts, I strolled in Paris… From the antique stores to the design gallery and the 11th district restaurants, I was looking for a main thread for the entire collection. It was the moment to find the coherency.
I imagined this watch like an interior. From a room to another, the aspect stays because of the combination of warm and cold materials. The warmth of a wood table with a velvet sofa joined by a marble table, all these contrasts play with our senses, for our greatest pleasure.
As often, we have the same vision as our ambassadors. The envy of giving colors was evidence. So, what colors? How to keep the vibrating and warm side of the interior design? I started to buy velvet and satin to find deeper colors, that tell stories.
Once the main thread is found, it is complicated to not draw the first ideas, and keeping adding new materials, and images. We test our first inspirations, to see if, with time, we are not bored. This process is long and hard, but we cannot miss it, because if there is one thing that we don’t want, it is that became bored. No, no and No !
After, I compiled the finale inspirations, and I mixed them: a velvet with a polished steel, a green with a Soulage painting or a grained paper. And without any drawings, the models started to appear (almost) by themselves.
Then, the inpiration step is ending, but will stay on our Studio’s wall until the end of the production.
This step was celebrated with the team, of course, and the next day, the serious thngs were back with the step of creation.
Next week, same day, same hour, we meet for the second step of creation. We will talk about drawings and composition.
We wish you wonderful hours,
Nicolas Pham, Beaubleu’s designer
What a better exercise than making the evaluation of this passing year. The vision of time for Beaubleu depends on different elements. “A flash year” will say some of you, the others will be more like “long and tumultuous”. Anyway, it was an intensive year, full of emotions, challenges and news for our House renamed the Circular Hands House by some of you, and we are very proud.
As some of you already know it, we started this adventure in an Art gallery in the 10th district of Paris. We were surrounded by a community of passionate persons very interested by our pieces. We took care of preserving this relationship by staying on internet and giving the opportunity to everyone to choose his own numbered piece, but also to try the watches during private presentations.
Moreover, we couldn’t be prouder than when we heard discussions and comments about the new watch “of my boyfriend”, “of my birthday” or “my last purchase”: the Beaubleu watch.
One word, two syllables which has been known by the big department stores because of you. New opportunities came to us, being sold by renowned distributors. The success of our collaboration with Le Printemps has been fast from the first day.
Even if Beaubleu is ink in the main French cities, the watches travel around the world. They have been captured in Japan, US, Canada or Mexico.
At every hand’s location, a new way is drawn for Beaubleu and give us the possibility to grow up gradually because of strong and long-lasting relationships.
When you received your watch, we enter the Beaubleu Club, offering you a privileged relationship with our team. The confidence permitted us to share with you our last creations (before anyone else) – from the patina aspect straps made in our Parisian workshop to the new collection. You have been very passionate and enthusiast in the common House’s elaboration. The wall of our studio is now full of your messages, congratulations and encouragement (Instagram, emails, even letters) giving us the force to always surprise you with our creations.
New goals, new creations. You might know it, the first limited edition collection had a great success and since a few months, I am working on drawing and designing the next pieces with the new House’s aspirations. A collection which delete the frontier between watch for men and watch for women. A collection in the continuity of Beaubleu’s strength with the adding of elegant details for always more poetry and innovation.
The important challenge for this new year is also continuing to make new relationship while keeping privileged ones with our Ambassadors. This is why Beaubleu will be presenting the new collection in February.
Then it is with pleasure and enthusiasm that the entire Beaubleu team join me to wish you wonderful hours for 2020.
Designer and cofounder
As we use to tell you with Atelier Penso, meeting a craftsman means the travel, which is as much interesting as incongruous. The chance brings us out of Paris, in the middle of the south of France’s vines, where we meet Romy, founder of Lignée Studio.
When we arrive, we question ourselves about this beautiful location to talk about art, creation and design. A wine domain to talk about design? Yes, everything started there for Romy and it is a beautiful story. First, a smell from the winery room comes to our nose, the smell of the soft humidity which keep safe the wine and the wood. Once we get in, Romy shares with us the heart of her creation, not about wine but time, the one which improve and tell a story. We travel in the times: past, present and future. We have been fascinated by Romy’s capacity to be inspired by shapes and uses of the past. There are the ones with her father, where the hand’s intelligence brings to spontaneity and personality in the making. This location where we are, overhung by a luminaire composed of 1000 bottles of wine in the Winery room.
Questioning the essence of the jewel itself, where the owner is not only a person but also a place. It extends the identity of the location and of the owner. Of course, we are inspired and when we ask how she created this link between the creation and the owner, she answers naturally “as you came here, the same sensitive, olfactory, visual and sensory process”. Recreating the emotional link with the objects we are surrounded by, for a use more just and poetic, a creed that Beaubleu approve completely.
Always looking for the creativity and the essential, we met Paul Jaquet, architect and founder of HAME. We had a discussion about the multidisciplinary, the creation and the time.
Everything has started with an email sent by Paul Jaquet to have a private presentation. We met him at our office where he can observe and try our watch collection. We talked a lot and we finished talking about fascinating subjects such as the architecture, the car industry and and the craftsmanship. However, we did not have enough time, so we decided to meet again. This time we will go somewhere completely different, his architecture studio called Hame.
The next Friday (it was in January), we were strolling in the 10th district streets, enjoying some sun. When we arrived in front of a 19th century building, Paul appeared at the entrance and invited us to pass by a small hidden door. And here, surprise! We found THE dreamed place: a real last century workshop tank under a skylight and surrounded by plants.
« No more excuse to not work well” says Paul while showing the workshop where we can smell the odour of fresh printed plans. Blue jacket, black T-shirt, a blue jean lightly patinated, leather shoes, a Moleskine notebook and his Beaubleu watch (the Lumineux), Paul, passionate architect, welcomes us.
As a lot of us, Paul started in the biggest French companies. From an architecture price to another, the Hame agency was created. But why the architecture? For the same reason that we have created Beaubleu: to offer a new look on the civilizations while crossing the fields. What more exciting than “speaking and thinking the sociology, the culture and the philosophy in the creation”? When we look at the different works, we like to see that each project is animated by a research on the essential (no minimalism here) “of what make sense in a place”, a quest of accuracy. A sketch captures our attention: a series of lines shows a house front, we guess, but impossible to know exactly the step of construction. Paul sees us thinking of this sketch and tells us “this is the question of our life, how to finish a creation (architectural or not), August Peret used to say “the architecture is what makes beautiful ruins””. This sentence echoes the craftsman Adrien Penso when he speaks about the beauty of an object with its patina.
The architecture shares the same links concerning the time, questioning its origins and finality. For Paul Jaquet, the time is punctuated by moments of attention and others more unconscious, this is why we appreciate it, because of its relativity.
Today, Beaubleu and Paul Jaquet have the same conception of the time in the work done: to spotlight the time in its smallest details, while growing this vision. Nothing more surprising then to see a poster where it was written « Temporality and creation, its taking the time to go faster”, inspired by an old advertising slogan.
We finish the interesting morning the head full of images, inspiration and motivation to grow Beaubleu. The adventure is just starting and as said Paul “don’t forget, kill two birds with one stone!”.
We wish you wonderful hours,
Think of the first time you were in front of a text about a watch. Wow, it was such a thing. Don’t worry, it happened to us too, even our Beaubleu designer lived this moment. To help you for your choice or just for your curiosity, we have done a list of the main word that you will find in our Beaubleu’s website pages. Enjoy the Beaubleu watch lexicon !
The balance is a component which regulate the mechanical movement of your watch. Working with the balance spring, it produces a regular movement called oscillation. This is why you hear a « tic-tac ».
Finally, the spring regulate the watch’s movement by returning the balance at its initial position to start a new oscillation. More the quality is good more the precision is important.
Main element of the case, it is located on the top of the caseband and carry the glass of the watch. Depending of the watch, it can turn and shows, in this case, the duration of an event.
The caliber is watchmaking vocabulary to show that we have some skills. However this term names the movement of the watch.
The case is the component which protect the watch’s mechanism against impacts, humidity and dust. It is composed of several elements.
The case is composed of 3 pieces. The caseband is placed between the bottom of the case and the bezel.
The crown is a button located at 3 on your watch. It allows you to manually wide the movement and to set the clock.
The cylinder is an essential piece for the movement of the mechanism. Without a cylinder you cannot have a movement. This piece is a cylindrical case which contain the spring. The cylinder accumulates the energy produced by the spring and deliver it to the different gears of the movement.
The dial is one of the main piece of the watch. Why? it is what you see first. It shows various indications such as the hours, the minutes and the seconds.
Located at the ends of the case, they are used to clip the strap to the watch.
The index is the benchmarks for the hours. They have replaced the Roman and Arabic numbers through the history.
When a quartz watch needs batteries, the mechanical watch does need them. Indeed, it is composed of a mechanical movement which can be a manual winding or an automatic one. For your Beaubleu watch, we have chosen an automatic movement. It winds itself with the movement you make during the day. It is possible because of a rotor which turn around its axis. However, it is necessary to wind the watch manually regularly.
he watch’s movement is the set of pieces and mechanisms which make it work. This different movements are also called calibers.
The watch’s clasp is an important detail and it exists in different forms: the folding buckle, the butterfly buckle and the pin buckle. The last one is the one we used for Beaubleu’s watches. It is composed of a buckle and a metal rod, like your belt buckle. This type of claps is used for our leather straps but you will never find it on a metal strap. The good thing with this kind of buckle is that you can adjust ore precisely the size of the strap.
The spring is the watch’s source of energy. It is a small steel tape which is rolled inside the cylinder.
As you know, today the watches are not only used to indicate the time. These other functions are called watchmaking complications and some of them are very wanted by the watch amateurs. Here some of them: the perpetual calendar, the chronograph or the time zones.
The Beaubleu watch lexicon is finished. Of course, we did not list the entire watchmaking vocabulary. We want that you continue to read us and like it! However, with this basis, we will be able to have some benchmarks. If you have any questions, we are here to reply, and it will be with pleasure and passion!
You all know our black straps from Florence which match perfectly our watches. Maybe you know them too well… Then we have decided to create a finished patina aspect straps collection mixing our favorite ingredients: elegance, poetry and Parisian craftsmanship. This collection is composed of four shades inspired by our preferred Parisian locations.
Before telling you our knowhow technic for the finished patina aspect of our straps, we have to go back to the basis. What is the patina? At the beginning, the patina was a wear mark on leather shoes. For Beaubleu, we prefer to say that it is the mark of the time. Scratches become the physic manifestation of the lived stories. This natural patina takes time and give a real personality to the leather. However, there is quite a big problem: the time. We need months and often years to obtain a good natural patina. This is how comes the manmade patina. It makes the same effect but faster, in a few hours only. Nevertheless, this technic need experience and a unique knowhow.
The finished patina aspect straps are entirely made in France. In natural calf leather, they are produced in Besancon and bring back to Paris, in our workshop. Each piece is unique because of the handmade patina technic used. First, we select the best silk hair paintbrush. After we apply two layers of leather paint to establish the color basis. Each bracelet can react differently with the color contact. The craftsman has then to adapt himself. Of course, this adaptation capacity depends on his experience.After a break of a few hours, the time for the leather paint to dry, we start the most meticulous step of the process which need patience and attention. We have to apply the darker color while lightly brushing the strap. This gesture will highlight the volume and the color depth. After some more hours resting, the result is here. The finale touch consists in applying a last protecting layer for the leather and the shade. Here we are, the finished patina aspect Beaubleu is ready to join your watch.
Two years ago, we organized the launch of our first circular hands collection in an Art Gallery in the center of Paris. Some of you were present, and later the others have joined our universe. But no matter when you arrived because today, you are all a piece of the Beaubleu story.
Watchmaking is a world of artistic and technic innovations, we all agree. But don’t you think it kept something too traditional and “old”? Rules have never changed and today we find more and more copies of the most iconic watches. Where have the creation and the innovation gone? By creating Beaubleu, we want to offer a new vision of the time. But first, what is the time? Each answer is very personal and unique. Of course, the time is a value, yet it changes, becoming longer or shorter depending on the moment. Compare the five minutes while you wait for your train (always late) and the five minutes you take to enjoy your glass of Whisky or your favorite cake. Verdict?
I think Beaudelaire couldn’t find another sentence which match better with the identity of Beaubleu. Why do we think that something is beautiful? Let’s get out of the esthetic side. The Beautiful can be something different, the perception of what is beautiful changes for everyone. An object becomes beautiful because of an artistic and créative process , as we talked about when we met the Atelier Penso. And about the strange? Actually, we think that the strange is a singularity which tends to get out of the usual codes. For Beaubleu, our singularity must be our beloved circular hands, signature of the House.
The hands, often forgotten by the watchmaking industry, are the result of deep design researches for Beaubleu. They offer a different way of reading the time, more poetic and narrative. Usually the hands show a direction however for us they mark a moment, an instant which becomes yours. Our hands dance and twirl to create a moving graphic which will surprise you every minute.
The time story of Beaubleu starts with its name and its design signature, but writing the story of its rime it’s writing the story of your time. On this way of making the time something more personal, we want to create a real relationship with you dear Ambassador. We had the pleasure to meet you and you shared with us the most private anecdotes such as the date of your wedding and your favorite Brooks. The future is full of surprises because, as you know, you can access to several events only with your watch. And last but not least, you will participate in the creation and elaboration of our next collections. Never forget, the time of Beaubleu is before all your time!