Behind The Scenes Of Glashütte Original’s Dial-Making ProcessWritten by Alvin Wong
Fascinating and laborious in equal measure.
Two of our favourite watches from 2018, Glashütte Original’s Sixties (above) and Sixties Panorama Date annual edition series feature mesmerising textured green dials that demand close inspection. The retro-style dials are modelled after those found on watches manufactured by the brand in the 1960s, specifically a line known as the ‘Spezimatic’. Models featuring coloured retro-style dials are part of an annual edition series, in which a different colour will be premiered every year.
The making of these dials are no easy feat, to say the least. The process starts at Glashütte Original’s own dial manufactory in Pforzheim. The dial manufactory has roots as Th. Müller company, a dial-making factory that was acquired by the Swatch Group in 2006, and subsequently integrated with Glashütte Original in 2012.
Cutting a dial blank
The striking textured pattern you seen on the dial of the Sixties and Sixties Panorama Date annual editions is created by embossing the surface of a silver dial blank. This is done by using a 60-tonne press – the same method that was used more than 50 years ago.
Embossing patterns on the dial
Another distinctive characteristic of the dials are their domed edges. To achieve this profile, the silver dial blanks are first cut to size, with holes punched to make room for the hands, and following that, passed through a second press.
After achieving the right size and profile, the dial blanks are imbued with their striking hues. Several coats of green lacquer are applied to get the perfect foliage tone. Next, black paint is hand-sprayed on the perimeter of the dial for a gradient effect, known as a ‘dégradé’ finish. Because every dial is hand-sprayed, the result for each dial is entirely distinctive and unique. Finally, the lacquered dials are baked in a kiln to set the colours.
Cutting the hour markers
The hour markers, indexes and brand logo take the spotlight in the final stages. A precision diamond-cutting tool slices through the layers of lacquer etch the hour indexes, revealing the patterns in dial’s original German silver.
Printing the numerals (left) and applying Super-LumiNova
The numbers ‘3’, ‘6’, ‘9’ and ‘12’, the Glashütte Original logo, the words ‘Glashütte i/Sa’ (which stands for Glashütte in Saxony) and words ‘Made in Germany’ are pad printed in white. Last by not least, Super-LumiNova is hand-applied on the hour indexes to complete this 25-step dial-making process.
Alvin promises not to be a douche when talking about watches. He may have scoured the Basel and Geneva watch fairs for the past 15 years, and played an instrumental role to the growth of Singapore's pioneering horological and men's lifestyle publications, but the intrepid scribe seeks to learn something new with each story he writes.