Dial Manufactory

  • Glashütte Original Dial Manufactory

    On artists and their canvases

19/12/2016

Glashütte Original is one of the few watch manufactories to make its own dials. The production of highly refined dials from Glashütte Original takes place in our in-house dial manufactory, located 600 km away in Pforzheim.

Dials in making

Design and Blanks

As soon as the design and the material for a future dial have been defined, a team comprised of goldsmiths and dial specialists begin to manufacture them. The Pforzheim dialmaker is one of the few producers to make its own dial blanks as well. Depending on the model, different materials such as brass, German silver, bronze or gold are used.

Milling, Drilling and Surface Treatment

As soon as the dial blank has been produced and the initial milling and drilling completed, the so-called “feet” are mounted on the dial, so that it can be positioned properly on the movement. The surface is then ground and polished, after which – depending on the model – additional processing is performed.

Galvanization and Lacquers

Depending on the watch design, different dials are given their individual character and their “face“ by means of galvanization or the application of lacquer to their surface. In the case of galvanization, metallic material (e.g. silver or ruthenium) is applied evenly to the surface by means of electrolysis. Lacquers are sprayed evenly on the surface by hand and then dried for one or two hours in a kiln.

Printing

One of the last and most difficult steps in the process is printing. The so-called pad-printing method makes use of a silicone or rubber balloon to pick up ink from a “cliché” (negative engraving). The inked dial must then be left to dry for 30 minutes. The entire print process is governed manually and takes place under clean-room conditions. With particularly complicated dials – like the one for the Grande Cosmopolite Tourbillon – 12 different prints must be applied in sequence.

Appliques

Most of the work involved in making a dial is performed by hand, whether it is the careful mounting of appliques, precious stones or the application of Super-LumiNova.

  • Sunray Finish

    The decorative sun ray finish is applied using a rotating brass brush.

  • Set-up and operation of the device are performed manually, while regular rotation is assured by means of a small motor.

  • Circular Finish

    The circular finish, also known as “vinyl” pattern, is applied using a lathe. A turning tool cuts a thin thread of metal out of the rotating dial blank, resulting in a pattern of fine grooves.

  •  This pattern is used in particular to decorate auxiliary dials such as those on a number of Pano models.

  • Mother-of-pearl

    A mother-of-pearl dial is always cut in one piece from the shell and is only 0.4 mm thick. In order to protect the razor-thin material from breaking, it is mounted on a brass or German silver disc, which is also only 0.4 mm thick. Additional colour effects can be achieved by applying, for example, blue or pink lacquer between the dial and its support; the colour then filters through the mother-of-pearl, lending it a special coloured shimmer.

  • Moon Disc

    Function and aesthetics merge in the moon phase display, which is also made in the dial manufactory. Its basic material consists of bronze or German silver. First, galvanization produces the deep blue night sky, onto which silver or gold-coloured stars are applied. The two moons are then cut out with a milling tool, which gives them their convex form. The surface of the “moons” is then finished using a special diamond milling tool, which assures a unique brilliance.

  • With flair and passion

    The manufactory is the soul of Glashütte Original. It is where quality timepieces are crafted with great skill, passion and experience.

    More about the manufactory
  • Under the sign of excellence since 1845

    Glashütte Original embodies the highest level of German watchmaking art. A culture of excellence and creativity has been established here over many generations. It continues to inspire us to this day, constantly driving us to innovate and develop new products.

    Learn more about our brand philosophy