Dialling Back To The Past
The enamel-dialled watch honours Breguet’s work in every way. The first thing that catches the eye in this new timepiece is the pure white dial that has been produced using the ancestral art of grand feu enamel.
Enamel is a type of glass that is applied onto a metal support and heated until the two fuse together. Its properties include a mixture of silica, a sand-like material, and a variety of other substances such as soda, potassium carbonate and borax that are prepared following ancient recipes.
The process of enamelling watch dials has hardly changed since it was first used on pocket watches in the 1600s. It all starts with the preparation of the enamel powder that is meticulously washed and cleaned to remove any impurities that could otherwise ruin the dial.
The kiln is where the magic happens and only an experienced eye knows when to put the dials in and take them out. In the past, kilns were often placed in a dark room to help the enameller gauge the temperature by looking at the colour inside of the kiln. Nowadays the kilns are fitted with temperature gauges to help the enamellist, but a trained eye and experience are still critical.
Once the enamel has fused perfectly with the dial, it is taken out of the kiln and left to cool. This process is then repeated several times until a pure and luminous white coating is fixed onto the brass base that also has a ceramic insert. This perfect white is thus fixed in time and will never tarnish, as centuries of enamel objects have proven.