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Presently: Bevelling and finishes in top-of-the-range watchmaking

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- Autoquartz
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- Watch Professionals I
- Watch Professionals II
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- Bevelling and finishes...(I)
- Bevelling and finishes...(II)
- Bevelling and finishes...(III)
- Bevelling and finishes...(IV)
- Bevelling and finishes...(V)
- Bevelling and finishes...(VI)

- Bevelling and finishes...(VII)
- Bevelling and finishes...(VIII)
- Bevelling and finishes...(IX)
- Bevelling and finishes..(X)
- The Tourbillon
- Observations on top-of-the-range mechanical watches I
- Observations on top-of-the-range...II
- Observations on top-of-the-range...III
- Observations on top-of-the-range...IV
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The author

Having acquired an educational background in economics and literature, Caroline Sermier fell in love with watchmaking right from her arrival at Renaud & Papi.
Her current responsibilities as head of the communication department allows her to blend a taste for writing with her fascination for complicated watches, and particularly for the finishing and decorative details on top-of-the-range luxury watches.

12. Bevelling and finishes in top-of-the-range watchmaking

I

Is it enough that a manufacturer claims to belong to high-end watchmaking, for that to be true? Is it enough for a product to be expensive in order to really be part of this category? A few questions immediately spring to mind ; is price a criterion, and if not, how can one define the real notions of quality ? Is the top of the range a question of products or of brand reputation?


We will attempt to establish a few elements that genuinely define the top of the range. The issue is really to determine where the limit between the top of the range and luxury actually lies.
While the high-end segment implies the objective criterion of price, luxury focuses on the subjective criteria of image, dreams and emotions…
The excellence of a watch is of course determined by technical options chosen and reliability, but the level of finish and it is the aesthetic choices that make all the difference. The time taken in crafting a top-of-the-range watch is considerably longer than average.

The object of an in-depth pursuit of harmony, design and aesthetic guidelines that are laid down right from the conception of the movement. Each detail is taken into consideration in order to achieve the best possible result in terms of quality and aesthetics. All parts of the watch must be carefully thought out, meticulously perfected down to the smallest detail, optimised, fine-tuned. A tradition of craftsmanship and a wealth of know-how are combined with cutting-edge technology and exemplary finish. The tradition of watchmaking expertise and authenticity is thus maintained while ensuring objective quality, meaning impeccable workmanship.

II

Finishing a movement consists of performing all the decorative operations once the functional machining operations have been completed, in order to create the artistic emotion of beauty and technical perfection.
All surfaces of the parts are touched up, corrected and decorated. These operations are entirely done by hand with various tools such as : files, buffs, stones, burnishers and a polishing lathe.

Among the finishing techniques, one is particularly representative of the top of the range : namely chamfering, which consists of fine bevelling and polishing the edges of a given watch part. . Bevelling is an extremely meticulous task enabling the watchmaker to eliminate the traces of machining and any unattractive burrs which might impede the smooth functioning of the mechanism.
The shape of the part is thereby underscored and the light plays on the bevels, giving a pleasing effect: it represents a significant criterion of aesthetic finish.

III

The accomplishment of these tasks results in various surfaces such as graining on flanks, trimming, straight graining, matt appearance, mirror-polish bevelling and smooth polishing.
The authenticity of hand-bevelling can be seen by the "clean" edges of the interior and external angles, as no machine is currently capable of achieving them.

A watch must also be distinguished by the care devoted to finishing the smallest details, while nonetheless remaining free from any superfluous ornamentation. Thanks to the purity of its lines and its remarkable understated appearance, one rediscovers that a beautiful watch is sometimes a very simple watch - as simple as tradition itself.
Some brands have fully grasped this and succeed in merging technical and jewellery performances : a real jewel and a real watch.

In a nutshell, aesthetic appearance must in no way attempt to compensate for any technical deficiency, no must it be detrimental to the smooth running of the complication.
While a watch is still a device for measuring time and will remain so, even such a highly technical product is nonetheless an object whose aesthetic qualities are a determining factor in a purchase decision.
Harmonious proportions, remarkable quality of craftsmanship : the fruit of a passion devoted to satisfying the demanding aesthetic tastes of a public of connoisseurs.

   

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