Here is an example of a Jean-Baptiste Viot Chronomètre à Paris prototype, released in 2009. The Paris-based watchmaker has so far created no more than seven serially produced examples based on the design, that he created the traditional way, putting pencil to paper. It wears a 38mm white gold case with an open-style dial layout that showcases the calibre 14 based on the chronometre-grade Peseux 260.
Alongside the different forms of movement finishing, watchmakers through the ages have paid equal attention to the techniques used in dial finishing. After all, without the dial and its varying ticks, indices, windows, and sub-dials, the gears and springs of the movement remain uninterpretable to the untrained eye.
Like many other aspects of watchmaking, these dial finishing techniques lie at the intersection of art, human skill, and engineering. Before an artisan begins shaping a dial, it is a mere metal “blank” of highly polished brass, silver, or other metal. The application of finishes then adds texture, pattern, and structure to the dial, transforming the unmarked metal into a work of art through a combination of artistry and innovation. Techniques such as guilloché have existed for centuries, they have been carefully handed down from one to the next, with the current generation just as proud to carry on the tradition as they are keen to ensure it is passed on.