What is an enamel dial?
The art of decorative enamelling dates back millennia, making it one of the oldest artistic crafts still practiced in horology today. Despite the length of time that it's been around for, it still remains and incredibly specialist skill. As with much of the watch industry, the production of enamel dials has been carried-out by experts who dedicate their professional lives to understanding the intricate nature of a temperamental material.
Enamel is a type of glass that contains mainly silica as a base and then, with the addition of further elements, can take on an entire spectrum of shades and hues. Knowing the make-up of each of these colours and how they appear once fired, is just one of the talents that an enameller needs to master. Stored in a powder form, the colour of the enamel in its initials state, can often differ from the final product, adding a further complication to the craft.
It is the intricate, and sometimes hit and miss nature of these techniques that underpins the desirability of the dials. The painstaking process that these miniature artworks go through prior to being mounted into a watch, is such that many defective pieces get rejected and thrown away. However, when everything goes correctly, it is well worth the trouble.