History/Watch Dials

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The Evolution of Watch Dials

Early watch dials were made of gilded metal engraved with numerals. Sometimes these numerals were engraved on a separate chapter ring made of silver. Occasionally the whole dial was made of silver.

Enamelled watch dials were introduced in the sixteenth century, some painted and others of the champleve style.

Later dials were made of silvered or gilded brass, with matt, brushed, polished, or engine turned finish. The numerals or batons can be printed on, embossed, or made of separate metal pieces glued to the dial.

There can be as many as 40 processes used in making a dial. The finest dials are made of platinum or gold, and for novelty other materials such as stone, leather, veneered wood, or linen have been employed.