For those who are interested in the process, history
and terms of dial refinishing, We created this page to explain
about the various techniques and styles:
Butler Dial (Silver)
is the most simple and very common finish in early American
wrist watches, especially Hamilton and Elgin models, and
in some military style Swiss watches. The finish of the
surface is satin-glossy.
The surface is in silver tone and it has print(s) of the
logo and indexes, normally in black. The print is similar
to enamel dials and in some early Swiss military style dials
it is also common to find the '12' figures in either red
or dark blue.
Pearl White (Argenté
This surface finish was widely
common in the Swiss dial industry since the early 20th century
and was fairly popular in the United States as well, especially
for lady Elgin models. The surface has a matte-satin texture
and has a color combination of white with shimmering effect
that look like pearl tone.
While most of the dials are printed in black ink, some more
expensive dials were made with hard enamel print which was
much more durable over time.
The numbers/markers were punched
from the bottom of the surface and then polished to the
original tone of the dial, normally golden, with contrast
to the finished surface (normally pearl white or silver).
Once created, they cannot be taken off from the dial (as
opposed to applied numerals).
with embossed figures were common both in the Swiss and
American industry since the early 30s. Many Hamilton models,
as well as Gruen, Bulova and later on Elgin models, were
using this technique.
These dials have a
combinations of more than one tone, texture or color
on the surface. Normally the combination would be
between Butler and Pearl finish -or- copper and gold
tones, as shown in the samples.
Colored dials are relatively newer
in the history of dial refinishing, as well as in the industry
itself, and became most popular in the late 60s with the
introduction of more colorful wrist watches by the Swiss
and Japanese makers.
We can accomodate most colors in either satin or glossy
On the right: Showing two identical Hamilton dials with
different background color and texture.
golden inlaid figures (And sometimes copper, or silver
tone inlaid as well) were very common in expensive models
of Elgin and Gruen, as well as other Swiss manufacturers.
The figures are part of the background and do not stick
out of the surface, as opposed to embossed figures or applied
figures. Refinishing gold inlaid figures require a lot of
stages and special attention to details.
figures were very popular on Hamilton models since
the early 30s and in some later Swiss models from
the late 40s and on.
In order to find out if your dial has applied or embossed
figures, you simply need to check the back of
the dial; If there are signs of grinding as shown
in the lower left photo (this effect is caused from
cutting the pins of the applied
figures) then the dial is applied. If the dial
is plain on the back then it is embossed.
This effect was
very common in round Swiss watches from the 40s-50s period,
especially in models by IWC Schaffhausen, DOXA and others.
Basically it is an external minute/seconds track of 60 small
pearl-like tiny dots, in a form of a circular engraving
on the surface of the dial. The idea is taking out the refinished
layer tone, resulting in an effect of small 'pearls' within
the original tone of the metal. Depending on the tone of
the metal, these will be either silver or golden in tone.
dots effect was very popular in Swiss wrist watches
since the early 50s and is still popular today, both in
Swiss and Japanese watches. The raised markers would have
a tritium or phosphorous based luminous
paste applied to them in a shape of a small dot, triangle
etc. to mark the appropriate marker, so the owner of the
watch can distinguish the hour differences in darkness.
Most original Swiss made
dials were manufactured with marking on the dial. Those
marks of origin would normally come below the '6' figure
in a small black print and were available in different variations
such as: SWISS, Switzerland, Swiss Made, Made in Switzerland,
T Swiss T (For dials where Tritium is used for luminous
dots/hands) and more.
We offer this complementary service to refinish your dial
back to its most original condition.