Obsessive Attention To Unseen Detail, And Why I love Luxury Watch Decoration: Audemars Piguet Openworking Video

Obsessive Attention To Unseen Detail, And Why I love Luxury Watch Decoration: Audemars Piguet Openworking Video

jules-audemars-equation-of-time-skeletonized-watch I like to share with people that luxury mechanical watch movements are so meticulously decorated. Most of what is spent weeks or months working on will never be viewable to anyone save for other watch makers. It is true, the highest-end watch movements have each piece decorated by hand (hundreds of pieces), most of which are hidden inside of the movement. Does this help in the function of the watch? Typically is doesn't, but it is often a matter of pride and tradition - something watches are all about. Audemars Piguet has been on a roll creating "educational" marketing videos about how they make watches and the assembly and decoration thereof. A lot of these can be found features at TheTimeTV.com. Here is one particular video that displays a lot of impressive handiwork. It is all about "the art of openworking," or otherwise the creation of decorated skeletonized movements. This video details a little bit about the decoration of the Audemars Piguet Jules Audemars Equation of Time Skeletonized watch (there is a non skeletonized version as well).

You have to realize that what the engraver is doing in the video is really hard. They make it look easy, but they have been doing it for years. Most of their tools they even make themselves. Applying the right amount of pressure, being able to articulate shapes, and not making mistakes takes years of training. I actually tried doing this myself under a microscope in Germany, it is not easy to get anything that doesn't look like a bunch of random scratches. In the video the engraver at Audemars Piguet designs a rope motif which makes the exposed parts of the movement plate, rotor, and bridges look like threaded rope. The engraving process on a watch like the Jules Audemars Equation of Time Skeletonized can take weeks if not months. The same engraver does a lot of the work and must do everything carefully. All the effort does pay off in the end, and the decorated "competition" quality movements look phenomenal. So again, why all the work? Because that is really part of luxury. Your expensive watch has been lovingly decorated by masters in their field using time honored techniques without a hint of robotic programming or synthetic style. It is all by hand, and it is all by professionals. It is important to see them in action as just viewing the final result doesn't tell you the entire story. Once you realize how long they put into it, that $100,000 plus price tag starts to make a lot more sense.



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1 comments
Brian
Brian

Thanks for sharing that video! The craftsmanship and artistry that goes into mechanical watches never ceases to amaze me. I confess that I have a great love of skeleton movements and unless a watch has a display caseback, it is a hard sell unless it has other features going for it (e.g., water resistance).

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