IT TAKES PATIENCE
That is why most watch companies don´t bother.
Grand feu enamel dials are notoriously hard to make and the process is both unforgiving and time consuming. It takes days for a skilled enameller to make a Vitreum enamel dial. Even then, many dials are discarded, if they do not live up to our strict standards.
Those that do make it will live in a quality timepiece for generations.
From sheet to dial
Each Vitreum dial starts its life as a thin sheet of sterling silver. A disc is cut out and, depending on the dial, it is either bent into shape or carved out by hand with a graver.
Afterwards, the blank dial is engraved by hand. This is what makes the light reflect differently from different angles.
Preparing the enamel
The raw enamel is crushed from lumps of glass into small particles resembling grains of sand.
After that the enamel is thoroughly washed to get rid of smaller enamel particles. This is to prevent cloudiness in the enamel.
This process is necessary for every single color that is used and requires a fair bit of patience.
The big grind
Into the kiln
Enamel glass is ground and meticulously layered on top of the silver dial and fired in a kiln at 850° C.
The other side of the dial receives several layers of what is called "counter enamel". Without it, the dial would risk cracking when cooled down.
Many layers of enamel are then applied to the front until the desired colour depth is achieved.
The big grind
After many layers of enamel and the dial has reached the desired color depth, the surface is uneven and will need to be ground down completely flat. This includes a great deal of hand grinding using various grits of diamond sanding tools.
11 herbs and spices
Akin to alchemy, enamelling has always been shrouded in mystery and secrecy. All brands who work with vitreous enamel have their own way of making their dials. We are no different.
A Vitreum dial is the product of hours upon hours of meticulous labour.
We feel, however, that it is more than worth the effort.