product of authentic attention to detail
and quality is unmistakable. Really beautiful movements have
an immediate and distinct appearance on visual inspection, even to the naked
eye. The perfect color, gloss, and sheen on all surfaces gives
the movement an immaculate, silvery-black, almost ethereal quality.
And closer inspection, with a loupe or with the extreme magnification
used in this article (and used by good watchmakers), only improves
the expense of excellent watch finishing is worth the cost is an issue that each must decide
for himself and in respect of his budget. What does it take to
make a good watch? A wonderful watch? A superb watch? That all
depends on what you are looking for. Almost any watch, these
days, will tell you the time, and many will look good, on the
outside, while doing that. But very few watches tell you
about craft, beauty, and excellence expressed in one of the most
interesting mechanisms to come from the hand of man.
"The A-B-C's Of Watch Finish", by Walt Odets)
|Note about damascene watch movement finishing
("Geneva waves", perlage, etc.):
An anonymous horological expert has confirmed something I guessed from looking at pictures of
early A.-L. Breguet watches:
Even the very best damascening is less desirable than flawless
completely plain ("flat", almost mirror-like) finishing. The original reason for
damascening watch parts was that it was very difficult to produce perfectly flat metal surfaces. The
damascene decoration made the unflatness less noticeable. We may speculate that, as time went on,
even though it may have become less difficult to produce perfectly flat surfaces,
the damascening "took on a life of its own", and came to be valued for itself -- although not
for any good structural reason: i.e., the damascening became merely decoration.
I believe, as Adolf Loos wrote in his epochal essay (1907), that "Ornament is Crime".
All other things being equal, even the best damascene
watch movement "decoration" is undesirable.|
|"A drawing [watch, etc.], like a person,
takes a long time to get to know. If the work is authentic, it all hangs together
as a statement -- there are no oddities about it, and it is organic and coherent. If something
on closer inspection lets you down, it will continue to let you down. The more
you go back to it, the more it reveals its weaknesses." (Nicholas Turner, former curator, J. Paul Getty
Museum drawings collection, quoted in "A Crisis of Fakes", by Peter Landesman, The New York Times
Magazine, 18Mar01, p.37)|
|"Philippe Dufour told me
[Francois-Paul Journe] just the other day that my finishing quality is now good enough (laughter).
I can do even better, but my production cost may increase by 3 times. I have no intention to
make my collectors pay through their noses."
("The PuristS Interview Francois-Paul Journe",