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Dials, dials, dials - your input sought!

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1 Dials, dials, dials - your input sought! on Fri Oct 23, 2009 3:45 pm

Fellow Dornblüth fans –

Many of us know how getting our first Dornblüth leads to wanting to get another (yes, Roger, looking at you). Often this is oriented around wanting a different movement/complication, but sometimes it arises from wanting a different dial, particularly since they are all variations of the marine deck watch theme and are all very beautiful.

One of the difficult things about making these choices is our reliance on photos, since Dornblüths are not widely seen nor are there many AD’s to drop in on. The problem is most acute when comparing the three light-colored Dornblüth dials: the silver, the engraved, and the enamel (I think the black and blue dials photograph fairly well).

So putting aside questions of availability and watch model, I’d like to get the community take on the dials that come with the lovely blued hands. If you have several models and can compare, or if you’ve been lucky enough to visit Kalbe and seen these in person, please weigh in! And if you haven’t, well, give an opinion, and why, anyway!

Below is my take, even though the only Dornblüth I have is black-dialled…
-Tom

Silver dial:
Advantages:
- traditional Dornblüth, and the original “matte, grainy finish”
- appears to be great fine detail: printing, concentric circles in subdials, etc
- sterling silver base – can’t see it, but a very cool detail

Questions: do you still prefer this dial, given the later introductions of the engraved and enamel dials?

Engraved dial
:
Advantages:
- evokes the tradition of ship’s chronometers, which typically had engraved dials
- better depth from the engraved and filled numbers
- created in-house
- possibly customizable?

Questions: is the level of detail achieved by engraving equal to the printed silver dial?
Is the silver finish on the dial the same or different from the standard printed dial?

Enamel dial:
Advantages:
- rarity and beauty of true fired enamel
- long-term stability
- marine deck watch traditional for at least some historical examples

Questions: How does the whiteness of the dial appear? Clean/pure, or antiseptic?
How is the quality of execution? No criticism at all intended, but I have seen enamel-dial photos from other manufacturers that frankly look average compared to high-quality printed dials.
Value: this is not an inexpensive option. Is it worth it to you?

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2 Dials on Sat Oct 24, 2009 12:31 am

Thanks for this stellar, thought provoking post. I have not yet had the pleasure to own or spend time handling an enamel dialed Dornblüth, so I must limit my response to comparing the silvered dials. Both the printed and engraved dials exhibit a grainy, shimmering appearance in certain light. Both are eye catching and beautiful. But they are different. Perhaps these shots are helpful:





The printed dial has a polished, mass produced appearance, while the engraved dial looks more workmanlike upon close inspection. The printing process appears to allow for a more fine point, but the engraved dial's marks are clearly deeper.

I wonder what the large arabic hour markers from the 99.x or 04.0 would look like on an engraved dial? I wonder if the Regulator would appear slightly less classic with a printed dial?

One thing's for sure: Dirk is quite proud of his newly acquired competency to produce his engraved dials in house. On balance, I would choose to support that above all else.

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3 Re: Dials, dials, dials - your input sought! on Sat Oct 24, 2009 6:37 pm

dornblogger wrote:Thanks for this stellar, thought provoking post. I have not yet had the pleasure to own or spend time handling an enamel dialed Dornblüth, so I must limit my response to comparing the silvered dials. Both the printed and engraved dials exhibit a grainy, shimmering appearance in certain light. Both are eye catching and beautiful. But they are different. Perhaps these shots are helpful:





The printed dial has a polished, mass produced appearance, while the engraved dial looks more workmanlike upon close inspection. The printing process appears to allow for a more fine point, but the engraved dial's marks are clearly deeper.

I wonder what the large arabic hour markers from the 99.x or 04.0 would look like on an engraved dial? I wonder if the Regulator would appear slightly less classic with a printed dial?

One thing's for sure: Dirk is quite proud of his newly acquired competency to produce his engraved dials in house. On balance, I would choose to support that above all else.

This is a difficult one:
But I still prefer the printed dial.
Pichao

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4 Re: Dials, dials, dials - your input sought! on Sun Oct 25, 2009 7:11 pm

tee530 wrote:
Value: this is not an inexpensive option. Is it worth it to you?

Hello !

By the way, does anyone has an idea of the price as replacement of an existing "standard" dial ?

Thank you for your help

Francis



Cool Very Happy Cool

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5 the enamel is gorgeous....! on Sun Oct 25, 2009 9:13 pm

I haven't seen the silver or engraved dials in person, but the enamel dial is a thing of beauty. I wouldn't call it antiseptic. It strikes me as bright and clean and pure. Here's a shot next to a Nomos, which I'm assuming would be similar to a silver dial:



A close up to show the crisp, flawless printing:



It's a difficult choice, as all the dials are beauties, but I do not regret the enamel dial decision at all. Well worth the additional fee.

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6 Re: Dials, dials, dials - your input sought! on Mon Oct 26, 2009 4:40 pm

Roger -
Thanks for your insights; you've seen many more of these than most of us have! Agreeing with you, I'd have to say that one of the main attractions of the engraved dial is that it is now an in-house creation. Like the movement, which may not be perfect, but is the result of a vision and loving execution, the engraved dial is a Kalbe creation and is a large step in the development of the Dornblueth manufacture. By the way, the Gorch Foch has the engraved dial with the large arabics, has anyone seen this watch in person?

Pichao -
I understand your point, the printed dial has a fineness of detail, coupled with the sparkly silver dial, which is very eye-catching. It's The Original!

Candle -
Thanks for the macro of your dial. The printing does look perfect, and better (dare I say it) than the macros of an A. Lange Langematik Anniversary enamel dial that I've seen. 70 years from now, yours will be looking just as perfect.


Well, keep the comments coming. I think I read somewhere about a rumored German collector of Dornblueth watches who owns an example of every available dial paired with every available movement in each case metal. Aside from the need to win the lottery, this seems like the surest way to resolve this dilemma (trilemma?!)

-Tom

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7 Great thread on Tue Oct 27, 2009 2:08 am

By the way, the Gorch Fock has the engraved dial with the large arabics, has anyone seen this watch in person?

That's right! And I've seen it when I visited Kalbe last January. It is flawless.


I think I read somewhere about a rumored German collector of Dornblueth watches who owns an example of every available dial paired with every available movement in each case metal.

This collector must be a kindred spirit. If the story is true, I'd sure enjoy the chance to see his/her collection. It seems improbable though, given all of the potential permutations, both offered in the catalog and imagined by the customers. Wink

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