The movement of my watch was now well underway so it was time to start considering the aesthetics of the watch itself. I decided to focus on the parts that I could produce myself, leaving parts that I will need to source such as a case and strap until a later date. My first port of call would be to design a dial that I could I produce and finish myself.
The 6498 being a rather large movement means the diameter of the dial is a sizeable 37 millimetres and the movement doesn’t have centre seconds. The lack of centre seconds means the secondhand is placed at 6 o’clock in a sub dial. Personally I’m not a big fan of time only watches with 3 centrally positioned hands so the 6498 layout is a good start.
I wanted to try and keep the layout of my dial as symmetrical as possible, to do this I would need another sub dial at the 12 o’clock position. The dial would have to display something and as I much as I like chronographs, there was no way I had either the time or necessary skills required to build a bespoke chronograph module. I’m not keen on sub dials that display the date and the school doesn’t the equipment required to engrave or print numbers. It was then that I came across the not often seen complication called ‘Regulateur’.
A Regulateur watch generally displays its hours, minutes and seconds separately with 2 dials often at 12 and 6 o’clock but sometimes at 3 and 9 o’clock. The layout that I prefer displays the hours in a sub dial at 12, the seconds in a sub dial at 6 and the minutes on the outside of the dial like a regular watch. This layout is perfect for the 6498 and from my research I could see that this complication is already available on watches equipped with the 6498. I knew it was possible for me to build a regulator watch but next I would have to figure out how!
After a discussion with my tutor, I had an idea of how I would go about modifying the standard movement to add the regulator complication. It would involve producing a few bespoke components and modifying some existing ETA parts, the idea should function in principle but I won’t know if it will actually work until I produce a functioning prototype. I have started to make the components but I’ll save all the details for a future post.
Anyway back to the dial design, with the layout decided, it was time to put pen to paper and come up with some ideas. My initial drawing shows the basis for my design, the finished layout, blued steel hands and blued steel markers at each 5 minute point. I was happy with this basic style but there were a lot of details that needed to be added.
My final dial design shown below incorporates the same elements as my first drawing but now includes markings on the sub dials and a steel name plate bearing my surname secured by 4 blued screws. I have decided to recess the sub dials but I’m not quite sure yet by how much. The sub dial markings will be engraved and then painted black. The 5 minute markers will be round blued steel dots fitted into the dial. The whole dial will be sandblasted and then rhodium plated to give a frosted finish.
I have yet to decide if I will purchase set of hands or make them myself, time is the main problem as I have so many things to do already. I’m pleased with the design and hopefully if I can get the Regulateur complication to work, I can produce a dial that matches the quality of the movement and proudly displays my surname.