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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
If you're interested in watches with hand engraved dials, you're in for a treat. I've always admired the artistry and craft behind the art form but the costs are always intimidating with some companies charging thousands for a custom dial so I can only afford to admire photos of hand engraved dials...until recently.

About a month ago, I was approached by a Ukrainian watchmaker and he mentioned that if I could give him an order of 30 dials, he can help me make these engraved dials at a discount and I thought an Art Nouveau type of design would work well with my Art Deco watch so I sent him my Empire and paid him a deposit to make a prototype and I'm happy to share our progress with you today.

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The inner and outer ring is hand engraved and gold plated. The numerals in the silver plated middle ring are chemically etched and both numerals and Vario logo are filled with enamel. The silver plating will tarnish over time giving it a slow patina effect on the dial. There are some small changes I would like to make. I just need to move the middle ring outwards abit so that the hour and minute hand touches the black circle instead of over over it currently. My never used before vintage V logo is missing a circle at the right tip but that's an easy fix. The handset I've used here is an older iteration and the new hour hand will be slightly thicker.

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Enamel on the outer ring is possible too as shown below (I'm considering black, blue,red) and I think the red version should go with gunmetal hands. I am also considering an all silver dial as well but I'll have to check the feasibility with my artist. See mockup below. The logo won't be framed as the artisan was worried that my logo can't be seen clearly so he made a version with a framed logo for me but I prefer Vario to be integrated within the design.

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These dials may be paired with our NH38 automatic movement which will be easy to source for replacements if they fail. I've also considered using the last of my Miyota handwounds 6T33 as well but I'll check with my factory before I confirm. The focus is on these exclusive hand engraved dials. Check out the making of video and you will better appreciate the work put into each of these beautiful dials.


These watches will be marketed at US$888 and we will be giving pre-order customers 15% OFF the retail price which works out to be $754 after discount. Essentially you're paying for a premium for the hand engraved dial to own a very exclusive piece of art and to keep this hand crafted art alive. If you're interested in this ONE-OFF project, do reply this email to let me know which variant you prefer and if we can get more than 15 enthusiasts on board, we can make this project a reality. I've got about 10 so far so we probably just need a few more to come onboard.

This project will take about 3 month to make because I would need to make fresh cases and components (which also means we'll be making some more new Tux) and I'll be asking for a 10% deposit to be paid via Paypal now and balance to be paid when the watches are ready. More info and specs of my Empire can be found at Vario Empire Art Deco Watch


Do email me at [email protected] if you have any questions for me
Ivan
 

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In my opinion, this is not the design language of Art Deco. An Art Deco watch doesn’t have to look like a Kari Voutilainen GMT6 Art Deco or Cartier Art Deco, but I do miss the typical Art Deco pattern here Bulova, Omega, Longines, Whyler, Waltham have conveyed.

Art Deco also was a play of colours…..

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
What I wanted to achieve here was an Art Deco meets Art Nouveau kind of scenario. I've retained the numbers and hands from my Art Deco Empire and turned the guilloche and dotted markers into an engraved floral pattern which was widely used during the Art Nouveau period. Perhaps it's more ornamental than what modern wrist would accept?


In my opinion, this is not the design language of Art Deco. An Art Deco watch doesn’t have to look like a Kari Voutilainen GMT6 Art Deco or Cartier Art Deco, but I do miss the typical Art Deco pattern here Bulova, Omega, Longines, Whyler, Waltham have conveyed.

Art Deco also was a play of colours…..

View attachment 15932368
 

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Art Deco, Art Nouveau, whatever you call em, they are stunning imho. While they're not my personal style as far as what I would wear, I still admire the beauty in them.

I'm pretty sure you'll get your needed pre-orders to make the project work. Best of luck.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I certainly hope to make them a reality! Thanks for the encouragement!

Art Deco, Art Nouveau, whatever you call em, they are stunning imho. While they're not my personal style as far as what I would wear, I still admire the beauty in them.

I'm pretty sure you'll get your needed pre-orders to make the project work. Best of luck.
 

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Ivan,

These look great. I love my Empire and these are tempting.
 
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I think they look great - adding a hand engraved dial to a modestly priced watch is a great value add. I like the idea of a handwinding movement for them, too.
I agree, the hand winding would add more to this style of watch.

Great design.
 

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Great looking watches. And I disagree with an earlier poster, these definitively have some Art Deco elements.

I hope you get the interest you're looking for. Personally I'll be jumping all over one of those Tux watches if you make them.
 

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Very attractive to my eyes as well. You can tell just by looking at the dial, you have spent a great deal of time and effort to create this look.

Good job. Very nice work.
 

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I’m not at all a fan of the mix of Art Deco and Art Nouveau. That being said, the work is definitely quality. I would love to see what this would look like with an Art Deco inspired dial. Great work!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
This was my fastest selling variant with an Art Deco inspired dial.

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I’m not at all a fan of the mix of Art Deco and Art Nouveau. That being said, the work is definitely quality. I would love to see what this would look like with an Art Deco inspired dial. Great work!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The Ukranian artists made these. I was glad they approached me and I'm happy to help showcase their talent and hopefully keep this dying trade alive as their numbers dwine.

Very attractive to my eyes as well. You can tell just by looking at the dial, you have spent a great deal of time and effort to create this look.

Good job. Very nice work.
 

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Well there's definitely a Slavic taste to those dials. They look nice. Good luck with them. I suspect it won't be too hard to move the watches.
 
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I'm quite determined to make these which means I'll make some more new Tux and it's very likely I'll use the last of my handwinds. I think the Miyota 6T33 hi beat handwound add more value to the watch even though I had wanted to make another new watch with those remaining movement, it felt right to end them with the Empire series.

Great looking watches. And I disagree with an earlier poster, these definitively have some Art Deco elements.

I hope you get the interest you're looking for. Personally I'll be jumping all over one of those Tux watches if you make them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I m not a confident person. I've got about 10 interested so far so maybe I'll just make 30.. max 40 and call it quits if there's no new sign ups. As a small player, I rather keep the cashflow and design new timepieces than to offer them at a discount and hurt previous buyers.

Well there's definitely a Slavic taste to those dials. They look nice. Good luck with them. I suspect it won't be too hard to move the watches.
 

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This is incredibly interesting, they look outstanding! The opportunity for more tux handwinds had my attention too
 

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I m not a confident person. I've got about 10 interested so far so maybe I'll just make 30.. max 40 and call it quits if there's no new sign ups. As a small player, I rather keep the cashflow and design new timepieces than to offer them at a discount and hurt previous buyers.
You could always reach out to Slavic stores/malls in other countries. I wouldn't put it past that you could move a few here and there. I'm sure there are many ex-pat Ukranian/Russian/Serb/Czechs/Bulgarian communities around the world that has some jeweler that wouldn't mind having one or two on hand (think the Asian, Latino, or African malls around the world). I'm not really big on social media so I don't know your reach. I get the feeling every microbrand seems to be able to push anything online given the responses on this forum.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
We don't mark up enough to sell to retailers unfortunately so it's mainly online for now.

You could always reach out to Slavic stores/malls in other countries. I wouldn't put it past that you could move a few here and there. I'm sure there are many ex-pat Ukranian/Russian/Serb/Czechs/Bulgarian communities around the world that has some jeweler that wouldn't mind having one or two on hand (think the Asian, Latino, or African malls around the world). I'm not really big on social media so I don't know your reach. I get the feeling every microbrand seems to be able to push anything online given the responses on this forum.
 
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