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Function 20th c American How are these "magic eye" guilloche dial Patterns made? Straight line engine+stamp combo? Rose Engine?

dad.watch

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Dec 5, 2022
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Hello all.

I often see these type of dials on old Elgin/Illinois/etc, that have an almost "magic eye" guilloche pattern in the center. I included some examples below.

These dials are quite common eBay, so I assume they must've been relatively easy to make...though as I learn more about vintage watches, I'm realizing that much of the "hard" work of today seems to be more commonly done 100+ years ago.

When I see pictures of the back of the dial, I don't see any stamp.

Does anyone know how these ornate guilloche patterns were fabricated?
elgin1.jpg

elgin2.jpg

elgin3.jpg

elgin4.jpg
 

gmorse

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Jan 7, 2011
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Hi dad.watch, and welcome to the forum,
Does anyone know how these ornate guilloche patterns were fabricated?
I think these were made on a brocade engine, which is a variant of the rose engine and uses much more complex master patterns. Try searching for 'brocade engine' online.

Regards,

Graham
 

dad.watch

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Dec 5, 2022
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Thank you so much, yes I think you're spot on.

Insane how you can get dials like these on eBay for ~$20-$30 (WITH a decorated movement too!), but an equivalent modern dial would be 20x-100x (1000x?) the price.

Some background in case someone sees this post in future years (long live the NAWCC forum): Engineturner.com says that Brocade is easier to operate than Rose/straight-line engine turning, but way harder to set it up initially. Here's what it says:


Rose Engine turning lends itself to repetitive round geometric patterns. It may sound a bit boring, but are thousands of permutations and variations. Each design plays with the light differently and presents its individual 3D illusory effect. Sometimes the emergent patterns can look inches deep when the actual engraving is on the order of .002" to .004" deep. We currently have 2 rose engines and have the ability manufacture patterns custom to your aesthetics and needs.
Rose Engine


Straight line Engine turning is much like Rose Engine work with repetitive straight geometric patterns. A typical place to see this work is on really nice pens and mechanical pencils.
Straight Line Engine


Brocade Engine Turning was, at one time, considered the lowest of the Engine Turning arts. This is because, once set up, a pattern could be repeated over and over by a less skilled operator. The real expertise is knowing in how to set up the equipment as they are the most complex of the engine turning machines with a plethora of adjustments and settings. We find this the most useful machine for modern work - like logo reproduction as seen here.
1670625777967.png
 

gmorse

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Jan 7, 2011
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Breamore, Hampshire, UK
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Hi dad.watch,

I think you'll find this presentation from the NYHS interesting, as well as their numerous other lectures available online.

Roger W. Smith has a series on the same subject.

Regards,

Graham
 

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