RGM's Grand Feu (French for “Great Fire”) Glass Enamel Dials

The obstacle was finding an artisan who could create a high-quality Grand Feu (French for “Great Fire”) enamel dial. There are only a handful of master enamelers worldwide. We would only consider doing a real enamel dial, not something that just sort of fakes it, if you’re going to do it, do it right.  The dials had to be made exactly the same way the original dials were made. An enamel dial will not fade, it will look the same in 100 years as it does today. We searched for three years to find an enamel artist with the skill needed and that would work with us.

 Creating an enamel watch dial is a high-risk art. Enameling is a technique in which colored powdered glass is applied to a metal plate. The surface is then heated to a temperature high enough to cause the powdered glass to melt and form a new surface. The Grand Feu technique ups the stakes. It involves meticulously coating a watch dial with successive layers of enamel. Once a layer is ready, the dial is heated at extremely high temperatures, ranging from 1472-1652°F (800-900°C). The repeated baking of each individual layer ensures a uniquely crisp aesthetic while permanently setting the enamel. Using high heat to create these beautiful dials also poses a risk. Each time it is re-fired, the danger of cracking, melting, or burning increases. The track and numerals are also baked into the surface. With great risk comes great reward: the appearance of a real glass enamel dial is unmistakable. It has depth and beauty in the hand made surface that draws you in.

Being able to have real Glass Enamel to go with our hand made Guilloché is very satisfying.   We continue to bring true art to our watchmaking. 

Roland Murphy