The guilloché is a decorative technique in intaglio engraving, used on the dials and watch cases. It first appeared in the 16th century, but it is Abraham-Louis Breguet, who in 1786 used it the first in the field of watchmaking.
The guilloché is to make the crossed or interlaced lines or curves using guillochage machine, piloted by hand, consisted of a crank and a chisel. The technique had its heyday age in the 19th century. Nowadays, the hand-made guilloché work is still practiced on high-end watches.
The guilloché decorations are numerous and some have specific names, the best known of which are the guilloché barley grain and clous of Paris. The latter, featuring a series of engravings evoking the form of nails, is one of the most frequent guilloché decorations in fine watchmaking.
To carry out his work, the guilloché craftsman employs two types of machines: the one for the straight lines and the other that allows drawing curved lines, named “tour à guillocher”.
Even if the craftsman uses a machine to do his job, it is entirely driven by his hand with a crank, which allows him to move the workpiece. Tension is provided by a spring, and that's the craftsman who exerts by his other hand pressure on the chisel. Thus, the ability to anticipate the effects produced by the machine is paramount and the result clearly depends on the ability of the artisan to feel the tracing through his tool.
Nowadays, although the achievements through the machines can sometimes produce impressive results, the rendering of manual guilloché offers depth and variations, reflections of the light of which remain absolutely unique.
KERBEDANZ creations combine several crafts simultaneously, as guillochage, enameling, setting, engraving etc. providing exceptional touch to pure masterpieces of high watchmaking.