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"Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without." - Confucius

Aaron Becsei is an independent watchmaker and member of Académie Horlogére des Créaturs Indépendants. He guides me with the experts’ knowledge through the secrets of fine watchmaking. In the series of Uncomplicate Complications we discover the seeds of uniqueness, art and value in a timepiece.

It is perfectly natural during the creation of premium watches for the emphasis to be placed not only on outstanding functionality but also on the appearance of the parts, and the aesthetic finish as well. The true masterpieces are characterized by unique decoration and workmanship. By the way in which the anglage also extends to the invisible parts and the way in which the other decorative processes are also not necessarily restricted to the visible parts of the movement.

These pieces demand exceptional expertise, practice and a great deal of time. Movement decoration includes processes such as engraving, stippling, snailing, perlage and the Côtes de Genève or Geneva Stripes.  (The damaskeening term is used in the United States).

The Côtes de Genève is one of the most widely-used decoration techniques in high-level movements. As Aaron’s images show, the bridge and other elements are decorated by these regular parallel wave-like lines.

Details and parts, Geneva stripes

There are several ways to complete this pattern on the plates and bridges. A special wood and abrasive paste and a spinning abrasive disc are required to have the most beautiful result.  However, to achieve the Geneva Stripes, the base-surface should be impeccable.

Surface after anglage, before Geneva stripes
Geneva stripes manufacturing
Parts after Geneva stripes, before rhodium plating

This finishing almost does not touch the surface yet still it gives the three-dimensional appearance.

Aficionados inspect the piece with a loupe to see the perfect alignment of the stripes across the plates and bridges.

Finished bridge with Geneva stripes


The articles of the series:

Uncomplicate complications – Entrée
Uncomplicate complications – Movements
Uncomplicate complications – Anglage
Uncomplicate complications – Geneva stripes
Uncomplicate complications – Finishing #1
Uncomplicate complications – Finishing #2
Uncomplicate complications – Tourbillon
Uncomplicate complications – Perpetual calendar
Uncomplicate complications – Power reserve indicator

Photo credits: Bexei.
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