Enamelling image

Enamelling

Enamelling Savoir Faire
From the production of enamel powder to the final polishing step, enamelling is an age-old Métier d’Art performed by hand by master enamellers. Since no formal school exists, the knowledge and savoir-faire is passed down from experienced artisans to young talents.
Enamel is comprised of a mixture of silica, minium, potash and soda which are ground into a powder. Additional metal oxides are added to create different coloured enamels. The powder is dusted onto the dial cavities and then fired in a kiln that typically operates at about 800°C. This process is repeated on 5 to 10 occasions to achieve the desired lustrous finish. Grand feu enamelling takes considerable expertise to master, however, even with experience, there remains an inherent measure of unpredictability through the repeated firings which can result in cracks appearing, air bubbles and colour imperfections. However, the main benefit of this protracted process is that the flawless grand feu enamel dials will retain their colour forever.

Eternity

 

The symbol of infinity refers to the notion of eternity. On the occasion of the 230 year anniversary of Girard-Perregaux, we have revisited our icons, from La Esmeralda to the Laureato and the Cat’s Eye, to unveil the Eternity Edition series that both celebrates the Maison’s heritage and showcases its amassed and considerable know-how. Through enamelling work, the intense beauty of the blue and green enamel colours will never fade with the onset of years and will retain its showroom-fresh appearance for Eternity.

Degrees Celsius

800

 

The enamel dials are placed in a kiln heated to 800 degrees Celsius, hence the «Grand Feu» appellation. Only through visual monitoring through an opening in the kiln can the enameller track the vitrification process. The many variables like the dial baseplate material, the quantity of enamel applied, or the temperature variations all make the notion of timekeeping obsolete during the firing.

Layers

5 to 10

 

To obtain an truly even homogeneous result, the applying of each enamel layer requires extreme precision and regularity, with the repetition of firings making it even more complex. Between 5 and 10 layers of enamel are necessary – corresponding to 5 to 10 firings – to create a deep and intense colour, multiplying the risks of cracking and imperfections associated with each firing.