The most common forms of decoration are various types of grinding. “We use grinding or polishing techniques to apply patterns to the bridges, cocks or plates,” explains Satzke. A frequently occurring decoration is Geneva stripes, as they are known, or “Côtes de Genève”, which as a rule are series of parallel lines. Other popular forms include “circular graining”, comprising of densely packed circles, or sun pattern guilloche work, in which circular lines radiate from the centre. Often, a combination of different types of grinding is applied to a single watch movement. Take the 52610 calibre in the Portugieser Perpetual Calendar, for instance. Here, the calendar platform and the movement plate are finished with circular graining while the barrel bridge is decorated with circular-ground Geneva stripes.
Artistic engravings are another important decorative element. Apart from the “International Watch Co.” wordmark, other details such as the calibre and movement numbers, the number of jewels and the maximum power reserve are also engraved on the company’s in-house movements. The craft of elaborate hand engraving in Schaffhausen is inseparably linked with the name of Wolfgang Siegwart, who was head engraver at IWC in the 1990s. Using his burin and engraving stylus he left his personal signature on every Grande Complication and ensured that every single example was unique in its own right. Equally unforgettable was the Da Vinci Tourbillon Four Seasons, limited to 20 timepieces, on whose dial Siegwart engraved four exquisitely executed figures.