The current IWC collection comprises over 100 different dials. These run the entire gamut from the simple faces found on the Pilot’s Watches to extremely complicated displays. We frequently encounter dials on which the numerals are a different colour from the rest of the face. The blank first receives the basic colour and is then completely covered with a coat of protective varnish. The numerals are subsequently milled down to the brass, and the entire dial is electroplated once again.
“During the second electroplating process, the metal ions are deposited only on the exposed surfaces of the brass. The rest remains untouched,” explains Werdermann. The Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition Antoine de Saint Exupéry, for instance, has a brown dial, while the subdials are rhodium-plated at a later stage.
With the Portofino Midsize Collection, 2014 also saw the return of mother-of-pearl to IWC. It is obtained from the ground and polished shells of the pearl mussel. For these dials, too, the basic disc is made of brass. The surface has a 0.2-millimetre-thick coating of mother-of-pearl. Its patterns give the dials a striking, optical depth. The spectacular dial is made even more exclusive by the addition of diamonds. The precious stones are individually riveted to the dial in special settings known as “chatons”.