We are always striving to learn new ways to make watch dials. Innovating and exploring new approaches to solving problems is a constant for us as artists. Here at Celeste Watch we are teaching ourselves how to use a wire frame as a spacer between pieces of shell. Not only does this produce a whole different look than our usual inlay dials, it also allows us to use color tones that are similar without it looking homogenous or like the shell is only one big piece.

Theoretically, this sounded like a really good technique to try. But then, we unsuccessfully attempted to cut a tiny wire frame out of metal so many times that our eyes were crossing.


Because the Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque is coming up next month, I spent this week working on this new hot air balloon dial. I wanted to make a metal frame for the balloon pieces to make the dial really special. But I struggled. The metal wire frame turned out to be much more difficult than I anticipated and, in frustration, I almost gave up. I tried over and over—different ways to cut it, different ways to remove each piece and redesigned the weak spots. I was determined to find a way because I thought it would be spectacular.


Balloon Cut

I started by etching an outline and trying to remove each rectangular piece.


Balloon cuts

I was getting closer but the metal had some weak spots. This particular frame was discarded because the wires bent around 11 o’clock.


more balloon cuts

One wrong move and the tiny frame was history.


But then, I redesigned and like magic, a few worked out perfectly.


Normally I wouldn’t be able to use all the same color shell for a balloon like this but because of the wire frame, it works!


Even at this stage of completion, the wire frame sometimes broke.


So now there is another tool in our watch dial design toolkit.  I will always remember this design for the steep learning curve and also as the design that ushered in a new way to make this art that you can take with you everywhere.  

We are only making three of this design in our 42mm automatic case. Each is stunning in its own way with different combinations of colors.


Balloon Fiesta, here I come!

Celeste Wong