The “Harlequin” type design I would like to try in a number of ways, my initial thoughts were to make it using “cloisonne” style enamelling where the diamond pattern would be laid out on a flat base, using small pieces of wire to make the closed cells which are then filled with the enamel colour and fired.
Another similar method is to use my milling machine to cut the cells out of a solid plate, which will be less fiddly for me (and give me faster results while I learn) though the borders between each cell will be a bit thicker, so the design will not be as refined.
A 3rd idea I had was to use the Plique a Jour method of enamelling, where the design is cut completely through, and using transparent enamels, whatever is behind the dial will be visible.
The basic technique is the same for all of these. (though I haven’t tried proper cloisonne yet)
Cut out the design needed in copper plate on the milling machine
Fill the cells with a mixture of enamel powder (ground glass of a special composition to ensure even expansion) and purified water
Allow the cells to dry
Fire until the powder fuses into a glass, and fixes to the metal
Allow to cool
At this stage the object would be cleaned, the enamel re-applied and re-fired until the desired effect was reached. In my case as these were all test pieces, I left them at this stage to explore more techniques
As I am quite fond of luminous material as well, I thought I would try doing a semi-enamel technique as well, to be used later with carbon fiber sheet, for this I used what is commonly called a “soft enamel”, really a 2 part resin, that has a hardness that is closer to enamel than most plastics, though I still would not trust it for use in an external area of a watch case.
The product I’m using is called ceramit, the only problem that occurred was that the material I wanted to test has a melting point quite close to the heat required to cure the resin.. so I used more copper instead 🙂
The big advantages of using this product is that it provides a consistent result with little problems, no incredibly hot pieces of glass and metal (a small electric toaster oven is sufficient for curing), can be used on previously finished pieces quite easily, and the luminous material mixes in quite easily as well. There is also less finishing required and the material can be applied quite thinly, easily, whereas for normal enamel this can be very hit and miss to achieve.
Disadvantages are that it is softer than “real” enamel, so can’t be used on external pieces, and is not regarded as real enamelling (rightly so, as the skill required is no where near)
Being much faster to apply also means I can test more pieces faster, see if a design works, then (once I learn enamelling properly) make a “real” version