Palm Printing Technology: Portugal Sidérale Scafusia Astrological Map

Hissing, Dangdang, Hey. There is a faint smell of paint and solvents in the air. Two small closet-sized devices with ‘Made in Switzerland’ labels on the sides shimmered and sounded like a CNC. Marlies Scarpino, wearing a white coat and hair tied in the back, is operating one of the control panels. Although she is accustomed to noise, she can quickly and accurately detect any abnormalities in her voice. As an offset printer and business backbone, she is busy working on her own in one of IWC’s smallest divisions. The business of this department is printing, which at first glance seems to have nothing to do with the watch industry. Marlies Scarpino is one of about 130 employees engaged in the production of parts and cases. They moved from the relatively crowded Schaffhausen to the nearby SIG industrial area in Neuhausen, which has ample space. IWC pad printing technology Portugal Sidérale Scafusia exquisite astrological map
工业 The industrial zone is located on a rocky plateau with a unique location, directly below the Rhine Falls. Most of the time, tall bushes obstruct the view, making it difficult for people to see this natural wonder. Interestingly, IWC’s decision to establish a printing shop inside the company also has an indirect relationship with water. More precisely, IWC needed to find a reliable solution for the luminous rotating bezels used in marine watches. The previous model used a chamfered rotating ring with an outer coating of luminous paint—a problem encountered during implementation. IWC relies on manufacturers. Although the products they provide can meet the necessary quality requirements, they are always unsatisfactory. This situation may also herald the era of technological change.
底 The underside of the sapphire glass ring used in the rotating bezel of the current series is coated with a 0.3 mm thick Superluminova® luminescent coating. Depending on the model, the paint comes in a variety of colors. In view of this, the company intends to carry out the printing process in-house. The concept conveyed in this event is in line with the motto of IWC: excellence, experience first-hand. I have to mention Clemens Gisler here. Six years ago, the young engineering graduate joined IWC with skills in mechanical engineering, microtechnology and production logistics. Two years ago, he was entrusted with the task of perfecting the internal printing process of the watch’s complex patterns and vigorously promoting mass production. So today IWC has its own small custom printing shop. Clemens Gisler said: ‘The field is very promising.’ He confirmed his assertion with excellent results and showed the Plexiglas case divided into several regions quite proudly. He has the answer to this question: how to make more than 500 stars printed on the Portuguese Sidérale Scafusia watch.
The location of the star map is specified by the watch owner, and the data provided by Zurich astronomer Ben Moore himself is used to make printing plates. The pattern is then printed on an ultra-thin sapphire glass disc inside a watch. The thin wires that connect the stars are like silk, only eight hundredths of a millimeter thick, and together with the stars form a well-known constellation. The dial, which depicts the horizon and celestial equator, is also printed on the watch, providing three sets of time for each customer who customizes the watch. One is inside the watch, and the other two are in different parts of the watch to deal with the worst case of severe damage to the back glass plate. The impressive thing is not only that, Gisler proudly points to another night sky dial, the stars above are orange-red. This is a colorful luminous Superluminova® coating used in many marine models. Customers can personalize their watches to the limit. New technology transforms complex watch mechanics into exquisite art, opening up a whole new world, such as rotating diving bezels, date dial printing and astronomical displays on Portuguese Sidérale Scafusia watches. In this way, it is not surprising that many people have become regulars in the printing workshop, including many designers of IWC. Marlies Scarpino and Andres Leupp have recently taken over the actual work of printing at Clemens Gisler. They can talk about the products they offer, and their product catalog is amazing. When you need to print letters, numbers or other graphic elements on flat, irregular or even raised surfaces, you only need one modern technology to complete it, which is the magic ‘pad printing’ technology.
We see or use products made with this technology in our daily lives: keyboards and control panels on cameras, writing instruments or car dashboards. Of course, it is impossible to use this technology for the surface printing of high-quality watches: what is printed on the surface, whether it is a number or other decorative patterns, will be subject to worldwide scrutiny, and glass protection must be adopted to avoid wear and aging. From a quality point of view, IWC’s pad printing is meticulous, and its precision is no less than its watchmaking standards.
The ‘rubber pad’ itself is just a rough concept, a tool involved in lithography. Basically, it is a kind of round, conical or conical elastic silicon pad, dip paint from the groove of the printing plate, and press on the surface to be printed. It is the shape of the pad that allows it to shrink when dipping and storing paint, thereby squeezing and eliminating air bubbles. This method can also be used for clear printing on irregular objects. IWC processing machines are custom-made, provided by suppliers from nearby villages, and the machine frame is reinforced to ensure that distortions do not occur during printing. Of course, the process can be complicated.
Let’s take an example: whether to use standard paint or luminous paint in the printing process, it determines whether the components for printing plate conveying paint need to be etched on the steel plate or laser-printed on the ceramic plate. This is because Superluminova® is very corrosive and can damage steel materials. The plates used for such high-quality printing have a depth of up to 55 μm (microns). This means that most printing steps need to be repeated several times to get the coating to the desired thickness. After each printing step is completed, it is dried and solidified in an oven at about 120 ° C, and then cooled on a cooling plate.
Take the printing of the rotating bezel of the marine series watch as an example, we can see that it takes a lot of effort. First, apply three coats of black paint to make reverse numbers, which are printed under the sapphire glass bezel. The printing was then repeated and dried, during which a 0.3 mm thick yellow or white Superluminova® coating was printed. Finally, a white reflective treatment is applied to the luminescent coating to further enhance protection. In short, the number of prints is not less than 33. To further complicate matters, the hue of the luminescent paint can also be modified to make it greener or bluer by adding various pigments. For example, in a white marine watch, the first fifteen-minute scale on the rotating bezel emits green light, and the remaining scales glow blue.
By the way, Marlies Scarpino has never used such an expensive coating: 1 gram of alumina powder and rare earth is worth 25 Swiss francs, so expensive that it can wet our eyes: almost the price of gold before the financial crisis. Needless to say, all products are subjected to strict quality inspection and then microscopic inspection. Even with the smallest mistakes, such as missing a little paint on the numbers, parts will be put into boxes containing defective products. Marlies Scarpino is right: ‘This expensive product, I expect absolute perfection.’

Updated: 25. October 2020 — 12:17
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