What is a Fume dial, and how does it work? Watchmakers are increasingly introducing watches with them. Let’s talk about and examine some of the most stunning dials.
The Gradient Watch Dial: Smokey “Fume” Dials That Captivate Your Imagination
These trends inspire watchmakers to bring back the charm of older, more collectible watches.
This is the second article covering features borrowed from vintage watches. Last time we covered the rise in bronze-cased watches. Today, we’ll explore the striking fume dial. Watchmakers are now combining trends such as this bronze Zenith Pilot Cronometro Tipo CP-2 Flyback with a graduated dial. Let’s take a closer look at the wide range of watches with fume dials. We will also answer some common questions.
Watchmakers are creating watches with gradient dials for a variety of reasons. In the past, a watchmaker had to create limited editions or watches with a blue dial to attract watch collectors. Collectors and watch geeks are less sensitive to these tactics, so they need something stronger to stimulate their curiosity. Vintage looks are also popular, so anything can be vintage if it looks good. You can get distressed leather straps, a bronze case and transitioning colors.
When was the first time that a fume dial watch was made? In the 1970s, the first dial with an ombre or fume finish was created. They were very popular at that time. This feature is still used by watchmakers today. Modern-day watchmakers love the smooth, airbrushed appearance of color gradation on dials (also known as a “smoky dial”).
Who repopularized the gradient dial? H. Moser & Cie coined the term fume. It has a fascinating story. Although it was a term used internally initially, it had a nice ring. It was initially a small number of watches, but it quickly became their trademark look. They could remove their logo from their dials, and people would recognize it as part of their brand.
How does a watchmaker make a gradient dial? The process involves spraying the dial in a darker hue and spinning it. Results can vary depending on how intense the spray is and the spin’s speed. Sometimes, the results can be surprising and unique. This process is possible with many of the most common dial materials. Some materials, like enamel, are more difficult and take longer to complete.
The French term for smoke, fume, was soon being used by the company.
Is there a variety of gradient dials? Some smokey watch dials fade from the center outwards. Some dials use a linear gradation, which fades from top-to-bottom or the middle of the dial outwards like a light shining on the center.
Glashutte Original 1960s is an excellent example of a collection that pays homage to this era. The Glashutte Original Senator Sixties FIERY Orange # has a textured smokey dial. It fades from a bright fiery orange to a burnt orange around the perimeter. It is like being able to witness a flash of light. The same watchmaker also makes models that fade from grayish to black or lighten to darker green.