A week ago, we unveiled the latest automatic watch to be added to our Union collection, the Brio Vermilion Red. As you can see, with its curved and lacquered dial, it joins the Rive Droite line and is therefore a perfect complement to the Brio Klein Blue and Brio Emerald Green models.
In reality, this last one was not really part of the program. Certainly, we had the prototype that was “hanging” on our watch shelf, and the ambassadors had seen a 3D representation during the vote for the creation of the Union collection. But we really didn’t plan to offer it anytime soon. However, the success of our pre-order campaign and the incredible support of our Ambassadors encouraged us to propose this new product a few weeks after the end of deliveries, and especially a few weeks before Christmas. Moreover, with the arrival of winter, what better color than red to bring warmth and elegance?
Let’s talk a little bit about this red because it is not just any red. We have carefully selected a vermilion red, but whose lacquer and curved shape of the dial brings carmine shades. Like its sisters, Brio Emerald Green and Brio Klein Blue, the latter has three circular hands. The minute and hour hands are covered with a Super Luminova treatment, and the second’s hand matches the color of the dial. Of course, it is also available in a limited edition of 500 pieces.
So will it be your new favorite?
Many people heard about the launch of the Union collection, an event in the heart of Paris, in an art gallery where, in addition to discovering and trying out the automatic watches in this new collection, it was possible to pre-order one’s own directly on the spot.
For the launch of the Brio Vermilion Red, as some of you know because they participated, Nicolas made a live presentation on Instagram. Why only online? Given the current situation in Paris, it seemed complicated for us to organize a big event, but it was still important to mark the occasion for this new model. So, in order to make this launch accessible to everyone, without worrying about the country, the number of guests, or other parameters, we invited ourselves to your place for a private presentation, via a Live Instagram.
This presentation allowed Nicolas to interact with you, and thus strengthen the link with the community. The welcome you gave him was most gratifying. And so, the very next day, the first enthusiasts were able to order the Brio Vermilion Red on our website.
Now, how about discovering it and trying it out? For that, nothing could be simpler, send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org to book your private presentation in Paris or in video with a member of our team, or even better, with Nicolas, our designer, and co-founder.
Wishing you wonderful hours.
So let’s go back a few days when our watchmakers recovered all the separate parts: dials, cases, hands, and movements. After having followed every step in the creation of your watch, today we will find out how it is assembled.
Promptly we will finish assembling the first Union Collection watches. Unfortunately, we had to announce a delay, but we have worked hard to shorten the delivery times of your watches as much as possible, in particular thanks to the express service. This service will allow all of your watches to be expedited before September.
The centerpiece of the watch, the movement, is made up of around a hundred parts, which when assembled must respect well-defined precision. Each movement must be engraved with the name of the Maison (rotor), checked, and then adjusted using the adjustment racket. Once this operation is complete, we can move on to fitting the dial.
The first step in assembling Union Collection watches is adding the hands to the dial. To execute this, we place the two feet on the back of the dial in the plate (here it is not the material but the base plate which supports all the components of the automatic movement). Subsequently, we place the winding stem at 3 o’clock. It is essentially screwing the screws to the side of the plate in the corresponding holes. During this phase, you must be careful not to use force with the fragile feet of the dial.
For this second delicate phase of assembling the Union Collection, our watchmakers are arming themselves with their pointer drift and massive amounts of patience.The first step is to align the hour hand well in front of the 12. Here, the difficulty is placing the hand adjacent to the dial, without it touching the indexes. Afterward, our watchmaker checks several times to make sure that nothing prevents it from turning.
For the minute hand, we repeat the same operation. It should be almost glued to the hour hand (0.2 mm), without touching it. The difficulty with our round hands lies in their positioning facing the 12 without bending. We then do another round of verification.
To check that the hands are correctly aligned, the watchmaker places them at 6 p.m. If the 2 hands are in the same position, the hand placement has been correctly performed, and we can move on to the second-hand placement. On the other hand, if it is not done correctly, the two hands must be removed using a dial cover, vital in avoiding scratches.
Once the checks are done, it is time to switch to the second’s hand. The largest of the hands, the second’s hand, is particularly difficult to assemble. Not having a small dot at its end, it must be positioned as precisely as possible on the dial. It also must be handled gently because of the risk of bending. This is a meticulous process because watchmakers must be error-free to prevent damage to the mechanism. When the three circular hands are impeccably placed, we check the cleanliness of the dial, the case, and the glass. Fingerprints and final dust particles are removed using a Rodico and a microfiber cloth.
This step requires that all checks be made, and the elements are cleaned. It is an obligatory step because if a speck of dust becomes stuck in one of the elements, it would require the watch to be disassembled.
Then, we remove the winding stem and place the automatic movement in the case. During this step, you must pay attention to the direction in which the movement is positioned, and the space that accommodates the winding stem must be opposite the 3 o’clock.
To maintain the movement for continued assembly, we put the winding stem back on after another cleanliness check. The automatic movement is clean, and it is time to place it in the case keeping in mind the casing ring which keeps the movement in its proper place.
Now, we will have to cut the winding stem to the right length and file and screw the crown. Everything is a question of delicacy and gentleness in watchmaking. Come on, one more final check for dust and fingerprints. We can, therefore, close the case with 4 screws in the back of the case and the assembly is finally finished. All that remains is the addition of your strap and final detail and water-resistance checks.
Speaking of bracelets, let’s make a small parenthesis before concluding. Being equipped with a flash pump, it is easily interchangeable at home and without tools (internal link page how to change your bracelet). Moreover, for the first time, we offer bracelets with a folding buckle. What’s the difference? A lot of things, but above all this type of buckle makes the bracelet more durable by damaging it less since once adjusted, there is no need to touch it anymore. The folding buckles match the case, Rose Gold for the Audace and Olympus and Steel for the other models.
This is the end of our production notebook. We have given you the main lines concerning the manufacture of the various elements and the assembly of our watches. But of course, if you have any questions or would like more information on certain points, we will be happy to answer them. Please do not hesitate to contact us via our contact form.
Now it’s time for us to finish the shipping so that our Ambassadors will have the pleasure to receive their watches.
Wishing you wonderful hours,
The second stage of production is the Union Collection case manufacturing. In the previous article, you discovered the process and creation of the flat and curved dials. Today, we will introduce you to the next chapter of our series and will discuss the savoir-faire of the case’s fabrication.
Before we begin, it is important to note that our cases go through a unique design process. Generally, the horns are an integral part of the case, but in Beaubleu, the horns come to encircle it and screw inside the case. The challenges of our design, therefore, lie in the adjustment of parts and the treatment of surfaces. An exciting process but not without risk.
Let us start the manufacturing of the cases! Suffice to say that, for now, these are simple blocks of steel, and it will be a long journey before the results. To go from the draft to the result, you must follow different stages interspersed with measurement and annealing operations.
The first step in creating the middle of the case is the modeling of the steel block. It is a simple block that will be successively compressed and flattened ten times using rolling mills – machines made up of hardened steel cylinders. This stage changes the metal quality to create a compact solid shape. Each piece will have to pass the dimension test because each variation will be visible on the final product. Nothing we can’t handle!
Today, we are in the workshop to check the first pieces of the stamping stage. We will discuss with our craftsmen the various difficulties encountered and viable solutions.
The stamping operation, which would be like cutting, consists of shaping the medium with a stamp that crushes the material. Repeated several times, the metal gradually regains its shape. Between each stamping, the part is annealed and remeasured.
We begin to see the first elements of the Beaubleu watch horns. They are worked separately, and at this stage are only a silhouette of the design. We remain ruthless in the face of quality, and non-conforming parts are entirely reworked.
Once the stamping process is finished, the piece is now ready to begin the machining stage. The machining process is an important step, and failure at this level of manufacturing can result in significant costs. This step consists in sculpting the final shape of the parts, focusing on the mechanical aspect, i.e. ensuring the placement and drilling of the screws, the adjustment of the parts between them (case horns and movement), and the quality of the shapes (chamfers, fillets, curves, and solids).
At this stage, we finally have before us the Beaubleu pieces. The horns are hollowed out using an arm capable of positioning on five axes. This technique is called CNC 5-Axis Use and is intended for small series. In our case, it is the most advanced technology to obtain the expected result. The horns’ slenderness and position must be treated first by computer-controlled machines and after by hand.
Alex, a machining specialist, sums up our day with a laugh: “Your horns are beautiful, but hell to do.” In order not to spoil anything, pieces are precise to a tenth of a millimeter, with each part remeasured and redone from the start if it is considered non-compliant.
We knew it, but the machining step being extremely delicate, several parts were not in conformity: deformations of certain parts due to metal variations and other unexpected “pleasures”. So, we stay calm and begin again. Luckily, this has no impact on production times, which is a victory.
Considering the past few days and the relaxation of government working conditions regarding Covid-19, we are now entering the most beautiful stage: the treatment of surfaces. We have gone from a big block of steel to a rough watch. Now it is time for a final look at the metal of the Union collection: grained and polished. All visible parts are placed in a sealed box where very fine sand will be thrown at high speed. Abrasion of the steel will then give this grainy, almost powdery appearance. The challenge here is to better control the grain size to obtain homogeneous and delicate graining.
The next steps is polishing. Using a lathe, the parts are polished, being extremely careful not to protrude from the grained surfaces. Despite the loud noise of the machines, the workshop is plunged into religious silence for the concentration of each craftsman. A single movement can damage the sanded surface and if this is the case, we must start sanding completely.
Another element must be considered: the quality of the surface. Aside from the absence of scratches, the qualified experts, and our designer Nicolas, check the light and environmental expressions on the watch. It is like the body of a car, the reflective design will tell you if the part is “veiled”, concave, or convex. It is a question of experience at this level because if you remove too much material from the polishing, it is the assurance to start the part from the beginning.
There is a special mention for the hollowed-out ropes. Since no power tool is small enough to polish the interior, the finishes are done entirely by hand. Great progression!
A small routine check on the first steel watches begins. The angles of the parts are well controlled, and we see ourselves in the polished surfaces. Some parts have been reworked to meet our quality requirements.
Today, there are still different stages, such as the processing of certain models such as the Audace or Olympe from the Rive Gauche line, and of course the final assembly. In the meantime, we will focus on our signature round hands and their manufacturing process.
After a few weeks full of emotions, we have decided to share the crazy Beaubleu adventure and the launch of our new Collection Union with our Kickstarter campaign. A common success with a lot of twists and turns!
35 days of joy, enthusiasm and will power, but also some moments of anxiety and unexpected (otherwise, it would not be funny…). 35 days to become closer together with our Beaubleu community. This project, that we carried to heart, could not be what it became without your support and your enthusiasm.
Launched on February 29th (lucky day?), our Kickstarter goal of 42K € has been exceeded in less than 24 hours, instead of the 35 days planned. An amazing start, full of memorable memories for the Beaubleu House and its community.
Quickly, we created the keen interest of watchmaking experts in France and abroad, with press articles worldwide – actually, we count more than 25 press releases!
During these weeks, the number of backers did not stop growing (more than twice), and made us reach more than 300% of our final objective: 128 443 €.
A common accomplishment that gives us the opportunity to serenely launch the Union Collection production thoroughly prepared upstream.
In a few hours, our backers will receive a survey on Kickstarter to finalize their choices of watch, strap and other options available.
As every good thing comes to an end, the preorders
will continue on our website at a
higher price than the one proposed on Kickstarter.
Over the production, we will publish a detailed diary about the birth of the Union Collection, on our different digital platforms (website, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter et Newsletters).
Today, our craftsmen and professional partners are ready to start production, and even if the world is facing a complicated period, our daily discussions assure the best manufacturing monitoring.
We stay at your complete disposal to answer your questions.
We wish you wonderful hours.
The Beaubleu team.