The Astounding Journey Of MONTA's Swiss Made Watch Hands
Watch hands are traditionally overlooked. It is one of those items that the brand management typically wants to make for as little money as possible. So, you are stuck to taking a “stock design” from a hand maker and running down that path. To us at MONTA, that is like sourcing a custom suit, with the perfect wool / silk blend, then getting an Egyptian cotton tailored shirt that looks incredible to finish it up with a rayon JC Penney’s tie that you wore for your confirmation in 1992. Pretty much a hard NO from us. We go the opposite direction--we start with the hands and build the watch from there.
In 2016 when we began talking about MONTA, we asked our head designer Eric, “Who makes the best hands in Switzerland?” His answer was, “….$%&#@...in the Jura mountain city of*+^#@?....they make for the best brands. It is unlikely they will take us as a client though.”
Sorry, we cannot tell you who that company is, but know that its client list reads like your grail watch list - unattainable. His response that they would unlikely be taken as a client made it even more enticing for me as an owner to break into the traditional Swiss boy’s club that is watch making. Also, one other aspect of this hand maker is that they do not offer to make hands from a “stock design,” they only make unique designs from the watch brand that employs them. In turn each of their clients has their own tooling for their own watch designs.
It has been game on since that discussion in 2016, and we were able to use our charm and incredible focus on quality to develop this relationship and many others like it in Switzerland to create a truly Swiss timepiece. Perfection may not always be attainable but the pursuit of it is always our goal.
Now that you understand where and why we chose the maker of our hands, let us explain a little bit of how a watch hand is made. The materials and how really any watch hand starts its life is really no different than if it was made in Switzerland or the far east. The base material of a watch hand is brass, due to its metallic properties and its ability to so easily be plated with materials like gold and platinum. Additionally, brass is a pliable enough material to be worked and shaped on but not so hard that it requires extreme pressure or heat which would degrade the finish. To create the basic shape of a hand, it is stamped from a die that is fed a thin sheet of brass. With the majority of watch hands, they are minorly deburred, buffed and plated with a faux gold or silver. That is not how a MONTA watch hand ends its production life though.
For starters all of our hands utilize only real gold or rhodium (the finest and most expensive platinum material in the world). From a shape side every MONTA hand has multi surfaces and facets, so that it sparkles and allows for the light to dance on it for the wearer to enjoy. That process of faceting requires extra stamping and at times hand shaping by trained experts. After the hand is shaped to its correct exact shape, polished and heavily plated with either gold or rhodium it is then sent to the diamond cutting department to put an almost perfect edge on the hand.
99.9% of the top watch brands in the world stop here, for most the process of diamond cutting creates a “good enough” finished edge. For our discerning watch maker and design team, it is not. We go the extra mile to put an extra finishing process of rounding off the edge to perfection leaving nothing but a flawless edge in a unique process called feutrage finishing.
This extra process is only done by a few craftsmen and women in Switzerland with incredible expertise in finishing hands of this caliber in the world. This is the best hand one could make, period. After this laborious process of achieving the highest quality in hand making, our hand maker finishes the hand with a very heavy coating of luminous material known as Super Luminova, the specific hue being BGW9. A gorgeous whitish color in daylight but a burning glow of blue color when the lights are extinguished.
Even with this level of manufacturing quality and attention to detail our QC team still does not approve all of the hands for final assembly. Why, you might ask? Because our judge is you. A discerning customer who knows what quality is and expects that we give it our absolute best for the watch that will not only be on your wrist, but the wrist of the generations to come. When you purchase a MONTA it goes without saying that 200 years of Swiss craftsmanship and countless man hours has gone into creating something more than a watch-- it’s a legacy that we are creating, one timepiece at a time.