Engraving

  • Métier horloger: Décoration de la montre | Jaeger-LeCoultre
Tools which have stood the test of time. The burins, chisels, files and hammers used today are little different from those possessed by the Egyptians and the Trojans. The burin is the direct descendant of the coarse scraper. The wooden handle of this bevel-cut steel chisel is rounded for a perfect fit in the palm of the hand, which controls the depth of the blade’s cut in the material by pressure alone. For chiselling tiny details, and extremely exact work, the master engraver has some twelve burins in all sizes. He sharpens them himself with the sandstone grinder, then with the emery grinder and lastly with oil stone. The quality of his work depends on the care he puts into this operation: creating areas of shade is only possible with an impeccably polished cutting surface. Writing on gold, steel or platinum with the burin requires years of experience. First the sketch is traced directly with dry point on the back of the Reverso. The drawing is then honed with the right burin for the engraving style. An old engraving manual declares: “Writing should flow freely from the hand, that is the only way to get beautiful characters”.