Crafty destinations

Engraving patterns on watches

Watchmakers are using microscopes to create many unique and intricate carved products attracting the attention of many watch collectors.

As one of the first craftsmen to carve on the face of a watch in Hanoi, Vu Ngoc Anh (Nhan Chinh, Thanh Xuan, Hanoi) said this job requires workers to have patience, extreme meticulosness and carefulness. The creation of a normal watch's dial takes more than 2 weeks. Each dial, case, and inside machinery of a watch is carefully crafted, creating differences for each product.

Also, according to Anh, the engraving industry using engraving machines, especially air-powered ones, is not popular in Vietnam. Air-powered engraving machines help reduce a workers' efforts during creation. At present, people still consider products made by engraving machines as handmade products and on par with traditional hand-engraving ones.

The craft requires carefulness and persistence from craftsman. 

Using an engraving machine on metal. 

Vu Ngoc Anh's tools for engraving. 

lathe machine used for making inside machinery of watches.

Cleaning the tool.

Checking the thickness of a watch using a magnifying glass. 

Sketching patterns.

A basic set of engraving tools including an engraving machine, air compressor, grip-vise, chisels, a chisel sharpening machine and protection kit can cost from 1,400 to 3,000 US dollars. Due to the high cost of tools, watchmakers in Hanoi often make their own tools. Currently, professionals like Anh mainly use mound and shove techniques. In order to create shiny cuts, the workers need to polish the edges of the chisels with a sharpening stone or specialized diamond ceramic disc.

The carved watch face will be put under heat to create a mahogany brown color for the entire pattern. Using heat to color steel parts is a high-end technique in watch making that requires a lot of experience.

Usually, customers who come to watch carvings are those who want a high level of customization. The average time to make a carved product is 3 weeks. Some Rolex models with full metal strap carving can take up to several months to complete.

The engraving price for a regular set of watch faces ranges from 3-5 million dong. Some more sophisticated or gold-plated watch faces may cost from 8-12 million dong, while some special sets cost up to 50 million dong.

Delicate engraved patterns.

Plating a watch with 

A watch is plated with 24k-gold.

Beetle's wings from Thailand are used to be engraved on a watch. 

A unique artwork from Vu Ngoc Anh.

Customers of Vu Ngoc Anh want to affirm their individual styles through the watches. 

 Unique engraved watches by Vu Ngoc Anh.
By Cong Dat

Bài và ảnh: Công Đạt

Son Dong Statue Sculpturing Village

Son Dong Statue Sculpturing Village

The craft village of Son Dong (in Son Dong commune, Hoai Duc district, Hanoi) is well-known for its traditional carving and sculpturing, as well as its exquisite gold and silver inlay techniques used in making items for worship. The village's products are highly regarded by customers both in and outside Vietnam.