In ‘Part One’ we talked about the case of the watch, with its original hooded lugs. The dial of the Benguela adds another unique element. Understandably, the dial of a watch is it’s most recognisable feature. Think about some of the most popular dive watch designs – Rolex Submariner, Seiko SKX, Panerai Luminor Marina. All have distinct indices (hour markers) minute tracks, date windows, and typography. You can spot a Submariner a mile away; it’s probably one of the most replicated and reproduced designs in the watch industry.
So what makes the Benguela design special? First, there are the applied indices. These are in two different sizes: thick slabs for the 12h, 3h, 6h, and 9h markers and thinner for the hours between. Like glass that has been eroded by ocean currents, these shapes have rounded corners, slightly domed upper surfaces and a bead-blasted finish, to match the case.
These applied indices then overlap the indices of what’s known as a sandwich dial ( a double-layered dial with luminous paint applied to the bottom layer). We went with a vintage-style creamy beige for the luminous paint, which contrasts perfectly with the blue and green dial versions, and looks super slick with the black. The upper layer of the sandwich dial is actually a ring, with the logo and typography printed on the lower layer. This adds an extra level of depth to the dial.
We went on a bit of a journey with the date window. Originally we wanted to use the stock black date wheel with white numerals, but because we rotated the crown 30 degrees, the numbers would not align with the 6h window position. So we would have to do a custom date wheel. Why not do the luminous numbers again like the Tugela? Great!
My original idea was that the frame of the window was going to be two sandwich layers with the lower layer creating a luminous inset. After talking with our supplier, we learned there would be a risk that any rotation of either layer would be really obvious in the window. Scratch that idea. Instead, the upper layer will have bevelled inset, with a ring of luminous paint applied. We inverted the colour on the date wheel – hopefully it glows much brighter than the luminous date wheel of the Tugela.
The final level of detail is the rehaut (the bevelled minute track on the outside). The upper tier has the minute track painted in white, and on the lower tier, cutouts allow for the hour indices to appear inset within.
We’ll launch with three dial colour options: navy blue, satin black, and olive green. We could add other colours as stretch goals for the Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign – tell us what you would like to see. Just leave a comment below.
Thanks for reading. Stay safe and stay tuned for the next episode.