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Making of the Benguela – The Dial

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.

Early concept sketch of the Benguela dial

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.

The rehaut with cutouts for the hour indices of the dial below.

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.

Mike

8 comments

  1. Cecil Miller

    We would like a white dial i this model…..

  2. Michael Nauer

    White indices would be nice. The vintage color is getting to be a somewhat dated design idea.

  3. erwan daussy

    White dial would be very nice as well. Agree with Michael on the vintage color, not that much my cup of tea. Blue lum may be a good idea. Will the metal bracelet be the same as the Tugela ?

    1. Thanks for the feedback. I do like the idea of a white dial version, but it will have to be a stretch goal if we raise enough funds. The minimum order quantity for dials is 100,so we would need to make at least 400 watches to add the white dial to the line up.

    2. The bracelet will be the same as the Tugela, but with a ratcheting diver’s clasp.

  4. N.Robinson

    absolutely stunning designed watches and craftsmanship, will you be making a DLC run of these beauties?

    1. Thanks so much! I love the look of DLC but it’s surprisingly not very popular. I would have to check with my supplier regards MOQs for case finishes, but guessing that is going to be a limitation.

  5. Kia Ora. I have just heard your interview in RNZ, radio NZ. I am impressed by your design kaupapa. I love the green face/dial and should like to buy one with a bracelet strap.
    Nga mihi nui, Kia pai to ra
    (Thank you very much, have a good day)
    Moni

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