Types of finishes
Lets explore some different types of finishing techniques commonly found in watchmaking and used on Orion's!
A polished surface will have a mirror like finish. This highly reflective and literally flashy surface is a great way to provide contrast with non-polished surfaces and catch the eye. For a polished finish to be done well, the surface must be flat and uniform; if it is not, you'll see distortions that may look like waves or ripples. There are many ways to achieve a polished finish, moving up from coarse to fine grits then onto polishing pastes and polishing wheels are common. Achieving a high polish on a perfectly uniform and flat surface is often a challenge, but with a great reward.
When done correctly, a polished surface is an absolute delight to look upon, though the finer and higher the polish the more susceptible it is to scratches and dings.
Media blasting or more commonly known as sandblasting is a type of finish that involves shooting some kind of media at pressure upon your work piece to impart a finish. The type of media used will determine the look and texture of the finish. Certain media can leave the finish almost polished while others will leave it matte and textured. It is commonly satin to matte. Different types of media may range from walnut shells to shaped silica beads.
Blasted finishes are generally good at disguising lighter scratches and dings.
Brushed or "grain" finish imparts an often satin finish. It is generally done with an abrasive wheel, stone, or sandpaper. The heaviness and spacing of the grain depends on the grit of the particular abrasive used. Common patterns for brushing include straight grain, sunburst, radial, and angled. Commonly used on parts like bracelets or clasps to hide lighter scratches. Good for providing contrast to polished surfaces.
DLC stands for diamond like carbon which is a type of PVD (physical vapor deposition) coating. There are many types of PVD coatings with different properties. DLC imparts a thin but hard and tough coating that is black. The thinness and semitransparent nature of DLC allows the coating of the finished surface beneath it. For example, a DLC coated polished bezel, would still appear smooth and reflective while a DLC coating on a brushed surface would display the grain and satin finish.
It is tough, hard and scratch/wear resistant. Though, a trade-off with many hard materials is that they are brittle. A hard impact from an otherwise hard surface may chip or ding the DLC coating.
This is not done by lasers. A person must train for hundreds of hours to become proficient at engraving. Typically done with hammer & graver or a pneumatic graver. The watch must be completely disassembled so that the engraver can safely work the surfaces, which to cut this type of steel requires a great deal of force and precision. Different shaped cutters and cutting techniques are used to achieve different textures and cuts; and that's all after the design has been thought up and laid out.