The second edition in our ongoing blog series about the carefully chosen, individual materials that make up our watches, continues with the hardened material on which a sizable chunk of the modern world is built, namely steel.
As you might have guessed, the steel we use in our watches isn’t your run-of-the-mill variety. What’s more, if you take a look at our two all-steel models , the Pebble 06 and the Ore 06, you’ll notice that the steel is matte and furthermore that the case rests on a Milanese mesh band.
The making of said band is an intricate and time-consuming process, which has been perfected over centuries. In the words of Swiss watch authority, World Tempus:
‘From the Italian "TESSUTO MILANESE", occasionally referred to as a golden hair bracelet (17th century). This type of bracelet originates from the protective metal chain-mail worn under the armour of ancient warriors. Each of the tiny loops is made from gold threads twisted in the same stitch to make a flexible fabric. Its final appearance is achieved by hammering (a rolling process is now used), to produce hard-wearing semi-rigid meshwork which would otherwise be too loose. From the 13th to the 19th centuries, this manufacturing process was the exclusive preserve of the Milanese goldsmiths who catered to princely connoisseurs and the clergy. Mechanisation in the late 19th century made it unique to the town of Pforzheim in Germany.’
The unique steel mesh band we use does, in fact, come from renowned manufacturer Vollmer who are based in Pforzheim, Germany. This is a company that’s been in business since 1922, and, as you might expect, they consequently know a thing or two about manufacturing premium steel for picky watch brands such as ourselves. Through heritage-driven knowledge and expertise, the German manufacturer outshine the competition by way of their uncompromising dedication to craft and quality.
Accordingly, there are up to 85 steps involved in making a Vollmer bracelet. The raw material is transformed by a team of toolmakers, goldsmiths and metalworkers into mesh band of unparalleled quality. Pforzheim believe that their strengths lie in the company's exceptional machines and claim that:’No other machine can get the same results.' Apart from its striking aesthetic, the benefits of using the mesh band from Vollmer is quite simply its durability. It’s also said to be aesthetically sustainable as confirmed by the words of GQ magazine:
‘Having held its own for centuries, the Milanese bracelet is not going out of style any time soon. ‘
Needless to say, we’re very pleased with our German supplier of steel who take an incredible amount of pride in what they do. Vollmer inspire us watch companies to keep pushing ourselves and be the very best at what we do for, and it goes without saying that we aim to keep the partnership going strong well into the future.
That’s it for steel. Next up: The intricately precise machinery that makes your watch tick: Swiss movement.