What happened to the shimmer??
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  1. #1
    Member Jwrosenthal's Avatar
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    What happened to the shimmer??

    So I have been collecting watches for a while, and my love has always been for 50’s-60’s sport watches. I have noticed lately while looking at many modern watches, including the “homage” watches from big boys like Heuer and Omega, that their silver dials lack the sparkle and shimmer that many vintage watches had.
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    That sparkle wasn’t just on the highest end watches but even bargain watches of the day.

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    There was an iridescence and glow that they had that’s just not there in the newer ones, kind of like looking at a really good photocopy but knowing this not the real thing.

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    Was there a change in manufacturing processes that doesn’t allow for this kind of product due to environmental concerns? Is a flat toned dial the current style? Have the current designers never actually held a watch older than 30 years?

    I am genuinely curious.
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  2. #2
    Moderator Public Forum John MS's Avatar
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    Re: What happened to the shimmer??

    Probably changing fashion. The "sparkle dial" on my vintage Omega Seamaster is unusual and may be unique to Omega. At least I haven't seen it on other watch brands.
    Last edited by John MS; March 29th, 2019 at 18:51. Reason: typo
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  3. #3
    Member TwentiethCenturyFox's Avatar
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    Re: What happened to the shimmer??

    Interesting, I had not noticed this but I like the shimmer. A unique effect.

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  5. #4
    Member Jwrosenthal's Avatar
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    The sparkle dial omega used is its own unique creature- they play the light like nothing else. But even the rep watches from companies like Hamilton, that are marketed to be a near knock-off of their former products just fall flat on the dial-literally, flat silver, no shimmer or texture. I bought a Thin-o-matic, so excited that it would be like a larger version of the original (which is how they pitched it), and it was just -eh, silver, grayish silver, flat silver....just silver. I have since moved the watch along.
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  6. #5
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    Re: What happened to the shimmer??

    It could be sapphire crystals. The light transmission through sapphire glass isn't as good as plastic/acrylic.

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    Re: What happened to the shimmer??

    So some still shimmer.
    So they just call it 'sunburst" now.
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  8. #7
    Member 3th3r's Avatar
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    Re: What happened to the shimmer??

    I wonder if modern manufacturing techniques make the dials and the crystal too flat or too perfect, so that the imperfections that scatter reflected light waves just aren't in as much abundance, thereby decreasing the "shimmer" or "sparkle".
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    Re: What happened to the shimmer??

    Quote Originally Posted by Overwound View Post
    It could be sapphire crystals. The light transmission through sapphire glass isn't as good as plastic/acrylic.
    Plus AR treatments are pretty standard.
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    Member phydaux's Avatar
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    Re: What happened to the shimmer??

    My thought would be that a matte finish is easier & cheaper than a highly polished mirror finish. One more corner cut, one more reason why watches like the Grand Seiko really IS worth the exorbitant price.

  11. #10
    Member Jwrosenthal's Avatar
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    That was part of my thinking, cost of manufacturing. I’m sure back in the day there were several houses that pumped out dials on spec for the industry from Benrus to Rolex and they were finished in-house. The processes for etching the metal and coatings they used were potentially toxic, and the corporate memory for the process may have been lost as the masters of the trade died off during the quartz crisis.
    All speculation. Would love to hear from an industry person who lived through the transitional period and can speak to the changes in dial manufacturing.

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