When examining what single factor makes or breaks the successful design on a timepiece, it overwhelmingly comes down to the dial. No wonder; the dial is the one component where creativity can expand without bounds, therefore rendering the dial the absolute center piece of the watch. It is also utilized for the sophisticated display of branding, not just in the form of a logo, but through recognizable design patterns the customers immediately associate with a particular brand.
Today we are going to be focusing on one of the classic, widely used design elements that not many people even considered has a name: Guilloché.
What is Guilloché?
Guilloché (or guilloche) is a decorative technique in which an intricate and repetitive pattern is mechanically engraved into a material (in this case watch dials) via engine turning.
The History of Guilloché Pattern Watches
Abraham-Louis Breguet popularized guilloché on pocket watch dials in the late 1770s. For his customers at the time, Breguet was creating unique pieces with guilloché dials. The growing popularity of mastering this technique for watchmakers stopped in the early 20th century due to World War I and II, but fortunately for us, the art of creating guilloché dials was brought back to life in the 70’s by Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak watches.
The Best Guilloché Pattern Watches
We are huge fans of guilloche dials because of the simple sophistication it provides to the overall look of the watch. Naturally, we set out to collect the best pieces (according to us) available on the market today. In modern times, makers often use a stamping technique to achieve the look, as opposed to engraving—so in this article, you will find the most beautiful pieces that have a guilloche dial regardless of the technique used to achieve it. Without further ado, let’s take a look.
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Hamilton Jazzmaster Viewmatic Auto
The Hamilton Jazzmaster Viewmatic’s transparent case back provides a mesmerizing glimpse into modern watchmaking and fine craftsmanship coexisting in harmony. Of course, this watch’s front is equally as eye-catching as its back. The intricate guilloché pattern brings back traditional craftsmanship into a new modern design. The Hamilton jazzmaster Viewmatic Auto is one of our absolute favorites!
Longines Master Collection Silver
Since its inception, Longines has been producing outstanding watches as a traditional watchmaking company. Today, the Longines Master Collection is the ideal representation of this business spirit, as seen by the popularity this collection has attained since its introduction in 2005. The numerous models in this series, which are all equipped with self-winding movements, provide a variety of unique characteristics. The Longines Master Collection combines the timeless beauty and superb craftsmanship that never cease to surprise people who value fine watches.
The beautiful guilloché pattern on the dial completes the classic design look and is further amplified by the moonphase complication at 6 o’clock position. Additionally, the blue color of the hour and minute hands are giving the perfect amount of modern touch to this classic beauty.
Tissot Le Locle Powermatic 80
The Tissot Le Locle Powermatic 80 is an elegant timepiece with the visual focus being on the dial exclusively. The sizable black Roman numerals against the silver dial with the thin sword hour and minute hands are very classy elements. The guilloché pattern on the dial makes the overall look a lot more exciting, but the flat smooth ring under the hour marks ensures the pattern will not be too much and overwhelming, and this nice visual break maintains the timepiece’s classic long-lasting feel.
The Tissot PRX is a recent release (from 2021) and it leans towards a more sporty look due to the integrated bracelet. PRX is an acronym for Precise, Robust, and X for water resistant up to 10 bars (100 meters). The bezel is lifted from the core case, giving the timepiece more depth. And let’s face it: it’s a cool looking watch that has already generated a lot of buzz – and rightly so. We can only recommend it.
Frederique Constant Worldtimer
Frederique Constant is an often overlooked brand, however, they produce exceptional timepieces both in quality and design. The Worldtimer is no exception as this watch is ideal for any (including formal) occasions. Frederique Constant’s own FC-718 automatic movement provides accurate and reliable timekeeping with up to 42 hours power reserve. The 42 mm case width makes the watch big enough to make all the intricate details visible – like the guilloché pattern -, but it’s still not big enough to be a too large option for smaller wrist sizes.
UNDONE Terra Safari
The Terra Safari by UNDONE is a very exciting watch. It’s a great fit for almost all wrist sizes, as the tartaruga (tortoise) shaped case is just 37 mm wide. The waffle design (or as UNDONE calls it, the “Grenade Dial”) might not qualify as a guilloché pattern strictly speaking, but could be an intriguing option for watch enthusiasts looking for interesting dial textures. The watch itself has a subtle olive-green undertone and that combined with the Grenade Dial creates a map-like narrative for adventurers.
Raymond Weil Maestro Automatic
The Raymond Weil Maestro Automatic is a true gentlemen’s watch. The rounded stainless steel bezel gives the timepiece a very elegant and sophisticated look, which is further supported by the essential three hand and date window complication: the watch doesn’t have superfluous functions, sophisticated in its simplicity. This straight-to-the-point design is counterbalanced by the guilloché pattern in the middle of the dial, visually creating an outer rim for the hour and minute markers.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Duoface
The Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso was designed to stand up to the rigors of polo matches. It has become one of the most recognizable timepieces in the world because of its subtle Art Deco lines and distinctive, pioneering reversible casing. The Reverso is passionately original and a truly outstanding timepiece. This timepiece’s status as a JLC legend has been cemented in the history of horology since the Reverso’s inception in 1931.
Maurice Lacroix Aikon Automatic
The flagship watch from Maurice Lacroix, the Aikon was first launched with a quartz movement and is now available with a Swiss automatic movement to take things to the next level. With a simplified and classic dial (three hand movement with date window at the 3 o’clock position), the attention is really drawn to the guilloche pattern that stretches along the dial. The pattern and the deep blue color gives the watch a mesmerizing depth, and the thicker bezel and integrated stainless steel bracelet makes it a perfect combination of sporty and elegant in appearance.
Baume et Mercier Classima 10707
The Baume et Mercier Classima 10707 is powered by a self-winding movement with a 42-hour power reserve, displaying the hours, minutes, and seconds. The chevron-patterned silver sun satin dial with a 42 mm case is complemented with blue Arabic numbers, indexes, and leaf hour and minute hands. The bracelets are made of saddle-stitched blue wool fabric with black alligator skin accents and a chevron pattern.
Seiko Presage SPB167
Seiko watches are always a popular choice, and rightly so. A Seiko watch is usually reasonably priced, and comes with a reliable movement and the Seiko Presage SPB167 is no exception. The automatic movement provides an impressive 70-hour power reserve. The 39.3 mm case width is on the smaller side, and simplified functionality of the watch (only a date window at 3 o’clock position) is counterbalanced and offset by the visually interesting guilloché dial texture.