Custom Dial Habring2

Nov 30, 2020,15:49 PM

Hello All,

I am embarking on the journey towards my first 'nice' watch. Although I have spent countless hours on the internet learning about the fantastic world of high end and independent watchmaking, the only purchases I have made were all under 1000 dollars. Having only turned 19 recently, I simply never had the money for the Langes and Voutilainens I see being enjoyed here. However, I recently won a music competition which happened to have a very generous 1st prize. With the acquisition of that money, and the fact that I am entering a new phase of life, I figured it would be a good time to buy the watch that will be with me forever.

I set a budget of 10,000 USD for myself - both because it is the limit of my means, and because I fear I wouldn't wear anything much more expensive. I spent months thinking about which watch to go with. The problem is every watch is a compromise. No one watch can do it all (which is why we collect, of course). Still, some types of watches are more versatile than others, so I decided that whatever it is should be steel, simple, and wearable (for me, this means 40mm is a hard max). Additionally, I wanted it to be a new watch. Normally I have no qualms about buying used (my entire (small) collection is vintage), but I wanted the legacy of this watch to start with me. So it had to be new. These guidelines left a huge number of options to pick from.

My first thought was Rolex. Specifically, the OP 34mm in white. The OP is often considered an 'exit watch', and I see why. It could easily be the only thing I ever wore. As such, it felt like a natural choice for my 'forever' watch. However, I always got the nagging feeling that I would regret getting something so ordinary, especially considering the other options for the price. When the white OP 34 was discontinued recently, my decision was made for me. Grand Seiko was also high on my list. The dial work really is second to none. Macro shots from a certain someone on this forum reveal that they can outclass even the best brands in terms of quality, and the insane dial textures they produce are one of a kind. Unfortunately, every GS seems to have some kind of fatal flaw. For most of them, it's size or thickness. Even the handwound models are often quite bloated, at over 10mm thick. Some of their cases also just don't sit well with me. For instance, the way that the SBGW259's lugs meet the case is strange, overlapping one of the horizontal lines of the case rather than going smoothly into the largest uninterrupted portion of the case. I also considered a Nomos minimatik, tudor black bay 36mm, a JLC master control, a Torsti Laine, and others. All of these are watches I'd love to own, but for the question of the forever watch, only Habring2 had the answer.

The Habring2 erwin had come to my attention during my search, but it was put aside rather early on because I was never particularly inspired by the aesthetic of the watch. But after time, I realized that the austere dial was really its ONLY weak point. The case is perfect - calatrava style with polished bezel and satin midcase. The dimensions are perfect, at 38.5mm by 9mm. The movement is incredibly captivating: An anachronistic complication (and one which doesn't force the addition of subdials or scales) achieved in such a beautiful and simple way. And it is produced by one of the most loved brands in watchmaking, one made of very nice people who can work with you to create what you want. This last bit was what pushed me over the edge - not only because it reminded me of how I had my guitar made, but because it meant I could fix the one shortcoming I see in the stock version of the erwin (by ordering a custom dial).

This option is not a cheap one (Maria said 2000 euros extra as a minimum). This significantly reduces the value of the erwin, which in its standard form is quite the value proposition. Still, I believe it will be well worth it for getting exactly what I want. I will find out the actual price when the Habrings quote their dial maker. But for this I will need a drawing, and some accompanying information regarding textures and colors. This leads into the design itself. Here is the solidworks drawing I made:

Please forgive the low resolution, I'm not sure how to export a JPEG of higher quality. This close up gives a slightly less messy view:

Of course the logo and numerals are not accurate to what will actually be used - Habring2’s own fonts will replace these stand-ins. It is quite apparent I was inspired by the two Massena Lab sector dial erwins. Other inspirations included the laurent ferrier galet sector, and the lang and heyne georg (which is where those little rhombi at 12, 3, 6, and 9 came from). I am not a visionary designer by any means, so I kept it simple. I quite like how it looks as is, but if anyone has any suggestions I'd be happy to hear them.

As for colors and textures, I want it to have the same fine grainy texture as a stock erwin or felix dial. I have ordered a pantone swatch booklet to pick the colors. From what I understand from my communications with Maria and Richard, the base color can be achieved through painting the dial and/or any number of layers of colored lacquer. All of these factors make it rather difficult to predict what the dial will end up looking like, even given a single pantone color to work with. I plan to describe in detail what I want it to look like, and hope that they can translate that to the best technical process to achieve it. 

There are also many factors involved in how the printing turns out. There are inks of different viscosity and finish, as well as the option of adding a second or third layer. Similar to the dial color, I do not feel I have the knowledge to specify every step of the construction, so I will give my best description and see what they recommend. Finally, I am thinking about having the numerals engraved and filled with paint, similar to a Dornbluth. If the price is too high, then I’ll just have them printed like everything else. 

I hope to continue making updates on this process as it continues. It is all very exciting!

More posts: Black BaycalatravaDornbluthGrand SeikoHabring2Lang and HeyneLaurent FerrierNomosTudorTudor Heritage

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Congrats! So young and such good taste!

 By: analog_sheen : November 30th, 2020-15:51
Looking forward to the finished product !

Thank you!

 By: mhz > vph : November 30th, 2020-17:09
I'll make sure to do some nice photos when it finally arrives - that is a ways away though.

Super exciting and quite the mature choice.

 By: Jay (Eire) : November 30th, 2020-17:32
Yes Rolex is the safe choice and there is no son in going that route. I’d hazard a guess that quite a few of us here, myself included, took that safe choice. But, you’ve done your homework here and arrived at quite an interesting choice. I like the nod to... 

Dial and print color/texture will be the most difficult part

 By: mhz > vph : November 30th, 2020-18:37
The possibilities are numerous, and it is impossible to perfectly predict what the finished product will look like. I am tempted to request exact processes, but I simply don't know what the results will be. The Habrings and their dial partners are all ver... 

Have them play with the spacing between the 1 and the 2 at 12...

 By: mdg : November 30th, 2020-18:05
...maybe a bit too much space?

The numerals in the drawing are not what will appear on the finished dial

 By: mhz > vph : November 30th, 2020-18:20
Solidworks has a fairly standard library of fonts to use, which of course does not contain the fonts found on Habring2 watches. The 12 on the finished dial should be the same, fantastic 12 on their felix and erwin, as well as the cursive "Habring2" text. ... 

Sincere congratulations on a mature and highly intelligent choice for your first important watch -- you've remarkably skipped several steps in the "typical" collector's experience! ;-)

 By: FabR : November 30th, 2020-19:11
Looking forward to the end result of your first acquisition, and to the many more that I'm sure will follow! ;-)


 By: mhz > vph : November 30th, 2020-19:49
The internet is a remarkable resource. Neither of my parents nor any of my extended family are interested in watches. Everything I discovered was on the web, and much of it on forums like this one. I suppose the reason I have 'skipped steps' is simply tha... 

Wow! You seem like quite a mature collector already!

 By: batholith : November 30th, 2020-22:19
I think it is wonderful that you have such a good grasp of what you like. I really like Habrings and Maria and Richard are great folk. I would be very interested in listening to your music! Congratulations on your win.

Thank you very much!

 By: mhz > vph : December 1st, 2020-00:41
I'll pm you the link to the video of the final round of the contest. It was originally meant to be live, but covid concerns made it into a video contest. If anyone else is interested I can edit this message to contain the link, but for the time being I wi... 


 By: batholith : December 1st, 2020-10:26

Thank you,

 By: mhz > vph : December 1st, 2020-00:37
I certainly intend to enjoy it

Thank you Iberti!

 By: mhz > vph : December 1st, 2020-00:43

Excellent choice and taste . Looking forward to see the finished watch .

 By: Watchonthewrist : December 1st, 2020-01:08
Be careful these indie and bespoke watches can be addictive 😉

Enjoy the journey ...

 By: Cpt Scarlet : December 1st, 2020-02:05
I think you have made a great choice with a Habring. Richard and Maria will guide you through the difficult decisions. I still have my first Habring, it’s performed perfectly and is always incredibly comfortable on the wrist. Strap choice makes a big diff...  

Fantastic felix

 By: mhz > vph : December 1st, 2020-11:49
Richard and Maria have already done a great job answering my never ending list of questions. I have confidence that it will turn out nicely. Glad to hear your Felix has been performing well, it seems to be the norm for Habrings

Keep us updated and good luck

 By: Cpt Scarlet : December 1st, 2020-11:57

Thank you

 By: mhz > vph : December 1st, 2020-11:51
I will make update posts as things progress. And of course, I would love to see others post about similar custom orders.

What a wonderful choice.....

 By: darmatgre-1 : December 1st, 2020-11:39
You could not have chosen a better watchmaker to work with on this project. The Habrings are both fantastic people and watchmakers. I love the look of your new timepiece, and can't wait to see it live once it has been brought to life. Congratulations. Dar...