Monday, 7 November 2011

"Badge Engineering" in the 18th Century?

I recently noticed that the word KOVER in the centre of the dial of my own Kover watch (No. 7629) did not align centrally with the 60 / XII. Here is a rather poor image that does, however, show this misalignment.

I thought this a little odd until I realized that the centre part of the dial is a separate part and can, in fact, be rotated by applying a gentle torque. I guess that, when new, the centre dial was correctly aligned and it has moved over the last 250 years!

I notice that the centre part on the beautifully preserved Watch No. 8346 appears also to be very slightly misaligned (although this could be distortion in the photograph). The centre part also includes the word LONDON which mine does not.
I have speculated whether the dial maker supplied the same "Champlève" outer dial to several different watch assemblers, who added their own branding in the centre part of the dial - an early form of "Badge Engineering". Or did the watch assembler want to keep full control over branding whilst maintaining the flexibility to procure the outer dials from multiple sources?

I must do a little research to see if I can discover identical "Champlève" outer dials on watches signed other than Kover.

Readers' comments would be appreciated - maybe there's an obvious and completely different reason that I've missed.

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