The Model 3 Method

Sep 28, 2023

After more than four years in development, we’re delighted to finally introduce the Model 3 to our core collection with the Model 3 Method.

Here at anOrdain, collaboration is central to what we do - our in-house know-how spans enamelling, metalworking, design and watchmaking. The story of the Model 3 Method incorporates all of these and more, with the addition of some high-tech light scanning, laser engraving and stamping.

But this story starts closer to home and involves another traditional craft process - woodworking. Method Studio is a renowned Scottish artisan cabinet and trunk maker founded by husband-and-wife team Callum Robinson and Marisa Giannasi. With an approach similar to our own, their work is informed and enriched by traditional processes but executed in a distinctively contemporary manner. Based in an old sawmill in woodlands outside the village of Linlithgow, near Edinburgh, Method Studio counts the likes of Hermès, Burberry and Vacheron Constantin among their clients.

In 2019, Lewis met Callum and Marisa and formed a strong connection over shared ideas about craft, design and enterprise. In particular, Lewis was drawn to some hand-chiselled wood textures Method Studio were using for certain projects. This undulating organic pattern resembled the surface of a lapping loch, and Lewis immediately wondered how this could be translated into a dial. He had been interested in the idea of guillioché-under-enamel for some time, and how the light plays off the different facets of metal, but hadn’t wanted to recreate the traditional aesthetic by using a rose engine lathe. This organic form was an appealing alternative.

Method Studio explored this aesthetic for us over a series of boards, and we then had to find a way to shrink this down and make it into a watch dial. After multiple failed attempts with 3D scanners, which just couldn’t pick up the complexity of the surface, access to a high-tech light scanner at The Glasgow School of Art yielded precise results. The machine is the only one of its kind in Scotland, and in order to handle the detailed and hefty STEP file it produced, we had to buy anOrdain product designer, Euan, a new computer.

With the 3D CAD file ready, we set about making a stamping die. This involved a lengthy prototyping period with specialists in Birmingham’s jewellery quarter. The stamping die was laser cut from a block of steel, and with this, we were able to create stamped dial blanks out of silver in a similar fashion to the way we make our fumé dials. To bring this process in-house, we then commissioned the building of a traditional hydraulic stamping press from makers in Italy. This machine has now been set up in our workshop in Glasgow, where Nicky and Sarah have been learning its intricacies.

Then came the enamelling. Achieving a completely uniform, pristine surface in an enamel watch dial is difficult at the best of times, and requires great skill. Doing so over an uneven surface, with multiple variations in the depth of the enamel, is a next-level challenge that has taken Sally and the team over two years to perfect. On the whole, the enamelling process is the same as with most of our dials, but with the Method dial, every micro-millimetre of the dial presents different angles and depths for the enamel to fill and eventually cover, reacting to repeated firings in different ways. As there are multiple convex shapes within the dial, the surface area is essentially doubled, which doubles the scope for things to go wrong in the enamelling process - think bubbles, cracks and odd inclusions. To resolve this, the team took on a scientific approach, with notebooks full of observations and experiments as they gradually worked out how to control and eliminate the anomalies they observed.

The end result is the Model 3 Method - in two enamel hues, Aqua and Lichen. The two colours form an alluring collection. Both dials are pad printed in-house and feature baton style indices, the Aqua with a silver print, and the Lichen a more unusual purple, which matches the heat-treated purple hands. On the Aqua, traditionally blued hands are analogous to the dial colour. The play of light as the watch moves on the wrist is reminiscent of guilloche-engraved dials but feels distinctly contemporary. The rippling texture of the silver sings beneath the enamel.

Housing the dial is the Model 3 case, which we’re delighted to introduce as part of our core collection of watches. It’s been designed specifically to accentuate the enamel dial, featuring a sleek bezel and slender lugs which flow into the strap. The profile is kept slim by use of the SW300 movement and a top-loading case design.

To mark the unique nature of the piece, Method Studio has produced a limited-edition mini watch trunk, crafted from ebonised oak, goatskin and bridle leather, with the leatherwork being carried out by the craftspeople who maintain the House of Commons in London. These beautiful objects involve hours of work, and to make them as accessible as possible, we’re not adding any markup onto the wholesale price we pay Method.

We couldn’t be more proud of this watch - it’s been an incredibly long journey and one that has seen the team overcome a seemingly never-ending series of challenges, but finally, here we are. We can’t wait to hear your thoughts!