Adding colour to the Neo with artist Helen Swan
The dial is just one of the ways in which the Neo watch really stands out. Made from anodised aluminium, the dials are then taken to Glasgow-based jeweller Helen Swan for finishing. The metallic white dials, our raw finish, are sealed to stop them from changing colour, and our blue and yellow dials are hand-dyed in her workshop - a process usually reserved for her jewellery pieces.
Helen took the time to answer some of our questions about the process.
How does working with anodised aluminium change the process?
When working with precious metals, the process is straightforward and you follow a set of rules. Aluminium differs, you cannot treat it the same way and therefore you have to be creative to make it function. I very much enjoy the problem solving involved with this.
Checking the temperature of the dye
What do you like about working with it so much?
I like that it can be dyed. This adds pops of colour, patterns and fun to conventional materials. Dying is also a great way to make each piece unique in that the colours can vary and you get tiny flaws caused by the anodising. This all adds to the fact that it’s handmade and goes through many processes before it becomes a piece of jewellery, or in this case, part of the Neo watch.
It’s all about taking an industrial material and making something beautiful from it.
What are your thoughts on the colours?
I love the bright colours that come from anodised aluminium but it’s nice to see it used in a more subtle way. I think the choice of colours really work well as a background to the watch faces as well.
Washing the freshly coloured dials
Boiling the dials to seal in the colour
How do you connect to Paulin as a Glasgow creative?
I have always been an admirer of Paulin watches. In fact, when my son wanted a watch at Christmas, we headed to your shop on Great Western Road. He really liked them too and the fact that you can select face styles and straps is similar in concept to my interchangeable jewellery in that it gives the wearer choice and involves them in the creative process, making each piece unique.
I also like that the watches are made in Glasgow, employing people from around here rather than using the mass market.