US 3724202 A
A ring member possessing decorative or functional markings for an article, especially for use in a watch, wherein there is provided a metallic ring member body equipped with at least one substantially ring-shaped groove at its base portion which is not exposed to the observer of the article. At least one electrically non-conductive material is deposited in such groove, and the surface of the ring member is provided at predetermined locations with openings for exposing at least given portions of the electrically non-conductive material.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
. I United States Patent 1 1111 3,724,202 Feller [451 Apr. 3, 1973 RING MEMBER FOR A WATCH DIAL 2,716,829 9 1955 Huguenin et al ..5s 127 R x inventor: Feller, Locle, Switzerland 1,055,158 10/1953 France ..58/l27 R [731 Asslgnee u Le 405,163 9/1965 Switzerland ..29/177 and  Filed: 29, 1971 Primary Examiner-Richard B. Wilkinson Assistant Examiner-Stanley A. Wal  PP N05 213,583 Attorney-Werner W. Kleeman Related U.S. Application Data ABSTRACT  Division of Ser. No. 79,778, Oct. 12, 1970, Pat. No. t
3 675 295 A ring member possessing decoratwe or functional markings for an article, especially for use in a watch, 30 F i A r ti P D ta wherein there is provided a metallic ring member 1 on pp on y a body equipped with at least one substantially ring: Oct. 14, 1969 Switzerland ..l5353/69 shaped groove at its base portion which is not exposed to the observer of the article. At least one electrically  U.S. Cl. ..58/127 R non-conductive material is deposited in such groove, Int. Cl. and the ui-face of the ring member is provided at 1 Field Search 126 127 R; predetermined locations with openings for exposing at 29/177 least given portions of the electrically non-conductive material.  References Cited 9 Claims, 3 Drawing Figures UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,252,647 8/1941 Schmitz ..58/l27 R X RING MEMBER FOR A WATCH DIAL CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED CASE The instant application is a divisional application of my commonly assigned, copending United States application Ser. No. 79,778, filed Oct. 12, 1970 now US. Pat. No. 3,675,295 entitled: METHOD FOR FABRI- CATION OF RINGS FOR A WATCH DIAL.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The present invention broadly relates to a new and improved construction of ring or ring member possessing decorative or indicating markings, for instance hour symbols or figures for small watches. The term markings as used in the context of this application is intended to generally denote different types of symbols, figures, indicia, adomments, or the like which may possess decorative and/or functional purposes.
Now rings of the aforementioned broad classification can be either applied to the dial of a small watch'and provided with decorative markings serving purely for ornamentation, or additionally or exclusively can possess hour symbols or figures or other type of indicating or functional markings. Furthermore, such rings can be constructed as bezels for a watch casing which are mounted to be rotatable or stationary uponthe case and carry decorative and/or indicating markings. Such rotatable bezels are particularly commonplace in divers watches and chronographs.
With the heretofore known prior art fabrication techniques, especially those utilized for the fabrication of dials for small watches, the possibilities of varying the appearance of the finished-worked dial, the socalled terminated" dial are automatically limited,.on the one hand, for the dial plate itself and, on the other hand, for the markings and symbols or the like, by virtue of the fabrication operations to which these components are subjected. This observation has particular applicability in the case of dials wherein the plate formed of metal has been. provided with a coating by virtue of a galvanic treatment, for instance, a coating formed of silver or gold, and wherein subsequently this coating must be protected by application of a protective layer, typically formed of varnish.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Accordingly, there is still present a real need in the art for improved constructions of rings equipped with decorative or functional markings which are not associated with the aforementioned limitations presently existing in the art. Hence, a primary objective of this invention is to capably'and economically fulfill this existing need.
Another object of the present invention relates to economically fabricated ring members equipped with markings which are clearly discernable from the remainder of such ring members.
The method for the fabrication of rings with such markings contemplates that initially one or a number of ring-shaped grooves are produced at the base of a metallic ring which is hidden from the observer of the article, typically a watch. Then at least one electrically non-conductive material is applied into such groove or grooves, and thereafter a material removal operation is performed at the locations of the surface of the ring used, in particular, as a ring member for a watch will be seen to comprise a metallic body provided at its base portion, not exposed to the observer of the article, with at least one substantially ring-shaped groove. Within such groove there is deposited at least one electrically non-conductive material and the surface of the ring member is provided at predetermined locations thereof with openings for exposing at least given portions of such electrically non-conductive material.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING The invention will be better understood and objects other than those set forth above, will become apparent when consideration is given to the following detailed description thereof. Such description makes reference to the annexed drawing wherein:
FIG. 1 is a fragmentary perspective view of a peripheral ring or ring member produced according to the inventive method and secured to a dial plate and possessing hour symbols or figures; and
FIG. 2 and 3 illustrate in a manner analogous to the showing of FIG. 1, additional embodiments of ring members equipped with suitable markings and produced in accordance with the inventive method.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Describing now the drawing, andv explaining the invention there will be assumed that initially there is provided a ring or ring member 8 which, in the exemplary embodiment of FIG. 1, may possess a substantially trapezoidal cross-sectional configuration, and in the embodiments of FIGS. 2 and 3 as indicated by the phantom lines, possesses a rectangular or approximately rectangular cross-sectional configuration. Now with the exemplary embodiment of ring member 8 shown in FIG. 1, there is initially formed at the base, that is to say, the undersurface of such ring member 8, namely the surface which is not visible to the observer of the article, one circular-shaped groove 9. On the other hand, at the corresponding base of the ring members 8 of the arrangements of FIGS. 2 and 3 there are formed two such circular-shaped grooves 9a and 9b. Upon completion of the grooving of the base of eachrespective ring member 8 there is then applied 'into such grooves 9, 9a, 9b a suitable electrically non-conductive material 2. This material 2 may be, for instance, a thermosetting plastic. Moreover, if such electrically nonconductive material is in a pastry condition it can be applied into the groove or grooves 9, 9a, 9b with the aid of a spatula or any other suitable tool or can even be sprayed into such groove or grooves and permitted to harden therein. A further possibility would be to form a bar or rod of this electrically non-conductive material 2, which may be for instance plastic or a suitable precious stone material, and which possesses the form of the groove itself, the bar or rod after having been separately formed then subsequently being pressed into the space formed by its receiving-groove 9, 9a, 9b.
Thereafter, use is made of an appropriate materialremoval tool for machining or otherwise working the locations of the surface of the ring member 8 situated opposite the groove or grooves 9, 9a and 9b at which the markings are to be produced, material removal being accomplished until the electrically non-conductive material 2 within' the grooves is visible. To elucidate this point further, it will be observed that in the embodiments depicted in FIGS. 1 to 3 inclusive, at the corresponding ring member 8 there are formed radially extending recesses or milled slots at the locations of the surface of each such ring member 8 where the markings, here assumed to be hour symbols, are to appear. These recesses or slots 10 are of sufiicient depth to expose at least portions of the non-conductive material 2 which during such machining operation can be likewise processed. As a result, the hour symbols thusly formed at the corresponding ring member 8 due to the appearance of the material 2 are clear and distinguishable from the remaining portions of the associated ring member-8.
After this machining operation or processing step, but if desired, also prior thereto, the ring member 8, in the event it is intended to serve as the peripheral ring for a dial, can be secured by means of any standard well known technique to a dial plate 5, for instance by welding or adhesively bonding such ring member thereto. In this connection, attention is invited to FIG. 1 showing the ring member 8 mounted at a dial plate 5.
The thus produced dial can thereafter be finished in accordance with any one of the known or classical techniques, that is to say, can be finally fabricated or terminated". These classical manufacturing techniques generally constitute a'galvanic treatment by means of which a layer of a metal is applied or deposited on the polished surface of the metallic dial. Of course, it should be readily apparent that in the case of the exemplary embodiment this final treatment only is effective upon those portions of the dial structure which are electrically conductive whereas the remaining portions, especially the material 2 where it appears at the surface of the dial structure, will be indeed exposed to such treatment but will not receive any coating layer or deposit. The location at which the material 2 appears, therefore, after the final treatment of the surface of the dial plate and without having to be especially machined or recessed, possesses an appearance which, both because of the surface qualities as well as, under circumstances, because of the color, clearly differentiates from the remaining metallic portions of the dial.
The structure of the ring 8 of FIG. 3 differs from the corresponding ring 8 of FIG. 1 only insofar as here two grooves 9a, 9b for receiving electrically non-conductive material are provided at the original rectangular cross-sectional configuration of such metallic ring member. Furthermore, in this arrangement there is advantageously provided for both grooves 9a, 9b electrically non-conductive material of different color and/or surface properties.
The embodiment of FIG. 2 particularly illustrates how it is possible by utilizing a different machining or working operation at a ring-shaped work piece equipped with grooves 9a, 9b for receiving electrically non-conductive material 2 to obtain a ring member which appears to the observer as three independent concentric rings, of which the central ring consists of a different material.
Of course, the markings, which result through the material-removal operations to which the ring member is subjected and by virtue of which the material 2 becomes visible, can enjoy, instead of an indicating function as is the case for hour symbols or figures, also purely a decorative function. In such case, the actual hour symbols could be fabricated in a conventional fashion separately of the ring member itself and could then be applied to such or to the dial plate. Furthermore, it is even possible for such markings to have both decorative and functional purposes.
Additionally, it should be readily understood that the ring members equipped with markings in the aforedescribed manner may not only serve, as is the case with the arrangement of FIG. 1, as peripheral rings for dial plates, but also can be used as rotatable or nonrotatable bezel rings which are intended to be secured internally or, externally of the casing of a small watch.
In particular, such rings like those of FIGS. 2 and 3 for instance can be used as rotatable or non-rotatable bezels, with the machined-out electrically non-conductive material forming the decoration of the watch case, or however, such can be provided with suitable indicating markings for the user as is the case with the rotatable bezels found in divers watches.
Although in the previously explained embodiments only a single electrically non-conductive material 2 was applied to each groove 9, 9a, 9b, a whole series of further possibilities exists if there is utilized a number of different electrically non-conductive materials in the individual grooves.
It is particularly possible, for the manufacture of dials having luminescent markings, to proceed in such a fashion that initially a transparent material is deposited into the groove or grooves and thereafter a layer of a material is applied which contains a phosphorescent or luminescent substance, for instance tritium.
The surface of the ring member 8 situated opposite such groove or grooves is then machined to such a depth that the transparent material which is located directly beneath the metallic material of the ring becomes visible. The phosphorescent mass likewise then becomes visible through the transparent material without the danger existing that the phosphorescent mass itself will be contacted during the materialremoval operations or machining. In practice, there are quite strict regulations concerning the use of tritium and these regulations do not permit fabricating a ring in accordance with the inventive method in an economically feasible manner if only a phosphorescent material containing tritium is used for the mass 2. Yet, by introducing a transparent intermediate layer, these objectives can be, however, effectively realized.
In the same manner it would be possible to initially apply into the groove or grooves 9, 9a, 9b of the metallic ring member 8 a transparent mass of lacquer material or varnish and to metalize the base of such mass of material, in other words the surface confronting the opening of the associated groove. Apart from the technological advantages of the described method which reside in the aspects that for the attachment of the described ring to a dial plate it is possible to utilize the simpler and less sensitive techniques which have been developed for the fabrication of plastic dials without having to dispense with the use of metal, as well as there being afforded the use of the possibilities provided by the finishing operations for the conventional metallic dials during the fabrication of fancy or luxury dials, the inventive technique also renders possible the fabrication of dials with a heretofore unknown aspect wherein the dials provided with decorations and markings whose appearance and, especially their color, are clearly discernible from the remaining portions of the dial.
The workings of dials which have been fabricated by utilizing the inventive method can be remotely compared with previously used dials possessing enamel decorations which, however because of the expense encountered in manufacturing such prior art enameldecorated dials have nowadays practically disappeared from the market.
The embodiments of the invention illustrated in the drawing clearly depict a number of the inventive aspects which can be realized by the herein described method aspects.
A further advantage of the described inventive method, which has not yet been mentioned, resides in the fact that the material 2 which differs from the remaining portions of the dial does not protrude past the metallic portions. Such however would be, for instance, the case with stamped or transferred markings, since these last-mentioned markings are only applied at the last moment, in other words, after the final machining or working of the dial inclusive of the application of the protective coating. Hence, such subsequently applied markings automatically protrude past the surface of the dial plate by the amount of their thickness. An essential advantage of the inventive method is particularly recognized in the fact that it enables the fabrication of dials with metallic dial plates possessing indicating or decorative markings of different color, and wherein these markings can be produced prior to the finishing operations of the metallic components because such markings, owing to their inherent electrically non-conductive character, do not respond to the conventional galvanic treatment to which the metallic plate is subjected during the course of its being finished fabricated.
While there is shown and described present preferred embodiments of the invention, it is to be distinctly understood that the invention is not limited thereto but may be otherwise variously embodied and practiced within the scope of the following claims. Accordingly,
What is claimed is:
1. A ring member possessing decorative or functional markings for an article,- especially a ring member for use in a watch, comprising a metallic ring member body provided at its base portion which is not exposed to the observer of the article with at least one substantially ring-shaped groove, at least one electrically non-conductive material de sited in such oove, and the surface of the ring mgfiber being pr vided at predetermined locations thereof with openings for exposing at least given portions of the electrically non-conductive material, said exposed portions of the electrically nonconductive material not being affected by any subsequent galvanic treatment.
2. A ring member as defined in claim 1, further including a dial plate member, said ring member body being mounted at the periphery of said dial plate member to define a peripheral ring.
3. A ring member as defined in claim 2, wherein the exposed portions of said electrically non-conductive material define markings.
4. A ring member as defined in claim 2, wherein the exposed portions of the electrically non-conductive material are capable of receiving markings. v
5. A ring member as defined in claim 1, wherein the ring member body provides a rotatable bezel.
6. A ring member as defined in claim 1, wherein the ring member body defines a stationary bezel.
7. A ring member as defined in claim 1, wherein the ring member body provides a decorative ring for a watch case.
8. A ring member as defined in claim 1, wherein the exposed electrically non-conductive material appears in the form of a transparent mass beneath which there is visible a phosphorescent material.
9. A ring member as defined in claim 1, wherein the exposed electrically non-conductive material appears in the form of a transparent mass through which there is visible a metalized layer beneath the transparent mass.