This past spring, a group of guys from the “Brotherhood of Submariner Homage Threads” (aka, the “BSHT”) on Watchuseek Forums approached me about making a very special, limited-edition version of the NTH Subs for them. This watch, named “the Carolina” would feature a vintage-style, “gilt-relief” dial.
I was intrigued. I wasn’t familiar with gilt-relief, but after some investigation and explanation, I came to understand the result they were looking to achieve, and the process involved.
What is a “gilt-relief” dial, and what makes it different?
In modern dials, the dial plate is coated with a base layer of color. Then the hours, minutes and all dial text are printed on top of that base layer.
With a gilt-relief dial, that glossy, enamel-black base layer is negative-printed, meaning it’s printed with gaps in it, and those gaps expose the gold shine of the dial plate underneath, creating the dial text, logo, hour markers and minute track. The lume plots for the hour indices are then applied directly on top of the exposed dial.
As it turns out, this method of dial-making isn’t used much anymore. It’s a difficult technique to master, and results in a lot of dials being rejected. But when the light catches the dial just right, the results can be spectacular, as the guys who bought the Carolina can attest.
Once we knew our dial supplier could achieve the results we were looking for with the Carolina, it didn’t take too long for us to start thinking about what other NTH Subs models deserve the gilt-relief treatment. The most obvious candidate was the Barracuda, and thus we give you, the all-new Barracuda Vintage Black, our first ever gilt-relief NTH Subs production model.
The Barracuda Vintage Black will be available with or without a date window (date window at 6 o’clock, with a black date wheel), Japanese Miyota 9015 automatic movement, gilt-framed snowflake handset, Swiss Superluminova C3 lume, and ultra-black, fully-lumed stainless steel bezel with top-quality DLC coating.
Like all NTH Subs, it will be water resistant to 300m / 30 ATM / 1000 feet, and have an ultra-thin 11.5mm case, with double-domed anti-reflective sapphire and our signature screw-down crown with proprietary lumed NTH engraving.
We started production of the Barracuda Vintage Black some months back, and as such, the first batch will be available for immediate delivery sometime in January 2019, and can be purchased from all our retail partners, as well as www.NTHwatches.com.