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Watch Words This Week: Cotes de Geneve

Originally created to protect the movement, Geneva stripes are now one of the most popular finishes in fine watchmaking.

Trust the ever-practical Swiss to come up with an aesthetic finish rooted in functionality. One of the most widely seen types of decoration in a watch movement, cotes de Geneve, or Geneva stripes, is a series of parallel or concentric patterns that are actually fine, consistent scratches. Originally developed to catch dust particles in side the watch case and prevent them from travelling around the movement, Geneva stripes are now largely decorative.


They are typically applied with a spinning tool covered in an abrasive, which can be applied to the part either mechanically or by hand. Omega developed a variation called cotes de Geneve en Arabesque found on its top of the line movements, including the caliber 8906 inside the Planet Ocean Deep Black, which comprises spirals radiating from the centre of the movement.

(RELATED: The Savvy Watch Collector: Timepieces That Make Good First Investments.)