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Making smoothness and shining an art form

Removing roughness and welding residue, deburring, filing and grinding are all part of the day-to-day work of a polisher. At the end of the manufacturing process for metal parts used in watchmaking and jewellery, they fine-tune these tiny components, putting the last finishing touches to their surfaces. They prepare and organise the finishing work for watches or other timepieces. A polisher is a precision artist who brings brightness and shine to watch straps, clasps and the backs of watch housings. Depending on the required finish, the polisher may also apply a satin finish to these elements so that they can be made matt. 

Some of this polishing work may be done by hand, while other procedures require the help of a machine or equipment. Polishers benefit from a sound knowledge of chemistry, which enables them to use the correct products for polishing the various components while following the relevant environmental safety rules. They wash, rinse and dry the various parts using specific products. Polishers may also work on jewellery before the crimping stage in order to prepare it for accommodating fine precious stones.

Generally speaking, polishers work in workshops specialising in polishing watch decoration parts, watchmaking production stations, or industrial manufacturing facilities for high-end metal products. In the watchmaking industry, they form a link in a chain of professionals that also includes micro engineers and watch decoration finishers. Polishers usually work sitting at a workbench. Their work typically involves visual inspection of the various elements to ensure that their dimensions are correct and that they meet the aesthetic requirements. With experience, polishers may become watchmaking quality controllers or team leaders. 

It is not unusual for polishers to find work in other fields related to product finishing, such as the machine industry, the medical sector, mobile telephony, aeronautics or the aerospace industry.

Skills required: discipline – precision – meticulousness – ability to concentrate – dexterity – visual acuity – drive – manual skill – team spirit

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