In his shop near Tyler, Texas, one can still find an engraver totally immersed in his craft using hand made tools to enhance a fine watch in many custom designs and motifs. David Wade Harris born July 11, 1963 in Oak Cliff, a Dallas suburb, is a master engraver who was taught hand engraving by the late, renowned, Ft. Worth Jeweler and engraver, Weldon Bledsoe Weldon Bledsoe, born February 17, 1916 in Margaret, Texas, never engraved a hammer on any gun. He was a Ft. Worth engraver who in 1950 had just moved from New Orleans and was doing work for Haltom Jewelers.
David’s wife was instrumental in him having the opportunity to meet Weldon Bledsoe in the 1980’s. She was working for the plating company where Mr. Bledsoe took his work and had Mr. Bledsoe engrave a piece for David for Christmas. David immediately became interested in learning to engrave. However, before Weldon would take him on as his student Mr. Harris had to convince him that he was seriously interested in keeping the legendary engraving style alive . Bledsoe stated that he would not teach anyone else to engrave because prior apprentices would not carry on the tradition as he had taught them.
Weldon Bledsoe taught David Harris that an engraver does not pick up a hammer and chisel and start right in any more than a painter picks up a brush and starts putting strokes on a canvas. David says, “After looking an area over for a little while a pattern just comes to mind or is visualized. Once I see the pattern in my mind..... I really just trace the image that I see there. Also, I can duplicate patterns and pictures from seeing other pictures.” The technique is as follows: First: Rub or dab beeswax onto the area to be drawn on. Second: Dust talc or baby powder on it so as to give a white area to draw in. Third: Draw in the powder. Fourth: Use hammer and chisel to work in the design. “I use many different types, sizes, and shapes of chisels. But about 90% of my work is done with the chisel that Weldon taught me to make, the same as Cole taught him to make. It is the key to this craft or way of engraving.”
Just as he was taught to do, David Wade Harris works in solitude using the same style tools that have been in use for over 300 years. He is an artist. His canvas is metal. With hand made tools instead of paints and brushes Mr. Harris transforms an ordinary luxury watch into a work of fine art. His work is sought after world wide.
Mr. Harris has engraved for Texas Rangers and law enforcement individuals as well as many wealthy and famous people from around the globe. David Wade Harris 320 CR 1405 Jacksonville, Texas 75766 817-219-0484 www.dwharris.net
Questions on Durability and proceedure: yes, it is engraved in a very deep relief engraving meaning the background has been removed to the depth of the cuts and then black epoxy resin is applied and baked into the background at a low constant temperature of 122 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature does not exceed the limits for Tag Heuer which is tested at 50ºC, according to Omega, their watches house mechanical movements that use oils that allow the watch to operate at temperatures between -20 and +70 C (-2 to +158 F). Baume & Mercier’s website warns “do not expose your watch to extreme temperatures (above 60ºC/140ºF, or below 0ºC/32ºF).” Of course, Rolex went to the extreme and boiled their watch in water for ten minutes to prove the watch virtually indestructible. Higher temperatures will not harm the watch and the temperatures mentioned above are the range that the watch is expected not to vary in timekeeping.
This all said so an understanding may be had concerning the fact that I do not remove the movement of the watches that I sell during the engraving process so as not to void the factory warranty. For the watches that are sent for custom work I may ask you to have your in-house movement removed before sending it for engraving so I will not be held liable for any problems there.
This process makes the background coloring extremely durable. The resin is the same material Jewelers make imitation stones of. Therefore it will not wear off onto your clothes or come out without maybe trying to gouge it out and yes I can give you a guarantee for the Engraving for a couple of years. If the Black begins to come out just send it back and I will replace the resin, (might I say, this hasn't been a problem).