A fully iced-out watch is probably one of the most beautiful things to look at in a luxury watch collection. It does not matter what brand it is from, Rolex, Cartier, Patek Phillipe, or even something second tier. Once you perform a complete ice treatment on it, the entire thing looks like a piece of jewelry instead of a functional tool. However, a question that pops into mind when you see one is whether the icing was done by the company or the individual owning the watch.
Well, the answer to that question, more often than you might think, is customized work. When it is customized after purchase, it becomes what we call a bust-down watch – a process that involved covering the entire watch with diamonds, ultimately making it shine like a diamond. Put that thing directly under the sun, and you will easily blind yourself and the people around you. The term found its own slang in the hip-hop culture, and you hear it being called “buss down.”
Understanding Bust Down
Bussdown is the slang term for “busted down,” which involves taking a watch apart completely until you separate all the frame from the mechanical parts. Once the separation is done, a highly experienced craftsman starts putting diamonds on all the parts of the frame that will be on the outside. This process is time-consuming, meticulous, and incredibly delicate as well. Once the entire watch is completely covered, it is put back together, and then you start to understand why it also has alternative names like “iced watches” and “flooded watches.”
One thing to keep in mind here is that this process only applies to original watches from proper brands. You can also find fake versions of this, but you can easily ignore those as they do not count among properly iced watches.
How are Diamonds Inserted?
This is probably the most intriguing part of the process, as you are almost embedding diamonds into something that has barely any space at all. However, there is actual physical alteration needed for the body. The jeweler working on the watch makes grooves for all the diamonds carefully with a drill. A lot of planning is needed to ensure that the holes being drilled are perfect for the watch and align all the diamonds properly upon installation. The diamonds also need to be measured as the grooves are all supposed to match the diamonds being installed.
In some cases, working on the bezel to create space for all the diamonds may not be possible. That requires something bigger, and the way they do it is by creating a completely new bezel for the watch. Doing all this is incredibly difficult, and only the most masterful diamond setters can do it properly without messing anything up.
Will the Watch Still Work the Same?
A big concern with taking the watch apart is losing its ability to work fine in some cases or losing the watch’s waterproofing. However, if you are getting it done from an expert who knows how to do a bust down properly, that can help you. Expert diamond setters can even bring back the seal to its original position and save your water resistance rating as well.
If you are new to the bust-down culture and want to feel the market, we strongly recommend going for a secondhand watch. It will give you an idea of how much you are willing to spend before you go ahead and commit a huge sum of money.