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July 15th, 2019

How Watermark Creates an Antique Finish

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All designers want results that stand out, but with a look that will stand the test of time.

For several decades now, antique plumbing finishes have held their own in the ever-changing industry of bathroom and kitchen design. Despite evolving trends, an antique finish is still one of the most popular design finishes used in projects today.

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There are lots of options for designers to incorporate an antique look into their projects. However, when it comes to customizable and unique designs, the options available become much more limited.

Avi Abel, President of Watermark Designs, explains how professionals can design with an antique finish that truly enhances any bathroom or kitchen space, thanks to the antique finishes available from Watermark.

Ensuring Your Work Stands Out From the Rest

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Designers know that it can take years of experience to get project results that create a real impact in a space.

Watermark has helped professionals everywhere prove that working with solid, dependable materials will result in success. In order to deliver its signature antique finish to customers, Abel explains that they always work with brass.

Brass is a dependable and highly versatile material, so Watermark has always offered (and created new) antique finishes for their customers using this material. But they’ve also added an additional, less common, option as well:

“We’ve been offering antique finishes since the very beginning, over 40 years ago. In 2014, we introduced aged brass: It’s a living brass finish that looks worn-in like it was crafted and installed decades ago. Then in 2017, we introduced aged nickel. It has a tarnished silver finish, but without the black spots, layered on top of the brass base.”

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There are a few other plumbing brands that sell products with antique finishes — traditional looks will likely always have their place in interior design. But not all finishes are created equal!

Complete Your Look With True Craftsmanship

Some plumbing brands use automation or robots to keep up with the demand for antique looks.

But to create an antique look that’s completely unique (and doesn’t look mass-produced), designers should work with plumbing material manufacturers who focus on quality and craftsmanship in their process, such as Watermark.

“That’s why we’ll only work with brass as our substrate,” explains Abel. “It’s ideal for electroplating, since it’s a metal alloy composition of copper.” Electroplating applies an electric current to the metal finish so that it forms a thin coating on the outside of the material. The plating baths that Watermark uses in this process are proprietary, so that Watermark has control over every detail that a client wants for their look.

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To meet the demand for these premium-quality, customized designs, Watermark hires only skilled and experienced artisans to finish their products. Yes, entirely by hand.

“No robots, no automation,” explains Abel. Precision and skill are required to achieve the kind of designs that Watermark’s professional customers want. And to meet those aesthetic standards, a mass-produced plumbing fixture just doesn’t work.

So how does Watermark achieve this kind of high-quality finish? President Abel explains some of the different methods that these craftsmen use to create their signature designs.

“There are different types of polishing techniques: polishing, satining, aging, sandblasting, grinding and relieving,” says Abel.

There are also a few other factors that contribute to this aged and antique look.

“Time in the tank, temperature, amperage and voltage are all variables that contribute to the finish,” explains Abel. “There are also different ways to dry the components after plating that affect the finish.”

The details really do matter!

Finishing Your Design With the Right Detail

From the different types of lacquers used to the amount of curing time to the temperature of the oven: All of these factors can alter the appearance of your plumbing design materials.

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It’s this attention to detail and commitment to quality that makes Watermark Design products so dependable and what makes their antique finishes so unique. Each plumbing component for every Watermark product goes through a finishing process that can take anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours.

The entire manufacturing process used by Watermark has resulted in premium designs for their clients for decades now. And Watermark continues to develop new ways to delight and impress their customers.

“Liquid metals is a new technique we use for our Oil Slick and Ox Blood Elements covers,” Abel says, “and that entire process can take us over 3 days.”

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Watermark is also launching an aged brass-matte finish for its product line. “It has the same appearance as our popular aged brass finish, except that it’s not a living finish.”

Whatever finish your design demands, Watermark offers an artisan-crafted solution So when your design calls for a traditional but beautifully bespoke style, an antique finish might be just the right fit.


Learn about more of Watermark Design’s plumbing and kitchen product solutions and finishes here. Or get inspired and check out the project gallery!