Bell & Ross sometimes enjoys abandoning its usual themes of aviation and the military. In 2009, the watchmaker became one of the first to create a skull watch. Since then, the BR 01 Skull family has grown to include ten members which are greatly sought after by collectors.
In 2020, the avant-garde Cyber Skull revisited this iconic series. Its faceted design represented a leap into the future. And it was a resounding success.
The latest Cyber Skull Sapphire is a completely translucent, full sapphire version. This technical material fires this icon of the watchmaking world into the realm of transparency and wealth.
In 2009, Bell & Ross became one of the first watchmakers to create a skull watch. The BR01 Skull includes a skull and crossbones in the company’s iconic “circle in a square” case. It was an immediate success.
Bell & Ross then launched other versions.
– In 2016, the Burning Skull introduced more volume to the skull surrounded by flames. This provided the whole with a 3D aspect.
– In 2018, the Laughing Skull incorporated an automaton movement. The jaw moves when winding the crown so that the skull seems to be laughing. Spooky!
– 2020 saw a major break! The new Cyber Skull inaugurated a spectacular black ceramic case with truncated corners and a “pixelated” skull. This avant-garde design fired this watch into the realm of ultra-modernity. It would go on to enjoy great success.
– In 2021, the Cyber Skull Sapphire Only Watch 21 adorned the case with sapphire crystal. With its orange-coloured skull, this unique model was sold at the Only Watch charity auction. The hammer finally fell at a price of 220,000 euros, twice its top estimated value. A genuine success!
– The latest Cyber Skull Sapphire is the “general public” version of this exceptional watch. It reproduces the full sapphire case. However, the faceted skull is transparent on this version. It is a limited version of 10 items. Already a sure value for collectors.
The design of this new Cyber Skull Sapphire breaks with the other skull watches in the neo-vintage style. The sharp edges of the case play with the light, with the multiple facets multiplying the perspectives and reflections.
It draws on several sources of inspiration:
– Avant-garde: it pays homage to the ultra-modern world of informatics and virtual technology. The faceted, pixelated design is a tip of the hat to the digital arts.
– Origami: its angular design is reminiscent of the ancestral
Japanese art of paper folding, transposed into the future.
– Military: the case is shaped like the fuselage of an American F117 stealth bomber. This faceted design allows it to vanish from radar screens. All eyes, however, are on the Cyber Skull Sapphire.
THE TRANSPARENCY OF SAPPHIRE
The BR 01 Cyber Skull Sapphire is a UFO of the watchmaking world. The base is a Cyber Skull, which has nevertheless been developed entirely in colourless sapphire crystal. It plays the transparency card to the full, including in the translucent rubber strap.
The skull and crossbones are captured between two sapphire crystals, so that they appear to be floating in the air.
Initially, the sapphire is a precious block of very hard glass. A material that is very difficult to shape. The slightest error means starting all over again.
The BR 01 Cyber Skull Sapphire combines design and watchmaking excellence. This high-end watch boasts a BR-CAL.209 automaton movement. Specifically developed for the watch, this manual-wind skeleton calibre is almost invisible. It takes the form of the skull. The skeleton form reveals some of the interesting technical parts, including the cogs, balance and more.
The plate and bridges follow the outline of the skull before extending below the crossbones. The spring balance placed at “twelve o’clock” symbolises the brain in this skull which is very much alive.
In 1996, Michel Parmigiani’s watchmaking activities gave rise to a new brand, a new credo and new aesthetics. Parmigiani Fleurier was born out of his passion for watchmaking, classical culture, the observation of nature and his experience in restoring the world’s most sophisticated timepieces and automata. 25 years later, Parmigiani Fleurier turns a new leaf. A new contemporary timepiece collection, the Tonda PF, renews its enduring devotion to bringing sense and beauty into the world through watches.
The year is 1996 and mechanical watchmaking is in limbo. Here and there, a few remaining brands and a handful of trailblazers are keeping alive the art of crafting complicated timepieces. Michel Parmigiani, based out of Fleurier in the Swiss Jura mountains, has already been at it for twenty years. Instead of choosing architecture as a career path, he had counter-intuitively elected to become a watchmaker at a time when that art was already starting to dwindle. Such was his will to preserve the wide-ranging craft, its techniques and the timepieces that stemmed from it, which he so revered.
At the head of a highly advanced restoration workshop, he handles the finest clocks, pocket watches and mechanical objects there are, ranging from the Renaissance to the 1930’s. He is also a bespoke, high-end manufacturer working for prestigious brands.
Building up on that rare and thorough expertise, he and his main customer, the Sandoz family, owner of a peerless timepiece collection, decide to take this knowledge and put it to new use. Thus is born Parmigiani Fleurier.
Based on a contemporary and understated approach to high-end watchmaking, Parmigiani Fleurier strikes the right balance between appeal and poise, abundant details and streamlined design. Rooted in a wealth of experience and expertise, the Toric, Kalpa and Tonda collections are made for connoisseurs who understand that showing is not being. The art of enjoying a rare, low-key and sophisticated timepiece is a particular brand of self-confident hedonism.
Parmigiani Fleurier constantly demonstrates that it is wiser beyond its years, young enough to keep creating a continuous stream of groundbreaking designs, movements and concepts. Mastery and excellence in craft are the keys to its lasting relevance, both in the modern and classical genres.
On May 29th, 1996, in the Beau-Rivage Palace in Lausanne, the watchmaking founding acts of the Parmigiani Fleurier brand took place. A total of 52 timepieces were introduced, ranging from simple to the highly complicated and including the visionary Toric Perpetual Calendar Retrograde. The bar was set, high, and for 25 years, Parmigiani Fleurier has created several timepiece collections, ranging from sport-chic to classical, from slim to highly complicated while staying true to its original ethos: imperceptible refinement, entire dedication to exclusivity, modern permanence.
Over the course of 25 years, Parmigiani Fleurier has created over thirty in-house movements. Some of them extremely elaborate and groundbreaking, like the 5 Hz, integrated split seconds, solid-gold, skeletonized, Caliber PF361 fitted in the Tonda Chronor Anniversaire. Some of them slim and streamlined, such as the 2.6 mm thick PF700. Some of them unconventional and ahead of their time, such as the first caliber developed under the Parmigiani Fleurier brand, the eight-day, twin-barrel, tonneau-shaped PF110. And as time has passed, proficiency in calendars has become the signature of the Parmigiani Fleurier workshops.
Parmigiani Fleurier’s set of watchmaking skills extends to the chronograph, to the split seconds chronograph, and to tourbillons. High frequency, high power reserves, high complications, minimal case heights, minimal aesthetics, Parmigiani Fleurier runs a wide gamut with a single thread: rarity and excellence. And to fittingly celebrate its 25th Anniversary, Parmigiani Fleurier launches a new elegant and contemporary collection designed for purists, the Tonda PF.
A Purist’s Delight for Those in the Know
With a judicious sense of detail, pattern, shape and curve, the Tonda PF is Parmigiani Fleurier’s latest and most forward-looking collection. Aimed at the most enlightened part of the watch-loving community, it showcases the brand’s excellence and focuses on contemporary design. These new timepieces take attention to craft, complication and streamlined aesthetics to a new high. Everywhere the eye lands on a Tonda PF, there’s a particular texture, form, detail to be seen and enjoyed.
This is not ornament, ostentation or opulence. This is a mature, sartorial approach to watchmaking. Seven integrated bracelet models make up the collection, including a slim two-hander with date, a 5 Hz integrated chronograph, an annual calendar with retrograde date, and culminating in a 25-piece limited edition integrated split seconds chronograph whose case, bracelet and dial are made of platinum.
Past and Future
As many of Parmigiani Fleurier’s creations, the Tonda PF’s design is driven by the Fibonacci sequence. This mathematical formula, associated with the golden ratio, has been at the root of virtually everything Michel Parmigiani has ever created. It’s the guideline of the size of hands and counters, the curvature of lugs, the guilloché patterns, case proportions and countless design details that suffuse the Parmigiani Fleurier aesthetics.
This attachment to the classical canons of aesthetics is prolonged by today’s streamlined luxury, discretely hedonistic approach that gave rise to the Tonda PF. The collection is the brainchild of Parmigiani Fleurier’s new CEO, Guido Terreni.
“In the last 25 years, Parmigiani Fleurier has been able to create mechanical art at the highest level, thanks to the unique mastery of Michel Parmigiani. We intend to transmit this powerful heritage to the watchmaking purists of tomorrow. An uncompromising crowd of a select few, seeking personal hedonistic pleasure, who are savvy in watchmaking, appreciate sartorial craft on their timepieces, and have a strong sense of style and refinement,” says Mr. Terreni.
Where Michel Parmigiani brings heritage, skill and knowledge, Guido Terreni brings sartorial allure, and a sense of contemporary luxury in tune with the times we live in. Using 25 years of rich history is the root of Parmigiani Fleurier’s next 25.
To support Inspiration4, the world’s first all-civilian mission to orbit, IWC Schaffhausen has designed and donated a series of unique, space-themed Pilot’s Watch Chronographs representing the mission’s values of Leadership, Hope, Generosity and Prosperity. The watches will be worn by the four crew members on their journey into space, before being auctioned as part of the mission’s aim to raise funds for and promote the life-saving work of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital®.
The Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition “Inspiration4” features a case made of stunning white ceramic. The unique color results from a complex manufacturing process in which zirconium oxide is mixed with other metallic oxides in a precisely defined ratio. With a Vickers rating second only to that of diamond, engineering ceramic ranks among the hardest substances on the planet. The dark blue lacquered dial has been pad- printed with countless stars and captures the depth and darkness of space. It also features the Inspiration4 logo. Inside beats the IWC-manufactured 69380 caliber chronograph movement. On each of the four watches, the titanium case back has been engraved with the name and mission value represented by the respective crew member. The chronographs are fitted with an eye- catching white rubber strap with a leather inlay.
Named Inspiration4 in recognition of the diverse, four-person crew’s mission to support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and send a humanitarian message of possibility, the multi-day journey to low-Earth orbit represents a new era for human spaceflight and exploration. The mission is the brainchild of Jared Isaacman, a 38-year-old entrepreneur and accomplished pilot who will also serve as Commander. The mission is set to launch in September from historical Launch Complex 39Aat NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The spacecraft will orbit the planet at an altitude of approximately 357 miles (575 kilometres) and a speed of more than 17,500 miles per hour (27,360 kph). After the multi-day journey, the crew will re-enter Earth’s atmosphere for a soft water landing off the coast of Florida.
“From our founder Florentine Ariosto Jones, who journeyed from America to Switzerland to revolutionize watchmaking, to our endless appetite for innovation, IWC is a company of pioneers. We are incredibly proud to partner with the Inspiration4 mission, which shares so many of our values, to make history together and raise funds for such a good cause,” explains Christoph Grainger-Herr, CEO of IWC Schaffhausen.
“Inspiration4 is the realization of a lifelong dream and on behalf of the crew, I want to thank IWC Schaffhausen for joining us aboard and supporting our mission to raise funds for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital,” said Isaacman.
A CREW REPRESENTING FOUR MISSION VALUES
At the heart of Inspiration4 is a unique and varied crew. Isaacman occupies the Leadership mission seat and serves as Commander. He is the founder and CEO of Shift4 Payments and an accomplished commercial and military pilot who holds several aviation world records. The mission seat representing Hope was awarded to Hayley Arceneaux, a 29-year-old physician assistant at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and a pediatric cancer survivor. Dr Sian Proctor, a 51-year-old entrepreneur and trained pilot, earned the mission seat representing Prosperity as the winning entrant in a business competition. Finally, the Generosity mission seat will be occupied by Christopher Sembroski. The 41-year- old aerospace industry employee and United States Air Force veteran contributed to a fundraising campaign that offered an Inspiration4 seat to one lucky donor.
The crew is currently undergoing commercial astronaut training at SpaceX, focusing on orbital mechanics, operating in microgravity, zero gravity, and other forms of stress testing. In addition, they will receive emergency preparedness training, complete spacecraft ingress and egress exercises and take part in partial and full-mission simulations.
To learn more about Inspiration4 and how to support and follow this historic journey to space, visit http://www.Inspiration4.com and follow the mission on social media on Twitter (@inspiration4x), Facebook (@inspiration4mission), Instagram (@inspiration4) and YouTube (@Inspiration4) to receive the latest news on mission training, preparation and timing.
The iconic American 1921 watch faithfully recreated as if in 1921
To mark the 100th anniversary of the American 1921 watch, Vacheron Constantin has delved into its archives and its horological expertise to offer a faithful reproduction of the timepiece emblematic of an era. Stemming from an impressive technical and human epic saga pushing the limits of fine craftsmanship excellence, the creation of the American 1921 Pièce unique watch mobilised the remarkable expertises of the Maison’s Restoration workshop and the Heritage department for an entire year. This approach might be a first in the watch industry, reflecting Vacheron Constantin’s commitment to the conservation, transmission and continuous enrichment of its heritage and of traditional skills.
Only 24 pieces of the reference dated 1921 were originally manufactured. Today only one of them is part of Vacheron Constantin’s private collection, making it an extremely rare and sought-after timepiece for collectors and watch connoisseurs. Some watches tell stories, inviting us to travel back in time, to retrace origins and immerse oneself in bygone eras. Faithfully recreated as if in 1921, the American 1921 Pièce unique watch presented this year is a case in point, offering a journey into the creativity of the Roaring Twenties and reviving the beauty of artisanal skills as practiced a century ago. More than a jubilee watch, it is the fruit of a fascinating odyssey into the heart of the artisanal know-how cultivated by Vacheron Constantin for over 265 years.
Heritage and Restoration departments’ commitment to perpetuate the art of high watchmaking
When the idea of faithfully recreating an American 1921 model from the Vacheron Constantin private collection first took shape, the project looked set to be both exciting and ambitious.
A bridge between the past and future of the Maison, the Vacheron Constantin Heritage department has a place of its own within the Manufacture. Spanning an exceptional timeline that began in 1755, and overseeing a unique collection, it is anything but a dusty museum. The research and expertise of the teams working there on a daily basis are an inexhaustible source of inspiration for the creation of new collections and a masterful reference for the Restoration workshop. The department preserves 800 machine tools, workbenches and sets of watchmaking tools, along with substantial documentary and iconographic archives. No less than 420 linear metres are taken up by an infinite wealth of production and accounting registers comprising foreign sales, correspondence between associates, suppliers and clients, various documents and photographs. All contribute to shedding both historical and artistic light on Vacheron Constantin’s activity through the years and centuries. They represent a sum of written instruments serving to ensure the traceability of a creation since its origins, given that all the models produced are systematically referenced in the production registers. This unprecedent heritage helped retrace the history of the creation of the American 1921 and provided a solid basis for the Restoration workshop teams. The latter thus took up the authentic challenge of reviving some forgotten skills and combining today’s techniques with yesterday’s know-how.
Few Manufactures are able to restore all the watches that have come out of their workshops for centuries. That is why Vacheron Constantin makes it a point of honor to pass on this watchmaking know-how and to ensure that the great history of each of its timepieces continues. The skill and style of the Restoration artisans thus consists in showing respect for ethical considerations in their work. To achieve this, they can draw upon a substantial stock of components, adjust component blanks or entirely remake them – the latter being the most delicate task of all and calling for particularly complex size calculations. Experts in the art of maintaining Vacheron Constantin’s oldest timepieces without altering their nature, the Restoration workshop’s seasoned watchmakers are thus accustomed to combining a historian’s perspective with scientific analysis, but until now they had never undertaken to reproduce an antique watch in its entirety. This unprecedented work of reconstitution, respectful of ethics because it is faithful and precise down to the smallest detail, called upon the multiple competencies of these artisans, who pursued an empirical approach throughout this year-long project.
Several months of research in the Manufacture’s archives, weeks of reflection and observation, numerous experiments, as well as unsuccessful attempts and successful trials were necessary to produce such a work. The American 1921 Pièce unique will be in the spotlight throughout 2021 through prolonged exposure in Vacheron Constantin boutiques around the world.
Antique machines and tools
In order to reproduce the hand-crafted operations performed back in the day, artisans had to work with some historical tools from Vacheron Constantin’s Heritage. A late 19th century facing lathe enabled them to faithfully recreate the elements composing the case; a rounding-up (topping) tool from the latter half of the 19th century served to modify the profile of wheel teeth and to adjust their diameter. Watchmakers used an 18th century upright drilling accessory to drill through the movement’s mainplate. To drive the jewels into their settings, they resorted to an early 20th century staking tool.
These vintage machines were complemented by tools specially made for this project, such as custom-made milling-cutters and riveting tools in line with those of the early 20th century, enabling the artisans to work in a manner attuned to that period and closely reproducing the operations and development techniques of the time. The result of this remarkable stylistic exercise is an exceptional collector’s item symbolising Vacheron Constantin’s unwavering commitment to the transmission, enhancement and continuous enrichment of its production skills.
Rebirth of a vintage movement
While the watchmakers in Vacheron Constantin’s Restoration workshop fully master the art of bringing back to life the most exceptional timepieces produced by the Manufacture in the course of its long history, never before had they been called upon to rebuild a vintage calibre from scratch.
They began by disassembling and examining every single component of the original 11-ligne Calibre Nouveau powering the original model. Apart from the bridges and mainplate which had to be recreated, the Restoration workshop’s stocks proved to be a goldmine for the artisans who thereby had access to all the necessary blank parts. This involved extremely laborious research, since a vintage case could contain an infinite number of components, all different in terms of size and shape. In order to identify them one by one, the first stage consisted in taking the measurements and dimensions of each of the 115 components of the original movement. This meticulous work of observation and comparison subsequently led watchmakers to make plans and mock-ups of the calibre, a particularly delicate task requiring extremely complex sizing calculations.
At this stage, the archive documents safeguarded by the Heritage department proved extremely valuable, notably in recreating the bridges and the mainplate according to the specificities of this vintage movement. How could each component be adjusted and calibrated prior to assembly? How should the vintage machines be regulated? How could the jewels be set on the movement, whereas they are now generally driven in? How could the exact colour of the gilding on the wheels be achieved? At what distance and at which height should they be placed in order to be faithful to the original calibre? These were all issues that the watchmakers had to resolve by assembling the components one by one, as any potential error could jeopardise the entire project.
Setting the jewels on the movement was also a real tour de force. Since the 1940s, it has been customary to drive in the jewels, and while the watchmakers in Vacheron Constantin’s Restoration workshop are accustomed to replacing damaged jewels on very old timepieces, until now they had never had the opportunity to make the settings themselves. Successfully hollowing out the metal to the exact depth required to fit the stones to the nearest hundredth required multiple trials. Not to mention the patient research work required to develop the system for reproducing the unique ribbed pattern which, alongside various manual engravings, adorns the movement in the same way as was done at the time.
A dial and case distinguished by sophisticated craftsmanship
Accurately reproducing the exterior of the American 1921 also represented a real feat of manual workmanship. Here again, Vacheron Constantin’s watchmakers had to provide answers to numerous technical questions by observing the 1921 timepiece in minute detail, while comparing it with archive documents, and then individually crafting each element of the case and dial.
Some period components were available in the stocks of the Restoration workshop, such as rough blanks of the crown and hands. Others had to be entirely recreated, starting with the 31.5 mm case, according to the dimensions of the original American 1921. It was crafted by a Restoration workshop goldsmith from the specific gold alloy used for the historical model (18K 3N yellow gold), identified with the help of a spectrometer in order to reproduce its exact colour. Only a laser engraving applied to the case back, for customs purposes, distinguishes the American 1921 Pièce unique watch from its ancestor.
The creation of the dial also called for highly specialised expertise on the part of the artisan responsible for restoring the grain and unique beauty of the original dial. Crafted in Grand Feu enamel, an ancestral technique considered to be one of the most delicate in the field of watchmaking ornamentation, it required numerous firings in the kiln at a temperature of over 800°C. It features vintage numerals and logo, along with slender open-tipped hands that have been hand-blued by the Restoration workshop using the production techniques of the time.
And since no detail is left to chance, the exercise in style has continued right the way through to the end of the strap, whose pin buckle in 18K 3N yellow gold (the same alloy as the original model) was also produced in the Vacheron Constantin workshop.
A tribute to the art of wearing a watch in 1921
Because it retains all the original properties of the original American 1921, this unique, identically recreated timepiece reflects a historian’s approach.
It subtly mirrors the social and cultural context of the 1920s, the effervescence and the wind of freedom blowing across the United States and Europe at the dawn of the Roaring Twenties. Its distinctive design illustrates the stylistic creativity of Vacheron Constantin which revelled in expressing its “classic with a twist” style through multiple case shapes.
It also tells the story of the early days when the wristwatch began to become more widespread. At that time, men’s wristwatches were only just beginning to take precedence over pocket watches, until then regarded as more robust and accurate. Despite the considerable progress made by watch manufacturers in terms of movements’ resistance, reliability and miniaturisation, water-resistance requirements as we understand them today were not yet a reality. Choosing to wear time on the wrist thus meant exposing the watch to more risks in terms of shocks and external aggressions such as dust, humidity or water. In order to avoid any possible damage, watch owners took numerous precautions, notably including placing their wristwatch on the edge of the washbasin when they washed their hands. The watch was regarded as a life companion that was taken care of and had to be wound every day by hand.
Enriched by a heritage based on the transmission of watchmaking expertise and stylistic research through generations of master artisans, Vacheron Constantin continues to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the American 1921 by recreating this emblematic model from scratch. From the 11-ligne Calibre Nouveau to the gold case along with the decorations and exterior components, the American 1921 Pièce unique watch reproduces the original properties of its ancestor created a century ago. This highly complex and unprecedented process involved the most experienced watchmakers in the Restoration workshop and the Vacheron Constantin Heritage team, who spent a year reviving old tools and forgotten know-how in the course of a passionately exciting human and technical adventure. The result is an exceptional one-of-a-kind timepiece, a symbol of the Maison’s attachment to its heritage and to the continuous enrichment of traditional know-how.
Breitling’s latest seasonal creation for women is a fresh reincarnation of a classic. What started as a 1950s divers’ watch has evolved into a fashionable timepiece for women ready to jump into summer!
The Superocean Heritage ’57 Pastel Paradise Capsule Collection is all about color, proportion, and of course substance. Its 38-mm stainless-steel case features a rotating bezel and bold indices. It’s the very essence of summer style.
“This modern-retro tribute to the original SuperOcean is an exciting addition to the Breitling family of ladies’ watches. Of course it’ll look great at work, but its fun-in-the-sun vibe might make you want to spend a weekend at the beach,” says Breitling CEO Georges Kern, noting how the highly-coveted original was a nod to the rising popularity of seaside leisure in the 1950s and 1960s. That laid-back vibe is reflected in the sunny dials of today’s Pastel Paradise – enjoying the moment with your hair blowing in the breeze.
The palette for this seasonal women’s Capsule Collection is summer white, aquamarine, mint green, and iced latte – all with tone-on-tone dials, bezels, and straps. But the real show-stopper is the rainbow tangerine version. With hour markers and hands coated in Super-LumiNova®, it sings in hues of yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet, red, and orange. If you want a custom color combination, you’ll love the quick-exchange system for swapping out the luxe Saffiano calfskin leather straps, which also come in lemon and raspberry sorbet.
At the heart of each watch beats the COSC-certified Breitling Caliber 10 with a power reserve of about 42 hours. And even if these timepieces seem too elegant for exploring a coral reef, it’s good to know that they’re water resistant up to 100 meters.
One look at this collection and you might be thinking: “It’s always summer somewhere.” But even the best summers have to end sometime. The Superocean Heritage ’57 Pastel Paradise Capsule Collection will be produced for a limited time during this summer season only. Just something to keep in mind whether you prefer sunrise yoga on the beach or socializing over sundowners.
The colorful Superocean Heritage ’57 Pastel Paradise Capsule Collection is also a perfect fit for a mood board challenge with Breitling’s partner DREST, the world’s first interactive luxury fashion mobile game. This highly immersive game puts players in the role of fashion stylists choosing clothing and accessories from over 200 leading global fashion brands.
The third Breitling–DREST mood board challenge goes live on Monday, June 28, 2021, at 1:00 p.m. GMT, and will run for three days (72 hours). Join the challenge here.
As with all the other fashion items featured in DREST, there is the option for users to seamlessly shop the Breitling pieces they have played and competed with in the game – creating a fun and interactive modern-day shopping experience.
Hope Probe Tourbillon is a new one-of-a-kind creation dedicated to the extraordinary UAE space mission. Based on a technology exclusive to Louis Moinet, this satellite tourbillon timepiece contains an authentic meteorite fragment from the Moon and genuine Martian meteorite dust.
“The UAE mission, dubbed the Hope probe, entered Mars’ orbit following a journey of more than 300 million miles offering an unprecedented and unique instrumental synergy, by exploring Mars’ different atmospheric layers, revealing new and global perspective of its atmospheric behavior and connections,” said Jean-Marie Schaller, CEO and Creative Director of Les Ateliers Louis Moinet. “The UAE and the world rejoiced with pride and this unique timepiece is our way to honor the Mars mission – a remarkable feat of human ingenuity utilizing science and technology,” he added
The satellite tourbillon beautifully depicts on a blue dial, the map of the Northern hemisphere constellations and is crafted using a special miniature painting with mother-of-pearl technique. The green tourbillon carriage, measuring an exceptional 13.59 mm in diameter, is balanced by means of a Mars planet rotating around it and encrusted with genuine Mars meteorite dust. A hand-painted depiction of the Hope Probe appears on the black aventurine front plate, inlaid with a genuine lunar meteorite fragment – as too is the black rear plate featuring a hand-painted UAE astronaut.
The UAE’s Hope Probe is the first Arab space mission. Known as Al-Amal in Arabic, it will orbit the red planet for at least one Martian year (687 days). It is the first probe to provide a complete picture of the Martian atmosphere while evaluating its seasonal and daily changes. The Hope Probe is an important gift dedicated to the people of the UAE on the 50th anniversary of the nation and a source of inspiration for Arab youth.
Jean-Marie Schaller created Les Ateliers Louis Moinet in St-Blaise (NE) in 2004. The fully independent firm was established to honor the memory of Louis Moinet (1768-1853): master watchmaker, inventor of the chronograph in 1816 (certified by Guinness World Records), and pioneer in the use of very high frequencies (216,000 vibrations per hour). Louis Moinet was a watchmaker, scholar, painter, sculptor, and teacher at the School of Fine Arts – as well as the author of the Traite d’Horlogerie, a watchmaking treatise published in 1848 that remained a definitive work of reference for a century.
Today, Ateliers Louis Moinet is perpetuating this legacy. The firm’s mechanical timepieces are produced as one-of-a-kind models or limited editions only and comprise two categories: “Cosmic Art” and “Mechanical Wonders”. Louis Moinet creations often make use of unusual and rare components, such as extraterrestrial meteorites or prehistorical materials.
At its historic he adquarters on Rue du Rhône , from June 16 to 26, 2021, the manufacture is showcasing an e xtensive se lection of ov er 75 pocket watches, wristwatches, dome clocks, and table clocks from its late st rare handcrafts collection. It is a rich range of one-of-a-kind and limite d-edition pie ces that pay tribute to challenging manifestations of craftsmanship such as manual e ngraving, grand fe u cloisonné e namel, miniature painting on e name l, guilloching, ge mse tting, and wood micromarquetry. On this occasion, Patek Philippe is also pre senting six ne w watches from the current collection that are endowed with especially elaborate decorations.
Since the early days of mechanical watchmaking, artisans have always invested considerable care in decorating their clocks and watches. Timepieces were mainly beautiful, artistically finished treasures before they advanced to become reliable precision instruments. In Geneva, the individual decorative techniques found fertile ground in the famous “Fabrique” where all watchmaking-related occupations were assembled. Since 1839, as an heir of the grand Genevan tradition, Patek Philippe systematically commissioned the most talented artists to ennoble its creations. From 1970 to 1980, when the demand for such decoratively enhanced watches slumped and several ancestral techniques were on the brink of extinction, the manufacture mobilized its resources to preserve and breathe newlife into all of its precious know-how and in particular miniature painting on enamel.
To this very day, Patek Philippe is dedicated to safeguarding and handing down all these competencies, but also to further evolving them in close collaboration with the artists who set their sights on new horizons. Moreover, the manufacture supports the development of totally new techniques for decorating watches, one of which is wood micromarquetry. The significance of artisanal professions for Patek Philippe also comes to the fore in the generous amount of space reserved for craftsmanship in the new, impressive production building that was officially inaugurated in Plan-les-Ouates (Geneva) in the spring of 2020.
A broad 2020-2021 collection
Every year, to highlight the full beauty and radiance of these refined techniques, Patek Philippe presents a collection of one-of-a-kind and limited-edition pieces enhanced with the most exquisite artisanal skills. The 2020 selection proved to be particularly rich, comprising more than 70 pocket watches (with their matching stands), wristwatches (Calatrava, Golden Ellipse, minute repeaters for ladies, Ladies’ Nautilus) and dome table clocks with motifs taken from eclectic sources of inspiration such as nature, fine arts, and cultural traditions from five continents. Because it was not possible to present the 2020 collection last year, Patek Philippe carefully safeguarded it in anticipation of its display to the general public and to watch connoisseurs. The exhibit at the Patek Philippe Salons in Geneva is enriched with several 2021 creations that in particular salute the Genevan heritage. It offers a unique opportunity to admire this array of extraordinary works of art in its entirety before they are dispatched to private collections around the world. While exploring the exhibits, visitors can also observe the artisans at work as they demonstrate their virtuosity on site at the highest level of perfection.
An extensive palette of artistic skills
Manual engraving is the oldest decorative technique used to adorn timepieces. It ranks among the grand Genevan specialties (in the late 18th century, more than 200 engravers worked in Geneva). It also occupies a prominent position in Patek Philippe’s “Rare Handcrafts 2020-2021” collection. It graces the case backs of pocket watches or serves as a frame for motifs executed with other techniques. Additionally, it plays a role in damasce ning where gold thread inlays in contrasting colors are worked into the surface to be decorated.
Cloisonné e namel has also been an element of horological artistry for a long time. On many one-of-a- kind and limited-edition pieces, it evokes fascination with the unmatched saturation and lasting intensity of its colors. A good example is the “Jazz” dome table clock. Its decor relies on flat gold wire with an impressive length of 18.3 meters. The wire is manually cut into tiny individual pieces and shaped to the contour of the motif. 48 transparent enamel paints are then applied. Grand feu cloisonné enamel is often enriched with gold powder or tiny spangles (paillons) in gold or silver leaf that shimmer through the enamel (paillonné e name l).
Miniature painting on enamel has been a key Genevan specialty since the 17th century as evidenced by numerous historic pieces on display at the Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva; it has a strong presence at the exhibition. It is found especially on the case backs of pocket watches and the dials of wristwatches. The artists use tiny brushes to apply the motifs stroke by stroke.
Receptive to all unique traditions in craftsmanship, Patek Philippe is also showcasing three magnificent techniques of French origin in its dome table clocks: Limoge s e namel painting (consisting of several transparent enamel coats), fauré e namel (relief enamel) and Longwy e namel on faience (with black edges).
In guilloching, venerable hand-operated machines are used to cut delicate geometric patterns into metal workpieces. The interaction with reliefs and light in the traditional technique of flinqué enamel shimmers through a transparent enamel coating. In mixed-technique work, guilloching also repeatedly occurs with certain motifs in cloisonné enamel.
Wood micromarquetry is a highly elaborate skill that for several years now has been used by Patek Philippe to decorate the dials of wristwatches or the case backs of pocket watches. It attains new pinnacles of virtuosity in small images assembled with hundreds of tiny pieces of wood and intarsias crafted from a wide range of wood species with varying colors and graining.
Diamond ge msetting causes the bezels of wristwatches to sparkle and creates breathtaking decors on haute joaillerie watches.
Patek Philippe also demonstrates its creativity and artisanal competence with numerous so-called mixe d-technique pieces that combine different disciplines of craftsmanship. The “Panda” pocket watch is one of the most striking examples. It is a one-of-a-kind piece with a wood micromarquetry back, a dial in grand feu flinqué enamel, and a manual engraving on the case and the bezel.
Rare handcrafts in the current collection
The techniques of rare craftsmanship are not reserved only for one-of-a-kind pieces in limited editions. Patek Philippe also uses them to decorated certain timepiece models in the current collection, such as individual grand complications or watch design icons. On the occasion of the “Rare Handcrafts 2020-
2021” exhibition, the manufacture is presenting six new versions of familiar watch models that were turned into uniquely seductive pieces by gifted artists. The double-face Sky Moon Tourbillon wristwatch (12 complications) combines a manually engraved rose-gold case with a decor in brown grand feu champlevé enamel and a guilloched ornament (Ref. 6002R-001). The Ref. 5304 self-winding grand complication with a minute repeater and a retrograde perpetual calendar now comes in rose gold decorated with 80 baguette diamonds (Ref. 5304/301R-001). The Ref. 5374 grand complication with a minute repeater and a perpetual calendar is joined by a new white-gold version with a blue grand feu enamel dial (Ref. 5374G-001). The current Patek Philippe collection welcomes a new minute repeater for ladies with a dial in blue grand feu flinqué enamel and a bezel with a Flamme® diamond complement (Ref. 7040/250G-001), as well as a new Golden Ellipse Haut Artisanat in white gold with champlevé enamel and manual engraving (Ref. 5738/51). The manufacture also demonstrates its virtuosity in the master jeweler’s art with a new version of the Nautilus Haute Joaillerie in white gold with a random diamond pavé setting, also called snow setting (Ref. 7118/1450G-001).
Available in three distinctive versions, the Chronomat Automatic 36 South Sea Capsule Collection is the spirited sister of Breitling’s latest Chronomat for Women. This elegantly modern, retro- inspired watch is for ladies looking to stand out from the crowd. It symbolizes competence and effortless style with vibes of summer, marine life, and lush greenery.
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