Hiren Kumar Bose on the art watches of GPHG 2019 which are vying for the ‘artistic craft’ award which will be announced in November
CHOPARD L.U.C XP Esprit De Fleurier Peony
The dial is a dazzling combination of crafts such as gold engraving, transfer printing and mother-of-pearl cutting; while its movement – the L.U.C Calibre 96.23-L designed and produced by Chopard Manufacture – is entirely decorated with floral engraving, a now rare art that is perfectly mastered by Chopard artisans. On its purple dial of the eight-piece limited series 35mm pink gold watch eight peonies in pink monochrome shades reveal their fragile beauty. Featuring generous petals highlighted with white mother-of-pearl, they are like a silent burst of magnificence. A camaieu painting of pink hues, ranging from the palest to the darkest and even verging on purple, contrasts with the tender green of the leaves. The customary shading is replaced by light since to render the depth of the petals, Chopard’s Mains d’art (artistic hands), did not shade the flowers, but instead highlighted their details thanks to skillfully hand-cut white mother-of-pearl appliqués. The movement side reveals the L.U.C Calibre 96.-23-L, entirely hand-engraved using the delicate art of Fleurisanne engraving. This decorative technique enjoyed its heyday in the 19th century when artisans expressed their dedication to perfection by engraving movements with dainty scrolling patterns and floral motifs. The Maison Chopard consequently decided to restore the noble reputation of this patient and accurate art form.
HERMÈS Arceau Baobab Cat
The 34mm self-winding mechanical watch gives the impression that a mischievous leopard has slipped into the heart of a baobab flower. The watch is graced with a dreamy motif initially inspired by a silk scarf. This feline and its surroundings spring to life through meticulous mother-of-pearl painting and engraving craftsmanship lavished on a 12-piece limited edition. Arceau tells the story of this majestic feline that embodied a noble status, while the baobab represented power and grace. The flowers of this colossal tree open only at dusk when the leopard ventures out in search of its prey. The play on composition blends animal and plant life into a single being, haloed by a crown of white-speckled feathers. The artisan takes over two hours to bring this scene to life. The overall tone is in harmony with the white gold case, whose round shape, framed by stirrup-shaped lugs, houses a Manufacture Hermès movement. Paired with a smooth sapphire blue alligator strap, its classic design created 40 years ago by Henri d’Origny accentuates the innate elegance of this watch
ANDERSEN Genève Vita Vinum
With this 42.5 mm white and red gold 12-piece watch, called “Vita Vinum” (Life, Wine in Latin), the Manufacture pays tribute to wine, honouring the various stages involved in the wine-making process. Wine is significant in a gentleman’s life but more importantly, the watch celebrates and draws attention to wine growers and wine lovers from the past, present and future. One rotating disc turning one time in 365 days displays the twelve scenes of the wine grower’s work which is to be done over the year (over 12 months). The front of the watch reveals an exclusive dial made from 21-ct blue gold with “tapisserie” hand guilloché pattern; blue gold being a signature at ANDERSEN Genève that requires the help of a jeweller to obtain those iconic gold colours. The “tapisserie” pattern is the achievement of another man, a man with a passion for guilloché. A highly experienced miniature painter works on the 12 months rotating disc for months to reveal the smallest details on the 12 scenes—made with brushes that have three, two or even only one hair! The watch offers a large space for special hand-engraved scenes or landscapes; wine yards from different regions in the world are a much-appreciated theme.
BEREVE Timepieces Numbers – Enamel Grand Feu
It has taken a whole year and a half of research and fine-tuning to define, on a 37 mm diameter dial, the complex work of art known as “Numbers”, by master Ugo Nespolo, through the rare art of Enamel Grand Feu – Champlevé. It starts with a plate of pure gold (24-ct), on which a Master goldsmith engraver recreates manually, through the use of a burin, the complex web of the work “Numbers”, which consists of 132 cells. Subsequently, the Master Enamellers apply, in thin layers, the “twenty colours” that create this magnificent work of art. This very delicate phase takes shape through a succession of about 14-18 firings at temperatures between 780-900 degrees Celsius. It’s available in a 100-piece limited series.
JACOB&CO Astronomia Dragon
Hailed as a watchmaking tour de force, the iconic Astronomia has been transformed into a gallery to present piece unique sculptures. Wrapping around the four arms of the incredible Astronomia movement is a fierce hand-sculpted 18-ct rose gold Dragon with ruby red eyes. The creation of this incredible sculpture is done by one artist over three months and each piece is unique. Done entirely by hand, the 18-ct white gold Dragon is so life-like, it appears to be guarding the sophisticated double-axis tourbillon movement of the Astronomia. This double axis tourbillion 50mm white gold watch is limited to one piece.