Friday, May 15, 2015

Roland Iten R60 Diablo

Roland Iten, the pioneering inventor of mechanical luxury for gentlemen, and Claude Sfeir, world-renowned jewelry expert and watch collector, has introduced an extraordinary accessory for gentlemen at Christie’s Private Sales: the R60 Diablo, a mechanical belt buckle incorporating an exceptionally rare 60.66-carat fancy cognac-colored diamond. 

Extraordinary diamonds such as the 60.66-carat Diablo are usually reserved for women’s jewelry such as necklaces and tiaras. But these pieces are generally only worn on very special occasions such as gala events or coronations. Incorporating a large diamond into a men’s accessory in a masculine way that is still suitable for everyday wear was a formidable challenge. Now accomplished, the R60 Diablo could quite possibly change forever the notion of large gemstones being reserved exclusively for women.

The collaboration between Iten and Sfeir, several months in the making, incorporates a shared vision that is simple and clear: to place important stones into the everyday repertoire of high-end gentlemen’s accessories.
Claude Sfeir is a world-class expert in the art of collecting vintage jewels and watches. One of the finest connoisseurs of his generation, Sfeir is a self-taught passionate who was drawn into the world of gems and timepieces in the late 1970s in Beirut and Dubai. He acquired a reputation for “having an eye” and is now recognized by his peers as a knowledgeable expert. Sfeir’s network includes important international collectors seeking his expertise and collectibles, famous watchmakers of the twentieth and twenty-first century, and key actors in the world of horology. Sfeir was also a member of the prestigious jury of the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève, which is considered the “Oscars” of watchmaking and the watch industry’s most important annual event, in 2013 and 2014.

Roland Iten holds numerous patents for calibration buckle mechanisms. A well-respected pioneer in micro mechanics for gentlemen’s accessories, he has been commissioned by master watchmakers such as François-Paul Journe, Greubel Forsey, Jaeger-LeCoultre, and Vacheron Constantin to make watch buckles that follow the same concept of contemplated calibration as his famed belt buckle calibers. He implements his vision of “seriously playful” into every single product he designs – be it a unique piece or one of his limited series.
A portion of the sales of the R60 Diablo will be donated to a cause that is very important to Roland Iten: the Art Center College of Design Norman Shureman Memorial Scholarship Trust. Shureman is a professor at the Art Center College of Design where Roland received his degree in product design; he was also a mentor and personal friend to Iten. After his tragic death in 2010, the trust set up in Shureman’s name provides product design education to talented individuals who cannot afford private college tuition. 

The exceptional and unique 60.66-carat, fancy orange-brown (cognac), modified kite-shaped diamond set into the R60 can be traced back almost 160 years, but the diamond itself is millions of years older and was created by the same tectonic forces that are still pushing up the Himalayan mountain range today.
Large fancy (colored) diamonds are very rare. Even rarer is such a nearly flawless (type VS2) colored diamond of this size. Less than 2 percent of all diamonds earn a VS2 classification; these are chemically quite pure with exceptional optical transparency. It is its unique combination of color, clarity, and size that makes the Diablo such a sought-after and collectible gem. Discovered in India, the stone is from the Golconda region, origin of some of the world’s most famous diamonds. Other famed specimens from this region include the 545.65-carat Golden Jubilee, the 128.48-carat Star of the South, and, naturally, the 45.52-carat Hope Diamond. Due to its age and origin, the 60.66-carat Diablo is considered conflict-free.

Using the term Golconda can mean that the gemstone in question fulfills one or both of the following criteria. It either derives from the Golconda region of central India, which is located between the lower reaches of the Godavari, Wainganga, Wardha, and Krishna-Venva rivers in the present-day states of Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. Or it is a Type IIa variety of diamond, which boasts an exceptional degree of transparency that is nearly flawless.
Like all diamonds, the Golconda variety was created by the enormous forces generated by plate tectonics. In this case, it was the Tethys Oceanic Crust colliding with the Asian Continental plate in conjunction with  the high temperatures  to which the original carbon material was subjected to, far  below the surface of the earth,  over what certainly could be termed an eternity. The plates moved at a rate of only 10 centimeters per year over hundreds of millions of years. Indeed, this same force created the Himalayan mountain range and caused the volcanic activity needed to create the diamondiferous, extrusive igneous rock known as kimberlite (a volcanic rock named after the South African town Kimberly, where diamonds were also later discovered). Millions of years of erosion unearthed the diamonds, which were then washed downstream to the shallow riverbeds of the Golconda region.

The term "Golconda diamond" is today used as an indicator of very high-quality diamonds and/or to denote a stone originating in that region. To justify using the "Golconda" predicate, the diamond in question must have a level of transparency and quality found only in rare type IIa natural diamonds. A Golconda diamond is considered to be the very best of the best.
Roland Iten is best known for creating gentlemen’s mechanical accessories that perform functions fulfilling needs a gentleman might not even know he had. The mechanical belt mechanism of the R60 Diablo is a perfect example.

Manufactured one hundred percent in Switzerland on the same machinery used to manufacture components for the fine watchmaking industry, the R60 Diablo comprises precisely 109 components in 18-karat red gold and white gold with grade 5 titanium utilized for the chassis architecture.

Each component has been designed and assembled to rival even the finest watch movement. Its hand-crafted bridges, cogs, wheels, springs, and pinions interconnect to create a mechanism that allows the wearer to obtain an absolutely precise fit. Its 17-axel construction not only allows a calibrated adjustment to an exact waist measurement, but also affords an expansion range of 22 mm. It has been entirely handcrafted, polished, and assembled by master craftsmen in Geneva and meticulously supervised throughout the production process by Roland Iten himself.

When Roland Iten first saw the Diablo diamond, he was instantly captivated by its beauty and shape. Naturally, as with all his creations, he insisted the diamond have a functional role in the resulting piece so that it fulfills more than just an ornamental function. Also realizing that a diamond is an eternal object, he knew that the construction chosen to encase it must be as robust as the diamond itself.

Against his stringent personal criteria, the unique R60 Diablo mechanical belt buckle chassis was designed based on the rolling click calibration patent that Roland Iten invented in 2008. The key feature of this patent is a reverse engineered gearing mechanism that uses flow-guiding wheels in place of toothed cogs so that the calibrating gear system operates with almost no friction. This unique, minimal-friction action has been named the “click-free click.”

This unique mechanism allows the fine-tuning calibration from 0 to 22 mm, and the accompanying vertical rotating friction-controlled pin together with the mechanically leveraged belt insertion clip further ensure the longevity of the mechanism.Due to the exceptional clarity of the 60.66 carat Diablo diamond, the incredible mechanical savoir-faire of the complication is clearly visible through the cover of the piece.

Security was also an important consideration in the execution of the design, thus four security systems ensure that the buckle cannot release from the leather strap. The buckle cover locks to the chassis with a manually operated mechanical click lock, while the chassis locks itself to the leather strap through a manually operated spring locking system.

An unlimited warranty against manufacturing defect accompanies the R60 Diablo to ensure its lifetime is at least as long as the jewel that crowns it.

Roland Iten considers the rare – and possibly unique – cut of the 60.66 ct Diablo to be its most interesting and masculine aspect.

In traditional settings, a stone’s perimeter is embedded in the piece as the basis of securing the stone within the setting. Roland Iten insisted that the setting of the stone enhance – and not hide – its rare cut. Therefore, he created an exclusive suspension pillar system and a mechanical mount to allow the stone to “float” above the buckle plate.

All corners of the stone are visible but protected by a surrounding gold embankment, allowing the full kite-shaped cut to be visible from all sides of the buckle plate. 

In order to ensure its perfect fit, Roland Iten first created an exact replica of the diamond using the precise dimensions of its four setting points. The four separate and individually v-shaped suspension pillars were crafted to support the stone, then mechanically attached to the cover.

Further enhancing the masculine beauty of this setting, drilled openings were incorporated into the four buttress-style suspension pillars to allow views through to the Diablo and enhance the chassis’ unique design.

Performance and calibration are at the heart of all of Roland Iten’s inventions, which include precision-adjusting watch strap buckles; cufflinks that regulate the cuff circumference to the watch size; mechanical cases that cascade one’s credit cards at just the precise angle; and gold shoelace tips that keep shoelaces fixed at the perfect knot. These accessories offer the ultimate in performance to the discerning gentleman in search of perfection. 

Two pillars drive all of Roland Iten’s inventions, and no product is ever without them: one-handed operation and mechanics that are not only beautiful to behold, but can be felt while in operation.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS of the 60.66 carat diamond:
60.66: The number of carats of this extraordinarily significant, fancy orange-brown (“cognac”), modified kite-shaped brilliant diamond.  Its  natural orange-brown hue is an extremely rare color for a diamond, which automatically puts it among the most sought-after gems by collectors
39.28 X 29.13 X 7.05mm:  The measurements of the Diablo stone
160: The number of years it can be traced back from its Golconda provenance origin, (although the rough diamond itself is millions of years older)
2010: Official diamond grading report issued by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA)

R22MkI:  Chassis construction with lightweight titanium and stainless steel architecture for tension and impact control
146 grams:  Total weight
66 grams: 5N red and 18-karat white gold
109:  Total number of components
60.66 carats: Extremely rare and exceptional VS2  fancy orange-brown (“cognac”) diamond type IIa incorporated into the red gold cover
0.6 carats: TW VVS1 round diamonds incorporated into the chassis
17:  Axels
7:  Separate manufacturing and assembly operations (stone replication, chassis design and manufacture, cover design and manufacture, suspension pillar design and manufacture, setting the stone, assembly and finishing
18:  Months in the making
3: Expert manufacturers including Roland Iten Manufacture SA with components provided by Sercab SA and R. Magnin SA
100%:  Manufactured in Switzerland on fine watchmaking machinery
PCT/IB2012?050884:  Rolling click calibration patent number

Five gear fine-tuning calibration between 0 and 22 mm
Rolling click calibration lock complication
Vertical rotating friction-controlled pin
Lever-activated mechanical locking system
Mechanically leveraged belt insertion clip
Easy changeability of leather strap
Friction-controlled flow-gliding wheels
Possibility to apply special engravings to the piece at the discretion of its owner, further enhancing its rarity and uniqueness

Following its official launch in Geneva, the R60 Diablo will  be viewed by important collectors throughout the world via tours in key global locations including London, New York, Tokyo, Abu Dhabi, Hong Kong, and Shanghai. 

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