Thursday, May 25, 2017

Piaget Art and Excellence Collection – the Altiplano Feather Marquetry; the Gold Lacework Altiplano Double Jeu and the High Jewellery Cuff Watch

At 2017 SIHH exhibition, luxury Swiss watch maker Piaget enhanced its Art and Excellence collection by presenting three new timepieces – the Altiplano Feather Marquetry; the Gold Lacework Altiplano Double Jeu and the High Jewellery Cuff Watch. These beautiful novelties pay tribute to the new creative heights reached by the Maison Piaget.

Piaget has dedicated the past five years to its jewellery icon, the Rose, creating beautiful variations highlighted through beautiful artistic craftsmanship. For 2017, Piaget continues in this tradition by showcasing its outstanding expertise in an extraordinary collection transcending the realm of creative liberty. Calling upon a sense of boldness and surpassing personal limits, together with shared pleasure and stylistic freedom, Piaget is entering a new territory this year: Radiance, an essential part of the Maison’s DNA.

The Swiss Manufacture is cultivating its differences and exclusive nature to provide not only a masterful demonstration of its mission to perpetuate forgotten crafts, but also its ability to distinguish itself in unusual and extraordinary fields. This involves a continuous search from the Maison to seek out the finest artisans in their respective fields, in order to create exceptional models which continue to push the limits of innovation.

Altiplano Double Jeu & High Jewellery Cuff Watch in Gold Lacework by Sara Bran
Finalist in the Prix Bettencourt (2010), honoured by the Grand Prix de la Création-MNRA (2011) and laureate of the Talent de la Rareté competition at the 2015 Sommet du Luxe et de la Création, Sara Bran dreams up, sketches and then crafts authentic jewellery that are glowing tributes to finesse and refinement. Sara has built a unique creative universe and an exclusive style. Better still, she has invented a profession which she is the only artisan to exercise: lace maker on gold.
Before specialising in this lacework created from thin plates of precious metal measuring just a few millimetres thick, Sara – a self-taught artisan unbound by the confines of academic practice – was involved in carving stone and marble to create monumental sculptures. Her passion for lacework became woven into her experience in Portugal, where she conducted research among art masters with a special focus on the popular and aristocratic lacework housed in the Decorative Arts Museum of the Foundation Ricardo do Espirito Santo Silva.

Altiplano Double Jeu Gold Lacework (G0A42061)
To recreate the lightness of lacework on a slim plate of pink gold, Sara Bran uses pointed scribing tools and a compass to trace the motifs, drills bits to pierce holes, as well as saw blades to cut out the metal using a highly specific skill – that of manual redrilling with a small hacksaw. Proceeding by opening up empty spaces, she gradually eliminates material to reveal – after countless hours at the workbench – a delicately sculpted lacework as fine as a super-thin thread. Piaget, which has become a specialist in fashioning gold, was destined to cross paths with this expert lacemaker. Witness the Altiplano Double Jeu and the exceptional High Jewellery Cuff Watch now featuring this exquisite craft.
A model emblematic of the Piaget style and expertise, the Altiplano Double Jeu with its two superimposed cases ideally lends itself to the lacemaker’s work. The diamond-set upper module is attired in the precious and dainty gold lacework with a radiating motif enhanced by marquise-cut diamonds.
The hours tick steadily beneath this magnificently transparent decor and a press on the dedicated pusher is enough to open the cover and reveal the minimalist white dial of the Altiplano, with its heart beating to the tune of the hand-wound 430P movement.

High Jewellery Gold Lacework Cuff Watch (G0A42062)
Proudly epitomising the Piaget style, this splendid High Jewellery model that also tells time is a vibrant hymn to radiance. On this Gold Lacework Cuff Watch, the lacemaker uses a powerful style vocabulary in taking on an unprecedented technical and artistic challenge.
The oval-shaped white opal dial at the centre of the work is framed by a diamond-set bezel. The gold lacework, beautifully enhanced by incredibly fine engraved leaf motifs, engages in a fascinating aesthetic dialogue with the prong-set marquise-cut or brilliant-cut diamonds, punctuating the lace and showering a luminous cascade across the exquisite lacework.

Altiplano Feather Marquetry by Émilie Moutard-Martin
After five years of studying psychology, Émilie Moutard-Martin changed direction. Her Master’s dissertation on artisans’ social identity revealed an inner passion for the physicality of hand-crafted creations, and by extension, a fascination for fashion and watchmaking. “What I love about fashion are the lines of a silhouette, a timeless look, the intimate relationship experienced with a garment worn directly on the skin, the idea of adorning while revealing, materials that stir the senses…. and above all, the artistic crafts associated with fashion and their skills that can also be applied to the field of decorative arts”, says this young woman who has become one of barely a dozen feather artists in France to date. It was during her training as a milliner that Émilie developed a crush on feathers, “a captivating organic material opening up infinite creative possibilities”.
In 2012, having mastered the techniques of feather art, Émilie opened her atelier in order to develop her own vision: that of lasting and meaningful objects bearing the imprint of the person who created them. Light and movement are the watchwords in her work. That same year, this adornment maker and feather artist was awarded the Grand Prix de la Création de la Ville de Paris in the “Artistic Crafts” category. In 2015, Piaget undertook an original and singular cooperative endeavour with the feather artist who placed her expertise and her virtuosity at the service of Altiplano (G0A40595), the chic icon of ultra-thin horology whose dial was thus adorned in feather marquetry in order to create a unique series in the “Secrets & Lights – A Mythical Journey by Piaget” collection.

Altiplano Feather Marquetry (G0A42060)
Surrounded by boxes full of feathers of every colour and every size, the feather artist works like a painter in choosing her pigments and materials. Rigorously selected for its exact shade, its density and its texture and individually chosen to create the required effects, the feather is finally washed in soapy water before being stabilised in steam and meticulously recut by hand. Each feather is then smoothed, ready to be carefully arranged in its appointed place according to cleverly alternating contrasts and geometrical patterns. This enables the artist to reproduce the desired composition before being glued flat.
The miniature feather art technique is very similar to that of marquetry. Each touch must be accurate, guided by a quest for harmony calling for a combination of technical mastery and artistic vision. The feather artist’s creativity finds a privileged field of expression in feather marquetry, thereby creating a captivating visual poem. Once this virtuoso feat of craftsmanship is complete, the pure lines of Altiplano, the ultra-thin mechanical icon beating in step with the hand-wound 430P movement, are arrayed in a feather marquetry composed of a mixture of duck, peacock and rooster feathers, partially covered with silver leaf. This work represents an authentic challenge that involves handling the infinitely small with extreme care and calls for considerable expertise.

The result is a fascinating sight creating a truly mesmerising effect and a perfect optical illusion. The legendary peacock with its blue and green plumage, a symbol of immortality, appears to be spreading its majestic and radiant tail feathers in order to infuse the wrist with its magnetic strength. A fine work of art perfectly framed by a white gold case set with brilliant-cut diamonds and admirably completed by the unique strap with its haute couture touch, also skilfully arrayed in feathers.

Technical details
Altiplano Feather Marquetry - 38mm, G0A42060
18K white gold case set with 78 brilliant-cut diamonds (approx.
0.71 ct)
Dial in peacock, duck and rooster feather marquetry, partially covered with silver leaf
Manufacture Piaget 430P mechanical hand-wound movement, 2.1 mm thick
Satin-look navy blue calfskin strap, 18K white gold pin buckle
Eventful strap adorned with peacock feathers
38-piece limited edition
Boutique-exclusive model
Available in boutiques as of April 2017

Altiplano Double Jeu Lacework on Gold - 38mm, G0A42061
18K pink gold case set with 52 brilliant-cut diamonds (approx. 2.30 cts)
Gold lacework decoration on the upper module, featuring 12 marquise-cut diamonds (approx. 1.60 cts)
White dial
Manufacture Piaget 430P mechanical hand-wound movement, 2.1 mm thick
White alligator leather, 18K pink gold folding clasp
8-piece limited edition
Boutique-exclusive model
Available in boutiques as of April 2017

High Jewellery Lacework on Gold Cuff Watch, G0A42062
18K pink gold cuff watch set with 382 brilliant-cut diamonds (approx. 11.07 cts) and 30 marquise-cut diamonds (approx. 4.74 cts), adorned with gold lacework
Piaget 56P quartz movement
White opal dial
One-of-a-kind creation
Boutique-exclusive model
Available in boutiques as of April 2017

Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Carbon

Swiss luxury watch manufacture Roger Dubuis takes innovation to the next level in 2017 with the revolutionary introduction of carbon to its iconic Excalibur Spider concept and two cutting-edge calibres: the best-selling 820SQ and recent SIHH World Premiere 509SQ.

The annual unveiling of world premieres from its ever-busy innovation pipeline represents the almost ‘organic’ result of its on-going investments in Research & Development. Backed by a dedicated in-house department and Roger Dubuis’ own full-fledged Manufacture, the brand’s ‘disruptive materials and progressive complications’ mantra is forcefully expressed through its on-going challenge to all-comers: Dare to be Rare.

This is entirely in sync with a recent series of partnerships signed by the brand with the automotive industry, where carbon is commonly used in the very high-end racing cars that were the inspiration for these futuristic timepieces.
The 50% difference in weight enabled by this choice of material means a 50% increase in power reserve, raising it to 90 hours for the Excalibur Spider Carbon Skeleton Flying Tourbillon 509SQ. In this revolutionary model, the chassis is represented by the baseplate and bridge; the car grid by the classic honeycomb structure; and the car body by the case; while the tourbillon would be the engine component. True to the design codes of its emblematic Excalibur line, the latter takes the skeleton theme to the next level by skeletonizing the movement as well as the case, flange and hands.
This is the first time however that the Manufacture has allied this iconic concept with its best-selling 820SQ calibre. The combined technical expertise and aesthetic flair of the development team has masterfully ensured all the stellar transparency expected from a Roger Dubuis skeleton movement.

This approach is exemplified in the World Premiere Excalibur Spider Carbon Skeleton Flying Tourbillon, powered by Calibre 509SQ; and the robust 45mm skeleton case of the Excalibur Spider Carbon Automatic Skeleton with its Calibre 820SQ, featuring black DLC titanium elements offset by contrasting red touches.
Such an amazing technical feat, further complicated by the skeletonised nature of the calibre, is enabled by the particularly rigid nature of carbon that results in less vibrations and enhanced precision. Both models are issued as 88-piece limited editions.

Technical details
Excalibur Spider Carbon Skeleton Flying Tourbillon
Case
Skeletonized, Ø45 mm, multi-layers carbon and titanium overmolded with red rubber
Thickness: 14.02 mm
Fluted carbon bezel with red markings, titanium black DLC overmolded with red rubber crown
Sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment and red metallization
Titanium black DLC and sapphire crystal case back
Water Resistance: 5 BAR (50 m)

Movement
RD505SQ Calibre: Skeleton Flying Tourbillon
Features: hand-wound mechanical caliber
Decorations: Skeleton movement, plate, bridges and tourbillon upper cage in multi-layered carbon, carbon honeycomb décor between the plate and the bridges, tourbillon carriage in the shape of a Celtic cross
Number of parts: 179 components
Jewels:19
Diameter: 16’’’
Thickness: 4.28 mm
Frequency: 3 Hz (21,600 vph)
Power-reserve: 60 hours

Functions
Hours and minutes, Flying tourbillon at 7 o’clock (one rotation per minute)

Dial
Carbon flange with red minute track with rhodium plated indexes filled with white transfers SLN, 18K gold hands black
PVD with red transfer and white luminous SLN tips

Strap
Bi-colour strap with black rubber base and red RubberTech fabric inlay, red stitching
Clasp: Titanium black DLC adjustable folding clasp

Edition
88 pieces

Certification
Poinçon de Genève

Excalibur Spider Carbon Automatic Skeleton
Case
Skeletonized, Ø45 mm, multi-layers carbon, titanium container overmolded with red rubber
Thickness: 14.02 mm
Fluted ceramic bezel with red markings, titanium black DLC overmolded with red rubber crown
Sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment and red metallization
Titanium black DLC and sapphire crystal case back
Water Resistance: 5 BAR (50 m)

Movement
RD820SQ Calibre: Automatic Skeleton with micro-rotor
Features: Self-winding mechanical caliber with skeleted micro-rotor, finely adjusted in six positions
Decorations: Skeleton calibre, NAC coated plate and bridges, circular-grained plate and bridges, “Poinçon de Genève” finishing. White and red transfers on the micro-rotor bridge
Number of parts: 167 components
Jewels: 35
Diameter: 16’’’
Thickness: 6.38 mm
Frequency: 4Hz (28,800 vph)
Power-reserve: 60 hours

Functions
Hours and minutes

Dial
Black flange with red minute track transfers rhodium plated indexes filled with luminous SLN, 18K gold black PVD hands with red transfer and white luminous SLN tips

Strap
Bi-material strap with black rubber base and red calf leather inlay, red stitching
Clasp: Titanium black DLC adjustable folding clasp

Edition
88 pieces

Certification
Poinçon de Genève

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Willis Judd Forged Carbon Automatic Watches

Australian micro-watch brand Willis Judd announces new automatic editions of its forged carbon watches.

Many luxury brands now offer watches crafted with forged carbon, a high-tech material used in aerospace and racing car industry. These ultra-light yet rugged timepieces however come with hefty price tag above $1000.  After its first successful Kickstarter project, Willis Judd now presents a wallet friendly, mechanical edition of its flagship Forged Carbon watch collection.
The automatic edition houses a Miyota 90s5 self winding mechanical movement manufactured in Japan. One of the popular movements among new generation mechanical watch brands, it has 24 jewels, beats at 28,800 vph, power reserve of 42 hours and features the hacking second function. Equipped with a customised Willis Judd rotor, the movement can be admired through the transparent sapphire crystal caseback.
Displaying basic time and featuring lumed hour-markers and hands, its highly legible dial comes in two options: First one in a standard minimalistic look and second one in open-heart version that has a small round window just above six’o clock revealing movement.
Regarding the exterior, its Engineered Forged Carbon case measuring 45mm diameter and 13mm thickness displays the strong character of the watch. Its crown is also made with forged carbon. A stainless steel inner ring accommodates the movement. Weighing 60gms and water resistant to 5atm, the watch case is fitted with sapphire crystal front glass and caseback. The natural weave of the carbon makes every case unique so every watch carries unique look. Securing the watch to wrist is a fine Italian leather strap featuring a stainless Steel Black PVD buckle engraved Willis Judd brand name.

Willis Judd has launched a Kickstarter campaign to collect a minimum amount of AU$ 29,000 for funding the initial mass production of the Forged Carbon Automatic Watches. By backing the campaign with pledges starting from AU$ 530  (Approx $395USD / £305 for One Standard Face Forged Carbon Automatic watch with Miyota 90s5 movement), supporters of this project will give the opportunity to buy the timepiece in discounted price. Post Kickstarter campaign, retail price will be starting from $1020 AUD ($749USD / £580).

Please visit [Willis Judd Forged Carbon Automatic Watches Kickstarter campaign] for more details.

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