The SIHH is always a great occasion to admire and appreciate fine watchmaking marvels. Among these, this year, the aventurine dial set its presence.
Four new aventurine dials not to be missed, by A. Lange & Söhne, Girard-Perregaux, Parmigiani Fleurier and Van Cleef & Arpels.
A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia Thin
With its 6.2 millimetre thickness, the thinnest A. Lange & Söhne timepiece goes copper-blue.
The hour and minute hands, as well as the twelve-hour markers in rhodium-plated gold, echo the white gold case colour – a sharp contrast to the background of the copper-blue dial.
This precious facing requires an elaborate manufacture process that was initially developed in Venice in the 17th century. At that time, a Venetian glassmaker accidentally spilt copper filings into molten glass, inadvertently inventing aventurine glass. Microscopically small copper oxide crystals saturate the deep blue with subtle reflections that are reminiscent of the stars in the blue midnight sky.
A dark-blue hand-stitched alligator leather strap rounds out the expressiveness of the watch.
The Saxonia Thin heart is a manually wound movement finished to the highest standards of Saxon watchmaking artistry. The technical features of the manufacture calibre L093.1 – 2.9 millimetres thick – include a flat mainspring barrel which delivers a maximum power reserve of 72 hours despite its compact size. The polished gold chatons, secured with blued screws, accentuate the character of a Lange watch that radiates perfection down to the very last detail.
Girard-Perregaux Cat’s Eye Day & Night
Girard-Perregaux’ Cat’s Eye enters the realm of High Jewellery with its Cat’s Eye Day & Night.
The dark blue aventurine dial stretches like an endless sky, and it is for sure the focus point of this bejewelled watch.
A depth and intensity of colour that magnetically attracts the eye to open up to a cascade of diamonds.
A fringe of multi-sized diamonds frames the crown, accentuating the signature shape of this collection: a circle nested in an oval, the embodiment of absolute femininity.
A ring of imposing diamonds are set on the dial, spilling over onto the lugs. They give an excellent sense of volume, creating an alternately raised and hollowed profile that forms a precious landscape around the sky portrayed on the dial.
A dreamy timepiece that brings the owner back to reality with its Day/Night complication, the epitome of substantive horological content going hand in hand with original design.
The white gold disc at 6 o’clock performs a complete rotation in 24 hours and its figurative depiction of the day and night has a sense of refinement: a shining sun on one side; and a beautiful moon on the other, alternately appearing or hiding beneath a half-circle of diamonds with the passing of time. This astronomical complication requires no independent adjustment, as the Manufacture has chosen to synchronise it with the hours and minutes.
The beating heart of this stunning High Jewellery model is the mechanical self-winding GP330-00900 movement, designed, developed and produced by Manufacture Girard-Perregaux by the most excellent Swiss watchmaking traditions.
This 218-part movement with its 46-hour power reserve is also distinguished by its beautiful finishing. The bridges and the main plate are straight-grained on the sides and the rounded parts of the ridges. They are then chamfered, circular-grained and adorned with a Côtes de Genève pattern, while a “GP” tapestry motif graces the gold oscillating weight. The transparent case-back provides a chance to admire the meticulous craftsmanship that enhances the power of this exceptional model.
Parmigiani Fleurier Kalparisma Nova Galaxy
To celebrate ten years since the launch of the Kalparisma collection, in 2008, Parmigiani Fleurier unveils at SIHH a new model that reaches new levels of femininity and fascination.
A pioneer in the use of aventurine glass in watchmaking, Parmigiani Fleurier has numerous special editions that showcase the material on their dials. These pieces are the “Galaxy” ones. Likewise, the Kalparisma Nova Galaxy represents a star-scattered sky that tells the story of the passage of time. The delta-shaped hands are skeletonised to reveal the celestial display better and to enhance the watch’s delicate femininity.
One of the main characteristics of the Kalparisma collection is its small seconds at 6 o’clock, which takes the form of a star performing one revolution per minute.
Halfway between a watch function and a decoration, the “Nova” is inspired by a piece from the Maurice-Yves Sandoz collection that was restored at the Parmigiani Fleurier workshops. Restoration has always been the soul of Parmigiani Fleurier, inspiring its present-day creations. This little star has found its home at the heart of a dial designed to represent the galaxy. In astronomy, “Nova” refers to a star that suddenly becomes very bright. This burst of light is what defines the Kalparisma Nova Galaxy.
The Kalparisma Nova Galaxy is available in two versions that differ both regarding the case material, and specifically the stone-setting that adorns them.
The first, presented here, in rose gold with its shimmering reflections, matches the indices and Nova star. The sides of the case are set with 46 Top Wesselton diamonds for a total of ~0.84 carats and a glittering play of light. The stone-set rose gold edition is limited to 50 pieces.
It is joined by the even more exclusive white gold version: a total of 28 pieces with a dazzling “snow” setting. The entire case is set with painstakingly arranged diamonds in sizes expertly selected by the master stone-setter – smaller on the periphery, and gradually getting more significant as they near the case’s curves. Each of the 182 stones has a role to play in this ~2.28-carat fresco, which evokes glittering snow and blends harmoniously with the dial’s constellation.
The calibre PF332 is the first self-winding mechanical movement from Parmigiani Fleurier. Incorporated in the Kalparisma since 2008, it makes this model the brand’s first mechanical watch for women.
The unique feature of this movement is its series-mounted double barrel, which helps to stabilise the distribution of energy and ensure its smooth transmission to the regulator. It offers the most exquisite Haute Horlogerie finishes: the bridges are sand-blasted, drawn out or “Côtes de Genève” decorated, then bevelled by hand and, finally, rhodium-plated. The 22-carat gold oscillating weight features a guilloché barley grain motif. The craftsmanship reflects the high expectations that Michel Parmigiani has for his brand: each of the 220 components, however small or hidden, deserves the very finest finishes. This attention to detail is what makes the Kalparisma Collection so remarkable and precious.
Van Cleef & Arpels Lady Arpels™ Planétarium Watch
Another excellent example of high jewellery combined with the finest in watchmaking, the Lady Arpels™ Planétarium watch signed Van Cleef & Arpels brings the cosmic vision to a lady’s wrist – four years after unveiling the Midnight Planétarium™ watch, for him.
Enriching the Maison’s Poetic Astronomy universe, the Lady Arpels Planétarium watch illustrates the Sun and the closest planets: Mercury, Venus and finally Earth, along with its natural satellite, the Moon. Each heavenly body moves at its actual speed, orbiting the dial in 88 days for Mercury, 224 days for Venus and 365 days for Earth. In a critical innovation for this piece, the Moon itself rotates around the Earth in 29.5 days, performing a visible celestial ballet on the dial, day after day.
The Lady Arpels case, 38mm in diameter and set with diamonds in the bezel and sides of the case, houses a movement redesigned for this smaller size, with a module exclusively developed in collaboration with Christiaan van der Klaauw. The dial enriches the planetary scene with a poetic shooting star in rhodium-plated gold. On the back of the watch, two apertures display the day, month and year.
To recreate the wonder-inspiring experience of looking up at the starred sky, Van Cleef & Arpels took special care in selecting and working with the traditional materials of jewellery and watchmaking.
Planets of differing volumes rotate around a Sun made of pink gold, gleaming in the centre of the dial. A pink mother-of-pearl Mercury and a turquoise Earth were meticulously hand cut in spherical shapes, while Venus is portrayed with a green enamel bead, fashioned in the Van Cleef & Arpels enamel workshops in Meyrin, Switzerland. The familiar glow of the Moon as it orbits the Earth comes to life with a brilliant-cut diamond, contrasting with the midnight blue background.
Seven aventurine discs appear in concentric circles within the dial, several rotating individually with the watch movement to evoke the depth of the cosmos. The planets and the shooting star thus move at actual speed through their sparkling environment, in a cosmic revolution of emotions and beauty.