In this era of bespoke dressing, making a style statement requires a bit more effort and originality. Watchmakers have realised this of course, and have readily devised a solution: why not offer timepieces that are essentially one-of-a-kind, crafted from artisanal techniques that require years of mastery and are almost impossible to reproduce?
There’s a growing trend for metiers d’ art watches, proven by a large number of manufactures developing collections that highlight different artisan skills like enamelling, miniature paining, guillochage, sculpting and marquetry.
Some brands, like Cartier, have led explorations in the field, playing around with rarely seen decorative arts. In 2012, it was straw marquetry (Rotonde de Cartier Koala) and grisaille enamel painting (Rotonde de Cartier Tiger motif). This year, it’s the Etruscan gold granulation technique with the Rotonde de Cartier Panther watch, which was featured in more detail in the last issue.
Parmigiani Fleurier presents a great example of traditional metiers d’art combined with an edgy modern design. The Tonda Woodstock (for the US) and the Tonda Woodrock (for the UK) have wood marquetry dials that showcase Gibson guitars. Inspired by Michel Parmigiani’s love of jazz, tourbillons in place of the sound holes invite you to channel your inner Bruce Springsteen. The Tonda timepieces are fitted with the PF510 handwound movement with hours, minutes, central seconds, and one-week power reserve. The platinum cases come in 42mm, and are water-resistant to 30m. The bezel is engraved with the ‘Gibson motif.’
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