This Is the Gold Standard Of Watch Craftsmanship - Men's Folio
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This Is the Gold Standard Of Watch Craftsmanship

  • By Asaph Low

This Is the Gold Standard Of Watch Craftsmanship
Watchmakers delight with various forms of artistry and craftsmanship to showcase the best in watchmaking.

Patek Philippe Ref. 5231G-001 Rare Handcrafts World Time

Patek Philippe’s romance with travel continued when it unveiled the ref. 5231G-001 Rare Handcrafts World Time earlier this year. The Genevan manufacture’s savoir-faire in travel watches dates back to the 1930s when its first-ever World Time watch was created with the help of Swiss watchmaker Louis Cottier. His ingenuity made it possible to read the local times of all 24 time zones at a glance based on the wearer’s reference time zone.

A patented mechanism from 1999 allows the wearer to simultaneously correct all displays in one-hour steps with the pusher at 10 o’clock. Another hallmark of Patek Philippe’s World Time watches was a map that often adorns the central dial of the watch. The ref. 5231G-001 highlights the dynamism of South-East Asia and Oceania with the region’s map made from Grand Feu cloisonné enamel. Gold wires are used to demarcate the continents’ borders before the enamelling begins.

Coloured enamel is applied and fired in a kiln up to 10 times or more to bring out the various shades and subtleties of the terrains. Given how unforgiving enamelling is, very few examples are finished, as the process is often repeated if any imperfections form.

The ref. 5231G-001 Rare Handcrafts World Time is housed in a white gold case and houses the calibre 240 HU that is hand-finished to the highest standard.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Hybris Artistica Calibre 945
Jaeger-LeCoultre highlights their artistry in celestial complications with the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Hybris Artistica Calibre 945 Galaxia. The starry sky seen from Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Vallée de Joux home takes centre stage in the masterpiece creation.

Grisaille enamel originating from 16th century France is applied to the multi-level dial to capture the ethereal beauty of the stars. When set, the star chart maps and tracks the constellations of the Northern Hemisphere night sky in real-time based on the date and time of the day. Given how civil time differs from sidereal time (measured according to the positions of the stars in the sky), the cosmotourbillon is programmed to measure the time of the stars. It completes its circuit around the dial in an anticlockwise motion every sidereal day which lasts precisely 23 hours, 56 minutes and 4.1 seconds.

Other astronomical measurements, such as the zodiac calendar and 24-hour display, are indicated on the dial periphery. Meeting the visual spectacle of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Hybris Artistica Calibre 945 Galaxia is an aural odyssey brought to life by the minute repeater. Upon activation, the current time is chimed (hour, quarters and minutes sequentially) on demand.

Several patented innovations ensure the chimes are audible and pleasant despite their diminutive size. A total of 570 components are responsible for bringing the complications to life, and up to 80 individual parts form the pink gold case of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Hybris Artistica Calibre 945 Galaxia.

This Is the Gold Standard Of Watch Craftsmanship
Cartier Crash Tigrée Métamorphoses Watch
Shapes have been a cornerstone of Cartier’s creative exponent since the rectangular-shaped Cartier Tank was released in 1917. Since then, Cartier explored watches in many other geometric forms — some more peculiar than others. The enigmatic Cartier Crash is a perfect example of Cartier’s creations, an oddity that captures the vibrant energy of Swinging London in 1967 when it was created.

Its unconventional asymmetrical tear-drop-shaped case brought new meaning to watchmaking, shattering traditional aesthetic codes. This year, craftsmen at the Cartier Maison des Métiers d’Art demonstrate their creative expression as the African wildlife is brought to life with the Cartier Crash Tigrée Métamorphoses Watch. A combination of several Métiers d’Art techniques, namely metal engraving, champlevé enamelling and gem setting, capture and evoke an animal’s presence.

Troughs with gold borders are first engraved in the watch case and dial before enamels, and 242 brilliant-cut diamonds (1.64 ct) are set. Layers of blue and green enamel are painstakingly fired in kilns repeatedly up to 10 times to achieve the exact vivid shades of colour. Cartier crowns the masterpiece creation with an inverted pavilion diamond in the crown, with only 50 editions created.

The outcome is a metamorphosis for all to interpret, whether a tiger, a crocodile, a body of water or an animal shell.

 Zenith Defy Extreme E Copper X Prix
Beyond outward appearances and aesthetics, Zenith prides its watchmaking artistry on the core of timekeeping — accuracy. Fronting that stance is the manufacture’s famed El Primero chronograph calibre, regarded for its high operating frequency that translates into greater accuracy. The latest incarnation of the El Primero comes in the vein of the El Primero 9004 calibre with its double escapement innovation.

One is responsible for timekeeping (operating at 5 Hz), while the other is for the chronograph (50 Hz), offering 1/100th of a second measurement. The 20-piece limited edition timepiece is modelled after the Atacama Desert in Chile. Its carbon and microblasted titanium case and multi-layered dial mix earthy tones that recall the Chilean desert terrain. Apart from innovation, Zenith took a sustainable stance for the Zenith Defy Extreme E Copper X Prix, which pays homage to the Extreme E championship.

Continental CrossContact tires from the first season’s races were upcycled and given a new lease of life as they are made into the accompanying rubber straps. Other materials were also reused as they feature extensively across the Zenith Defy Extreme E Copper X Prix watch box.

TAG Heuer Carrera Plasma Tourbillon Nanograph
Watchmaking artistry takes a disruptive spin as TAG Heuer enters the realm of lab-grown diamonds with the TAG Heuer Carrera Plasma Tourbillon Nanograph. Utilising chemical vapour deposition (CVD) technology or Diamant d’Avant-Garde as TAG Heuer terms it, the physical constraints of diamonds are removed by the Swiss manufacture as unique shapes and textures are achievable with the technology.

The iconic TAG Heuer Carrera serves as the ideal testbed to demonstrate the prowess and versatility of Diamant d’Avant-Garde as diamonds in various shapes are lab-grown to fit the specifications of the futuristic TAG Heuer Carrera Plasma Tourbillon Nanograph. A special polycrystalline diamond dial crafted from a one-diamond morphology dazzles as if thousands of crystal facets are individually set.

Irregularly shaped lab-grown diamonds (48 pieces totalling 4.2 ct) set in the sandblasted black anodised aluminium case are flanked by a spectacular diamond crown averaging 2.5 carats.
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