During SIHH I was able to meet up with the representatives of Jean Dunand at a hotel outside the main venue. Now I like their watches, I think their “Toubillion Orbital” movement is very interesting, but while I admire the technical achievement of the dials and their use of a whole range of techniques from enamel and lacquer through to natural stones, they just don’t do it for me.
However over the last 10 days or so a teaser campaign has been on-going on Twitter and Facebook. Allusions to mechanical workings and architecture along with teaser photos have been the order of the day and have become more and more exciting. Well last week I had the fantastic opportunity to see the MB&F “Thunderbolt” machine and this week I am in the right place to see the new mechanical masterpiece from Jean Dunand.
The watch takes its cues from the “Art Deco” period having a pronounced architectural theme. The watch is called “The Palace” and by any measure is a big, and I mean BIG, watch. To all intents and purposes square, it is an assembly of mechanical complications presented in a masterpiece of a case.
So let’s start with the case, each corner is marked with representations of the feet of the Eiffel Tower, the sides arch towards the face with the space under the arch being filled with sapphire crystal to allow you to see the inner workings. The case is a mixture of titanium and gold, the titanium both frosted and polished with gold strands mimicking the lattice work of the Eiffel Tower’ś structure.
Technically the movement is a single button chronograph, but truthfully that doesn’t do it justice. At first glance it looks like the steel structure of a skyscaper; different layers, pillars and pulleys that entice you in to look closer. In fact is it much more complicated than that, down the side are two indicators, the right side is the power reserve and the left is the GMT indicator. This is set by a button on the edge of the case marked “GMT” so you aren’t in any doubt.
Both of these indicators are set pierced beams, unusually these are powered by a chain, yes really a chain, which is assembled in-house and each one takes five full eight hour days to put together, now that’s what I call dedication.
The GMT indicator has a further complication because while the power reserve just goes up and down the GMT has 1 – 12 on one edge and 13 -24 on the other, it points to the right during the morning and then flips to the left for the afternoon, I like that.
Perhaps the biggest reservation I have is the size, as I said at the beginning it’s big, though not as heavy as you might think, the use of titanium and other exotic materials keeps it as svelte as possible. But there is no getting away from the size, perhaps the closest thing is the Richard Mille pocket watch, but that is a brute, and heavy. I did ask if they had considered making a pocket version and I wasn’t laughed off so it remains a possibility so keep an eye out.
The watch will be available around September or October depending on any last minute changes that might be needed, prices to be announced, but likely to be high as will be demand. If you are in the market this should be a serious contender for your money.
I am pleased to say here is a Jean Dunand watch I can really get excited about.
Category: Basel World