More than pretty faces, these new timepieces feature rainbow colours achieved with cutting-edge technology and high jewellery savoir faire.
To commemorate the Royal Oak’s 50th anniversary last year, the manufacture reinvented the traditional rainbow watch by launching two sets of 10 fully gem-encrusted Royal Oak Selfwinding white gold watches in 37mm, as pictured here, and 41mm. Each piece is entirely paved with a different gemstone – orange spessartite, ruby, pink tourmaline, amethyst, tanzanite, blue topaz, blue sapphire, emerald, tsavorite and chrysoberyl. When placed together side by side, the flamboyant timepieces form a dazzling rainbow. Every watch is festooned with some 800 baguette-cut coloured stones in the exact same shade, all meticulously selected and custom-cut for the most intense and pure colours. A first in the watchmaking industry, these two sets push the art of horological gem-setting to new heights.
The manufacture put a fun spin on its debut self-winding ladies’ chronograph watch, which is the Aquanaut Luce collection’s first chronograph model –
the Ref. 7968/300R-001 Aquanaut Luce “Rainbow” Chronograph. Equipped with the calibre CH 28-520, the sporty-elegant rose-gold timepiece flaunts a fascinating bezel dressed in two rows of gems arranged with invisible setting. The inner row comprises baguette-cut diamonds, while colourful baguette-cut sapphires set in a gradated rainbow make up the outer. An engraved mother-of-pearl dial also features 12 coloured sapphires as hour markers. To add more style options, three rubber straps in red, as seen here, matte beige and matte white are delivered with the 39.9mm by 42.02mm watch.
The maison created this futuristic model that was auctioned in support of the Swiss Institute and TimeForArt, at the first benefit auction for contemporary art and artists. For this one-off creation that’s based on the brand’s popular Aikon model, the manufacture worked closely with movement specialist Sellita to conceive the exclusive automatic ML115 movement. Thanks to an intriguing openworked design, the movement plays with transparency, allowing light to pass through its various openings and illuminate a myriad parts. The rainbow theme extends to the oscillating weight adorned with sand-blasted and sun-brushed decoration, which can be admired via a sapphire caseback. Housed in a 39mm stainless steel case, the watch is presented on a matching bracelet and supplied with an additional black rubber strap.
Never one to shy away from colour, Franck Muller presents the unisex Vanguard Skeleton Color Dreams – an exclusive for Southeast Asia. The plates and bridges are swathed in the signature hues of Color Dreams through electrolytic anodisation, which requires the special production of aluminium components instead of traditionally used brass or nickel silver. The visually arresting movement’s satin-finished, anodised aluminium bridges are secured directly to the inner case that’s machined precisely to fit the curved design. Extremely lightweight, this new case is made of CarboTech, a carbon fibre material that has been compressed with a high-end polymer for nine hours at 120 deg C. Unique striations on each piece ar created by this compression, which means no two watches bear the same pattern. The case is then buffed completely by hand with no external polishing. The FM 1740-VS calibre has been adjusted to be housed within the ergonomic 43mm Vanguard case to fit wrists of all sizes.
Introducing a fresh colour palette to the brand’s most sophisticated model is the Tag Heuer Chronograph Tourbillon Polychrome. Its 45mm black case is rendered in ultra-lightweight and resistant fine-brushed black PVD titanium, a perfect canvas for the contrasting skeletonised rainbow-coloured dial. To achieve the smooth and sophisticated vibrant hues, the brand worked with Positive Coating, a specialist in vacuum deposition PVD treatments and the world’s only supplier to offer this breakthrough finish. Metallic oxides are deposited in thin, transparent layers, and their controlled and minute variations of thickness (a few nanometres) create the final gradual colour spectrum. The 150-piece limited edition is driven by the calibre Heuer 02T COSC chronograph tourbillon with a power reserve of 80 hours. Also a standout is the elegantly balanced signature Tag Heuer Carrera tricompax layout featuring a black flange with 60 second/minute scale, rhodium-plated blue chronograph sub-counters at 3 and 9 o’clock, and a multi-coloured tourbillon at 6 o’clock.
The watchmaker and world-renowned Argentinian-Spanish optical artist Felipe Pantone join forces again for the Defy Extreme Felipe Pantone, a limited edition of 100 pieces available only at Zenith physical and online boutiques. The prismatic creation is executed entirely in mirror-polished stainless steel, which sees the faceted lines of the Defy Extreme case take on a new sculptural look. Using a transparent sapphire disc as the dial’s base, an innovative physio-chemical process is used to create hidden micro-engraved patterns just 100 nanometres deep. This process imbues an iridescent effect on the sapphire, reflecting various colours that shift with the angle of light while making the motifs visible. This marks the first time that Pantone’s aesthetic is applied to sapphire crystal. Incorporating transparency and colour, the dodecagonal bezel as well as the chronograph pusher protectors are made in translucent blue YAS (yttrium aluminosilicate), a crystalline glass material comparable to synthetic sapphire. The case corners are engraved with FP#1, a coded signature for a previous collaborative piece, the Felipe Pantone El Primero. This latest edition comes with a translucent blue silicon strap, a fully polished steel bracelet and black Velcro strap that can be easily swapped with the push of a button on the caseback.
This story first appeared in the Feb 2023 issue of Prestige Singapore.