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The dials have it at Watches and Wonders
Watches and Wonders

The dials have it at Watches and Wonders

Friday, 09 April 2021
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Christophe Roulet
Editor-in-chief, HH Journal

“The desire to learn is the key to understanding.”

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5 min read

Métiers d’art, transparent materials, three-dimensional structures, skeletonised movements… the brands at Watches and Wonders are changing the face of watchmaking.

Whereas complications used to be the centre of attention, dials are now adding an extra layer of interest in their layout, decoration, construction… or conspicuous absence, as illustrated at Watches and Wonders Geneva 2021.

Arnold & Son Ultrathin Tourbillon Dragon & Phoenix

This collection centres around Arnold & Son’s extra-thin tourbillon in a movement 2.97mm high that provides 90 hours of power reserve. Two mythical creatures in sculpted gold, a Dragon and a Phoenix, chase after a prized pearl against the backdrop of a hardstone dial in five colours. Arnold & Son is proposing five examples of each model.

Ultrathin Tourbillon Dragon & Phoenix © Arnold & Son
Ultrathin Tourbillon Dragon & Phoenix © Arnold & Son
Chanel J12 X-Ray Electro Calibre 3.1

Chanel reveals all with a bracelet, case, dial and movement bridges entirely in sapphire. This world-first, presented in 2020 in the form of the X-Ray, reappears as the Electro capsule collection. Fifty-eight sapphires in 12 colours form a dazzling gradient around the bezel of the J12. They are echoed on the dial by 12 baguette-cut indexes. A skeletonised Calibre 3.1 adds depth.

J12 X-Ray Electro Calibre 3.1 © Chanel
J12 X-Ray Electro Calibre 3.1 © Chanel
Chronowiss Open Gear ReSec Paraiba

Chronoswiss has chosen a regulator-style display for this architectural watch in steel that is also water-resistant to 100 metres. Set on two levels, the dial is assembled from 42 components with a remarkable hand-guilloché base whose turquoise blue is achieved using chemical vapour deposition. Its colour is that of the highly prized tourmalines found in the Brazilian state of Paraíba, which gives the watch its name.

Open Gear ReSec Paraiba © Chronowiss
Open Gear ReSec Paraiba © Chronowiss
Corum Admiral 45 Automatic Openworked Flying Tourbillon Carbon & Gold

Corum’s Admiral turns 60, an occasion the brand is celebrating with a standout rendition whose 45mm carbon case is infused with particles of gold. The signature dodecagonal crown is also in gold, with gold thread for the stitching on the rubber and textile strap. Corum’s in-house skeleton movement with flying tourbillon drives the central hour and minute hands.

Admiral 45 Automatic Openworked Flying Tourbillon Carbon & Gold © Corum
Admiral 45 Automatic Openworked Flying Tourbillon Carbon & Gold © Corum
Hublot Big Bang Integral Tourbillon Full Sapphire

Since 2016 Hublot has continued to develop advanced competencies in the colouring and machining of sapphire, a translucent material that is second only to diamond for hardness. This Big Bang Integral takes this expertise to its purest and highest conclusion, as both the 43mm case and the integrated bracelet are made from transparent synthetic sapphire.

Big Bang Integral Tourbillon Full Sapphire © Hublot
Big Bang Integral Tourbillon Full Sapphire © Hublot
Louis Moinet The Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China is one of the “8 Marvels of the World”, chosen by Louis Moinet and portrayed on the dial – where an aperture reveals the tourbillon – in a hand-engraved pink gold applique. As it winds its way forward, the Great Wall becomes a mighty dragon whose path, in green jade, disappears into the horizon. A distant mountain in white gold is profiled against a sky studded with sapphire and diamond brilliants. This elaborate engraving continues across the case.

La Grande Muraille de Chine © Louis Moinet
La Grande Muraille de Chine © Louis Moinet
Louis Vuitton Tambour Carpe Diem

Time on this Tambour watch is given, on demand, by automata. When the snake-shaped pusher is activated, the dial springs to life: the snake lifts its head to reveal an opening in the middle of the skull for the jumping hours display and the tip of its tail flicks across the minute scale, underneath the sandglass that measures power reserve. Meanwhile, the skull winks to reveal a Louis Vuitton Monogram flower in one of its sockets at the same time as its jaw opens in laughter to reveal a message: “Carpe Diem”!

Tambour Carpe Diem © Louis Vuitton
Tambour Carpe Diem © Louis Vuitton
Maurice Lacroix Aikon Master Grand Date

The generously sized 45mm case of this Aikon houses a new movement that drives an original display. An off-centre hours and minutes dial, overlapping with a small seconds subdial, leaves ample room for the regulating organ. A large opening leads the eye towards the sprung balance, secured by a curved bridge, and the escape wheel in a distinctive purple shade.

Aikon Master Grand Date © Maurice Lacroix
Aikon Master Grand Date © Maurice Lacroix
Piaget Polo Skeleton

Crafted in white gold and set with diamonds, not only does this rendition scrupulously observe the hallmarks of Piaget’s legendary Polo – a curved case with a round bezel above a cushion-shaped dial – it does so with the additional constraints of wafer-thin contours and a skeletonised movement. The 1200S calibre in question provides 44 hours of power reserve and keeps all its promises in a height of just 2.4 millimetres.

Polo Squelette © Piaget
Polo Squelette © Piaget
Roger Dubuis Excalibur Single Flying Tourbillon

Skeletonised flying tourbillon movements have become synonymous with Roger Dubuis whose “hyper horology” takes root in the brand’s Excalibur collection, not least in this model with a single flying tourbillon at 7 o’clock. Surrounded by a 42mm case in Eon gold, star-shaped bridges span the manual-winding calibre for total transparency.

Excalibur Single Flying Tourbillon © Roger Dubuis
Excalibur Single Flying Tourbillon © Roger Dubuis
Speake-Marin Openworked Dual Time Mint

Mint green, triangular shapes within a skeleton movement and, for contrast, carbon treatment on the titanium case confer a unique personality on this architectural watch. World travellers will appreciate the presence, at 3 o’clock, of a second time zone over 24 hours with colour coding for day/night. Local time is shown by central hands. At 1 o’clock, the small seconds subdial is ringed by a retrograde date display.

Openworked Dual Time Mint © Speake-Marin
Openworked Dual Time Mint © Speake-Marin
Trilobe Nuit Fantastique

Trilobe continues its deconstruction of time with this Nuit Fantastique, whose minimalist design belies the complexity of the mechanism inside. The grained dial is an exploit in itself, with three of its four parts in constant anti-clockwise rotation. The largest indicates the hours while minutes appear in an aperture above the larger seconds disk. Hands are not invited.

Nuit Fantastique © Trilobe
Nuit Fantastique © Trilobe
Zenith Defy 21 Felipe Pantone Edition

For this first collaboration between Zenith and a contemporary artist, Felipe Pantone has worked with the brand to create this colourful Defy 21 that plays on visual and mechanical frequencies. One of its most striking features are the multi-coloured bridges, a transposition of Felipe Pantone’s art. Based on the principal of interference colours, their PVD treatment forms a transition of metallic rainbow shades.

Defy 21 Felipe Pantone Edition © Zenith
Defy 21 Felipe Pantone Edition © Zenith
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