Watchmakers showcase their artistic talents through rare decorative techniques
hen watchmaking houses and artisans collaborate, their efforts can be magnificent. Such was the winner of the 2014 Grand Prix d’horlogerie’s Métiers d’art prize, Kari Voutilainen’s Hisui watch. It features a multicoloured dial made of a combination of gold dust, gold leaf and abalone shells, using an ancient technique from Japanese lacquer master Unryuan. The Hisui took more than 1,000 hours to complete the dial and bridges. The 39mm rose gold watch’s main plate and bridges are decorated with the lacquering technique, as seen through the sapphire crystal caseback.
Cartier reinvents the filigree via the lacework goldsmithing technique, in a process that takes a month’s work. The craftsmen behind the Ronde Louis Cartier XL filigree watch fashioned a pair of panthers with emerald eyes, whose black lacquer-spotted coats are woven from elements of gold and platinum, then set with diamonds. The panthers are encircled by a bezel that’s pavé-