Prehistoric materials – A piece of history


For watch fans and collectors, the notion of exclusivity is important. Having a watch that nobody else has is both a source of personal pride and in some cases a guarantee that your watch will always have a higher value than the standard model. The extra costs for the brand itself, however, may be limited just to the one-off production of a special dial or a special engraving on the case back. If you’re looking for an alternative to a unique piece that nevertheless has a touch of the unusual and gives you ultimate bragging rights, why not consider brands that are going to great lengths to source the most unusual materials on (and off) the planet for use in their products.

Rocks from the beginnings of time

A number of brands have already used meteorite fragments to produce dials, including Jaquet Droz, Parmigiani and Corum. But Louis Moinet, a brand that draws much inspiration from the world of astronomy, goes one better with its Sideralis Evo model. This watch has the only double tourbillon in the world that powers a special complication, driving counter-rotating discs on the same dial. The lower disc depicts the Moon, Mars and Mercury using fragments of rock from outer space, the oldest of which from Sahara 99555, also known as the “Rosetta Stone”, is a staggering 4,566,200,000 years old!


Petrified wood is the next big thing

As luxury brands constantly search for new inspiration the artistic crafts have been reinvented over and over again as craftsmen search for new materials to cut up and stick back together in different forms of marquetry. In recent years we have seen wood marquetry, feather marquetry and even eggshell marquetry. For its latest watch winder model, however, RDI Charles Kaeser goes a step further by using petrified wood that is 225 million years old!
In 2015, Corum restored its popular Bubble watch with three brand new versions. One of them was that the Corum Bubble Skeleton. The Bubble watch has become something of an icon for Corum and it’s not tough to see why – particularly with this domed sapphire crystal. For 2017, Corum is upgrading the Bubble Skeleton, also known as the Corum Bubble 47 Squelette watch, by offering it in 3 new bright colorways and at a lower price than the 2015 Bubble Skeleton.Corum, in the event you have forgotten, was acquired by China Haidian Holdings (currently called Citychamp Watch & Jewellery Group Limited) at 2013. Following the acquisition, the brand set about consolidating its own collection and seeking to construct a more concentrated portfolio of products. The Bubble view was revived as a part of that. The choice to generate the Bubble watch a priority is a pretty astute one, in my opinion. A strong, different look is one of the hallmarks of a successful watch and also the Bubble watch surely fulfills this requirement as a result of its striking domed sapphire crystal.Therefore, the new Corum Bubble 47 Squelette watches for 2017 do not stray far from this formulation. These new watches come in the same 47mm case as the Bubble watches from 2015. Made from stainless steel, it is a pretty generic looking round case, and the only really noteworthy thing about it’s the large bubble-shaped crown.The dial is where most of the changes are found. While the old Bubble Skeleton needed a rather plain skeletonized grey dial, the new Corum Bubble 47 Squelette watches will include brightly colored dials. There are 3 colorways, but the differences between the three are quite minor. If you look closely, you can see that the main skeletonized plate is blue, but the smaller plates and bridges are painted in blue, black, green, or purple, depending on the reference.The other main difference is in the palms. The Bubble Skeleton view from 2015 had skeletonized hands, but the newest Corum Bubble 47 Squelette watches have solid hands painted with Super-Luminova in precisely the same color as the watch’s movement plates. Another enjoyable detail concerning the newest Corum Bubble 47 Squelette watches would be that the lollipop-style moments hand, which also has Super-Luminova painted at the same colour as the motion plates. The hands are also incredibly big, presumably to increase legibility against the skeletonized dial.

This rock was created as entire forests were preserved as fossils, keeping a unique combination of metals and minerals that give it a distinct colour and pattern. It serves as the decoration on a unique piece in the RDI “Mémoire” collection that weights in at a solid 3 kilos with its soft-black metal columns and open front. The RDI Mémoire watch winder runs on 2 AA batteries or mains electricity and offers a variety of winding programmes to suit any mechanical watch movement. This unique piece is available for CHF 6,500.


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