Mt. Joy, Pennsylvania-based independent watchmaker RGM commemorates the 150th anniversary of Yellowstone National Park by launching a new watch with a hand-made cloisonné enamel dial that depicts a scene from the park.
The new RGM Yellowstone Model 25 is an automatic model from the watchmaker’s Model 25 series that RGM builds using American-made 40mm steel cases with distinctive ribbed sides, a contoured bezel and curved lugs.
Its large dial opening depicts a mountain view fronted by a buffalo, an image inspired by a Work Projects Administration (WPA) poster from the 1940s.
The WPA posters, now in the Library of Congress, were designed to publicize exhibits, community activities, theatrical productions, and health and educational programs in seventeen states and the District of Columbia.
RGM explains that cloisonné (‘to partition’ in French) is an enameling technique in which the outline of the design is formed by first adding compartments to the dial using wire. The wires remain visible in the finished piece. The artisan then adds the ‘cloisonné’, which is made with enamel powder made into a paste and kiln-fired.
The RGM Yellowstone Model 25 is a three-piece limited edition and the fourth watch RGM has released in celebration of its own thirtieth anniversary in 2022. Price: $13,900.
Specifications: RGM Yellowstone Model 25
Movement: Swiss-made automatic RGM-modified Caliber 1120 withRGM-made solid gold winding rotor, 28,800 vph, rhodium finish, Cote de Geneve and perlage finishes. Power Reserve of 42 hours.
Case: 40mm by 10.4mm American-made316L stainless steel, sapphire crystal front and back, water-resistant to 50 meters, steel crown with Keystone insignia.
Dial: Cloisonné center with Breguet line guilloche on chapter ring. Rhodium hands are matte-finished.
Scottish watchmaker AnOrdain expands its Model 2 field watch with a slightly larger case size, new typography and a new slate of dial colors inspired by nature.
Initially launched in 2019 with a 36mm case, the AnOrdain Model 2 is the watchmaker’s classic field watch that emphasizes its highly visible dial and rigorous case.
In addition to the larger case option, this latest generation of the Model 2 also features a few small design upgrades, in part made to meet customer suggestions.
Notably, you’ll see a new minute track and a seconds hand, both of which upgrade the watch’s basic functionality. And the typography here differs from the earlier edition with the introduction of a font inspired by 1950s industrial equipment (including a laboratory clock belonging to AnOrdain founder Lewis Heath’s scientist grandfather).
Even while scaling the design to 39.5mm in diameter, AnOrdain retains the Model 2’s look with its characteristic rounded lugs, large crown protectors and broad, curving bezel curved to seamlessly mesh into the double-domed sapphire crystal.
As with all of this independent watchmaker’s designs, the Model 2 also features a customized hand design and a stunning hand-wrought dial. First, let’s take a look at the hands.
Called ‘syringe-style’, the watch’s in-house-designed hands are unusual. Each hand is characterized by a tapered void with a luminous tip that projects outward. It appears to form the shape of a hand holding a fountain pen.
“The hands were prototyped in-house before the final design was sent to a hand manufacturer in the Swiss watchmaking town of La Chaux- de-Fonds, where the blanks are made,” explains AnOrdain in its press material. “The hands are sent back in raw steel form and are heat-treated in-house to protect from rust and tarnish.”
The hands’ luminous paint, hand-applied to each tip, is another unusual feature and one rarely seen on blued steel.
While much of AnOrdain’s early buzz among collectors focused, at least in part, on its eye-catching handmade fume dials, the watchmaker’s enamel dials are also notably rich for such an affordably priced collection.
Each of the Model 2’s dials is made individually by a single master enameller and can take several days to complete. And, to further differentiate AnOrdain designs from those of other watchmakers, AnOrdain says that it purposefully veered from making a traditional white enamel color for the collection, opting for a more opaque white dial.
The new collection will also be available with new colors, including the previously mentioned opaque white, racing green, grey haar and flax (above). A haar, in case you’re not familiar with the modifier, refers to a grey fog settling off the Scottish coast and is a term particularly suitable to the Glasgow-based AnOrdain.
AnOrdain continues to fit an automatic Sellita SW210 movement into the watch, regardless of case diameter. AnOrdain will make about 200 Model 2 watches per year. Prices: £1,700 (about $2,217) for the 36mm model and £1,800 (about $2,350) for the 39.5mm model.
Specifications: AnOrdain Model 2
Dial: Vitreous enamel on copper or silver. Custom-made, heat-treated hands finished with SuperLuminova tips.
Movement: Automatic Sellita SW-210-1 with Incabloc shock protection.
Case: 36mm or 39.5mm steel with brushed or polished finish. Sapphire crystal with 6 layers of anti-reflective coating. Solid screw-in caseback with optional engraving. Fifty meters of water resistance.
Louis Erard adds a new model, the Enamel Grand Feu II, to its Excellence series of limited edition watches created with hand-made grand feu enamel dials.
The latest model, with a dial that echoes a slightly larger version released last year, is a steel-cased 39mm time-only watch with a white dial that features the existing design’s blue markers, but adds a red XII and a few red lines of the small seconds display at six o’clock.
The watch’s rich dial and its deep colors are the result of a firing process in a kiln set at more than 800°C. The colors result from deposits of small layers of silica, oxides and potassium that, after firing, are fixed forever and permanently bonded to their metal base.
This grand feu technique is usually utilized for watches priced higher than those offered by this small independent watchmaker. However Louis Erard has found success offering a series of moderately priced limited editions that boast partnerships with watchmakers (including Vianney Halter and Alain Silberstein), notable designers and with small-batch grand feu dials.
With this strategy, the Le Noirmont watchmaker continues to raise its profile among collectors in search of relatively affordable watches with truly original, eye-catching designs.
The dials are made by Donzé Cadran, an art enameller based in Le Locle and purchased in 2011 by Ulysse Nardin. Inside Louis Erard places a Sellita automatic movement, visible through a clear sapphire caseback.
The watch boasts the brand’s signature ‘fir tree’ hands in blued steel and comes on an brilliant red grained calf leather strap with blue stitching and lined in Louis Erard’s signature blue grained calf leather.
In the late 1990s Michel Parmigiani, founder of Parmigiani Fleurier, acquired a late 19th century grande sonnerie and minute repeater movement created by famed watchmaker Louis-Elisée Piguet.
That complicated movement, which was never encased in a pocket watch, remained on Parmigiani’s to-do list for restoration until earlier this year when Guido Terreni, the company’s newly named CEO, embarked on a project to help the brand celebrate its twenty-fifth anniversary.
Terreni and Parmigiani quickly enlisted the Piguet movement as the heart of the project.
After nearly a year of painstaking restoration and artisanal craftsmanship, the Fleurier-based watchmaker has released the La Rose Carrée, a 64mm white gold double hunter pocket watch with the fully restored Piguet caliber set within a newly designed case coated in translucent grand feu enamel.
Named after the Rose Carrée or “squared rose” engraved pattern seen on the case and movement, the one-of-a-kind watch Is coated by three or four layers of blue grand feu enamel (applied by artistic enameller Vanessa Lecci) to add depth and rich color to the engraving work.
According to Terreni, the square roses pattern found throughout the watch follows the Golden Spiral, a derivative of the Golden Ratio, which has long been favored by Michel Parmigiani.
One cover opens to reveal the black onyx dial, white gold hands and a small-seconds subdial outlined in white gold. The second cover opens to frame the beautifully engraved movement with a mainplate and the bridges displaying the thematic Rose Carrée pattern.
Notable too is the blue-sapphire-set crown and an unusual square-link chain entirely handcrafted by Swiss traditional chain maker Laurent Jolliet.
Jaeger-LeCoultre recently added an exceptional Japanese-sourced miniature enamel painting to the caseback of a white gold Reverso, expanding the watchmaker’s artisanal and eclectic Reverso Tribute collection.
On the back of the new Reverso Tribute Enamel Hokusai Kirifuri Waterfall, a limited edition of ten pieces, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Rare Handcrafts artisans have reproduced a woodblock print of the Kirifuri Waterfall made by Katsushika Hokusai in the early 1830s.
To transfer the image, the artisans first needed to perfectly scale the image from its original woodblock size to fit the Reverso’s caseback. This required reproducing the image to a size one-tenth of the original. And if you look at the image, you’ll see that part of that challenge meant also miniaturizing a group of small human figures pictured at the base of the waterfall.
After more than seventy hours of work (per piece), the enamel artisans met that challenge.
On the Reverso’s flipside, artisans decorated the dial with a wavy guilloché pattern that nicely echoes the effect of moving water. Jaeger-LeCoultre reports that this was done by hand using a century-old lathe with a specially tooled cam. The artisan amplified the wavy effects with layers of translucent grand feu enamel in a soft shade of green that perfectly matches the painting on the reverse side.
The watchmaker adds that it takes five working hours to perfect the guilloché, followed by eight working hours for the layers of translucent green enamel.
The resulting rich green dial, paired with pristine enamel Kirifuri Waterfall painting on the caseback, combine to create yet another visual treat from Jaeger-LeCoultre.
Almost hidden beneath all this beauty is decades of Reverso dual-side case design and the robust manually wound Caliber 822, which powers a simple two-hand dial. All told, a stunning package.