Guilloché has been practised since the 15th century. This artistic craft consists in engraving regular, repetitive patterns with a machine, hence the difference with hand-engraving. For hand-guilloché, a craftsman drives the machine with a wheel and guides the piece to be engraved by hand. Engraved with a CNC machine, the pattern will be perfect, always the same. With hand-guilloché, each piece becomes unique, the gift of imperfection being authenticity. Today a handful of expert craftsmen preserve this sacrosanct art in a limited number of ateliers, for instance, at Breguet, Metalem or Comblémine. We are taking a look at five recently introduced watches displaying magnificent guilloche dials.
Breguet Classique 7137 Moon & Power Reserve
Even though Breguet did not invent guillochage, he was the first to use this technique in watchmaking. Today, the brand preserves and perpetuates this traditional craft. A large team of artisans work on antique rose engine-turning machines, which have been restored and modernized. The brand’s manufacture in l’Orient houses what is most likely the largest and most impressive engine-turning atelier in Switzerland. The result of their work is simply magnificent as, for instance, the new versions of the Classique 7137 Moon & Power Reserve. Housed in a 39mm gold case, its dial combines different patterns and off-centred indications creating a harmonious balance. The watch is powered by the automatic calibre 502.3 with an original off-centred guilloché gold rotor.
Quick facts: 39mm gold case – automatic extra-thin calibre 502.3 DR.1 (in-house) with hours, minutes, moon phase, date and power reserve indications – alligator strap with gold folding buckle – EUR 39,000
Czapek Quai des Bergues Aurora Borealis
Czapek has produced numerous guilloché dial watches and stands out for creating new original hand-guilloché patterns over the past few years. This is the case for its Guilloché Ricochet as well as the recent Aurora Borealis whose pattern was developed with Metalem. The dial’s distinctive irregular pattern is engraved on Czapek’s secret alloy made of gold, silver, palladium and platinum. The limited edition watch comes in a 42.5mm stainless steel case and is powered by the Czapek SXH1 calibre with 7 days of power reserve.
Quick facts: 42.5mm steel case – hand-wound calibre SXH1 (proprietary manufactured with Chronode) with hours, minutes, small seconds, day of the week, power reserve indication – alligator strap with pin buckle – limited edition of 10 pieces – CHF 16,000
De Bethune DB28XP Tourbillon
On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the model, De Bethune released a set of three new DB28 watches, extra-thin versions distilling the essence of this emblematic timepiece. Among these, the De Bethune DB28XP Tourbillon is directly inspired by the DB28 Digitale. The 43mm polished titanium case features characteristic floating lugs. The elegant dial comes with a classic white barley grain guilloché decor highlighted by a blued-polished titanium hour chapter ring. The hand-wound calibre DB2009v4 is regulated by a 30-second tourbillon beating at 36,000 vibrations per hour. Its autonomy is of 5 days when fully wound. Splendid!
Quick facts: 43mm titanium case – hand-wound calibre DB2009v4 (in-house) with hours, minutes and tourbillon – alligator strap with pin buckle – CHF 180,000
Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Tourbillon Slate
Over the past couple of years, Parmigiani Fleurier has offered exquisite slate-coloured engine-turned dial versions of some of its Toric models. These watches stand out with their warm colour and no-compromise craftsmanship. Among the latest additions to these series is the Toric Slate Tourbillon, a 25-piece limited edition with a sleek design. The 42.8mm gold case features a knurled bezel and houses the calibre PF517, an extra-thin automatic movement with micro-rotor. It is regulated by a one-minute flying tourbillon originally positioned at 7 o’clock.
Quick facts: 42.8mm gold case – automatic calibre PF517 (in-house) with hours, minutes, small seconds on the tourbillon – alligator strap with gold pin buckle – limited edition of 25 pieces – CHF 130,000
Urban Jurgensen 1140 champagne dial
A Monochrome team favourite, the Urban Jurgensen 1140 has been released in an unapologetically elegant champagne dial limited edition. The hand-guilloché dial features a central area with a wave pattern, a small seconds counter with a basket weave pattern, a circular brushed chapter ring and applied solid white gold Breguet Arabic numerals. The blued steel hands are fitted with a click-mounted diamond polished eye on their tip. Presented in a 40mm steel case, the watch is powered by the P4 hand-wound calibre.
Quick facts: 40mm steel case – hand-wound calibre P4 (proprietary manufactured with Chronode) with hours, minutes and small seconds – suede strap with pin buckle – limited edition of 10 pieces – CHF 22,680