The jewellery and special “artistic” watches are not everyone’s cup of tea, but the quality of the elaboration and the artistic value of DeLaneau timepieces are unquestionable.
David Gouten, the brand’s current CEO, was part of the team at Harry Winston who launched the famous Opus series and then later went on to work at Graff. DeLaneau is working on a special field of feminine horlogerie which is a niche within a niche, as he describes. Many fine watchmaking brands have beautiful enamel or specially engraved pieces but DeLaneau does nothing other than unique, unrepeatable miniature masterpieces for ladies. (Albeit some pieces can be considered unisex.)
The brand is relatively young, and has a history of a little over half a century. Its owners, Rolf and Yolanda Tschudin started off with the intention of creating outstanding pieces for private customers and collectors. They often use special materials and techniques, rare metals or gemstones. The brand’s own “enamelling atelier” was born in 2001, and in it a group of artists work whose work is rather exceptional. The enamellists have amazing knowledge about the colours, enamel powders, high-heat firing and they mix it with great patience.
Only a few people in the world are capable of painting these miniatures and using “fondant de finition”. “The under-flux enamelling technique was invented in Geneva in 1760. It consists of applying a layer of transparent enamel that covers the painting like a glaze and creates a glowing effect, since the vibrancy and brilliance of the colours are enhanced by the vitrified surface.” (Source: Patek Philippe Museum)
In 2002 with the legendary manufacturer Christophe Claret, they created a tourbillon especially for women that marks their commitment to Swiss mechanical movements. The tourbillon was enhanced by delicate gem setting and enamelling techniques.
DeLaneau’s motifs are inspired by nature, be it the Lotus, the Berries, the Magnolia or the Eclat and Magic creations. Since these watches are so unique it’s not easy to meet them. In Zürich, in the boutique of Les Ambassadeurs I had the chance to admire three pieces.
On the Rondo Garden of Eden Mokume Poppies, the flowers are made with hand engraving, involving a technique called mokume-gane. Mokume-gane originated from Japan, around the 17th century. It is a mixed-metal laminate with distinctive layered patterns. The specialty of the technique is that it includes many non-traditional components such as titanium, platinum, iron, bronze and various colours of gold including yellow, white, sage, and rose hues as well as sterling silver. The timepiece has a 42mm white gold case set around with 185 diamonds and houses an automatic movement.
The Dôme Green Butterfly Wing watch is part of the MOVEMENT collection. This collection is inspired by the gestures and motions of animals. The butterfly is interpreted in multiple layers of Grand Feu enamelling. The wings are decorated with tsavorites and diamond setting. The dôme red gold case set with 297 brilliant-cut diamonds houses an automatic movement. Its buckle is also decorated with diamonds.
The third piece is an Atame case set with diamonds and on the dial there is a blue-lilac bird, a blue butterfly and roses all around.
Photo credits: Loupiosity.com.
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