Prehistoric materials A piece of history
Some luxury brands are going to great lengths to make their products even more exclusive by using unusual materials whose age is measured in millions of years.
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!
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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Corum takes aesthetic daring to the heights of technical perfection. Through a number of collections, drawing on the fundamentals of traditional watchmaking, the manufacture continues to pursue its...Find out more >
An elegant, outward-looking philosophy that dates back to the Age of Enlightenment is still at the heart of Jaquet Droz's identity. The fine and rare handcrafts practiced at the company’s workshops...Find out more >
Ateliers Louis Moinet was born out of the passion of one man, and this is clearly to be seen in each of its creations. The Maison takes the concept of exclusivity to its height, producing only...Find out more >
One of the more recent success stories of the Swiss watchmaking industry, Parmigiani Fleurier emerged from the close relationship between watchmaker Michel Parmigiani and the Sandoz Family Foundation.Find out more >
A family firm based in Switzerland, RDI is active in the watch accessory business, notably producing high-quality winders for mechanical watches.Find out more >