The new piece from the Artya Complications collection does have a strong technical side since it includes a flying tourbillion feature, yet its greatest value lays in its pronounced artistic side and its uniqueness. It features the face which is embellished with a gold marquetry technique where colorful pieces of different gold alloys are cut in elegant shapes and placed on a blued steel background to create a striking neo-Renaissance ornamental ensemble. The man behind this lovely decorated dial is a master engraver Bram Ramon. Not only that this is the one-piece edition watch and therefore the only one that features Ramon’s art, it is also the first ever watch to have its dial decorated in such way. All of these traits contribute to the high price of Artya Complications Gold Marquetry Tourbillon which is set at about $206,750.
The novelty created by the company led by Yvan Arpa is renowned for its quirky and imaginative creations that still have strong horological substance and this novelty is a great example for such a claim. It is based around a proprietary movement with a flying tourbillion and it is then further enriched with a unique decoration that cannot be seen on any other watch on the market. Despite the trend to see more and more ornamental techniques, even those of olden days revived on modern high-end timekeepers, Artya Complications Gold Marquetry Tourbillon is the only wristwatch so far to be beautified with the use of the gold marqutery. Previously, we have seen some timekeepers that showed off skilled work of the masters of wood marquetry and even straw marquetry. However, Artya Complications Gold Marquetry Tourbillon is the premier one to feature the gold marquetry decorative technique for its dial. To my knowledge, the only other use of gold marquetry in creation of timekeepers in recent years is for Hermes Arceau Pocket Volutes watch, but in this case it was used to decorate the front covers of the piece and not its dial.
In order to make it possible to create such a unique timekeeper, the brand cooperated with the famed master engraver Bram Ramon. The Belgian had mastered his skill at the prestigious Liege school and subsequently rose to prominence with the exceptional work in several decorative techniques. For this project, Ramon used a blued steel surface as a background. This feature that is usually reserved for the decoration of the watches’ hands or the movement’s screws is pretty challenging since it requires precise exposure of the surface to the heat. Insufficient periods do not give the desired result, while too much exposure ruins the metal.
This sort of blued background, made of blued 316 L stainless steel, is visible on both the dial and the fixed bezel. As difficult as it might be to create, it is just a beginning stage in the creation of the watch’s ornaments. The next step in Ramon’s work was the addition of 24 K gold elements which are cut in decorative shapes by the master engraver. To make the composition look as captivating and colorful as it is possible, Ramon used different gold alloys. A close examination of the Artya watch reveals the use of yellow gold, green gold, pink gold and even some platinum, which makes the work much more challenging. The end result of the input of the artisan is quite captivating. Before Ramon created it for the newcomer from the Complications series, such decorations were used only for the decoration of exceptionally luxurious weapons of past which were reserved only for the nobility and the wealthiest.
Artya Complications Gold Marquetry Tourbillon would not be such a successful timekeeper without its strong horlogical basis, regardless of the uniqueness and the exceptional decorative technique that was used to ornament it. It is quite notable in this area as well, since it includes an in-house mechanical movement with a flying tourbillion feature. The caliber with 19 jewels operates at the rate of 21,600 vph and it features the respectable power reserve of 100 hours. The power supply that extends to four days makes the high-end piece much more functional since the wearer does not need to be constantly preoccupied about the state of the reserve. Furthermore, the movement likewise includes haute horlogerie finishes. These include the Cote de Geneve motif, perlage, as well as skeletonized back bridges which were utilized to allow better view on its flying tourbillion cage.
As for the housing of the watch, it is round and made of stainless steel and it is made with a lateral insert in the same material, but with black PVD coating. The housing is 44 mm wide and it is made with a protection for the crown. Glare-proof sapphire is used for the crystal, as well as on the back side of the housing. Not surprisingly, the watch is not water resistant. It should be also said that the supported functions of the watch with a colorful dial with a blue basis are hours, minutes and seconds. While hours and minutes are displayed with the use of two skeletonized central hands with luminous tips, the seconds are shown via tourbillion that has a one-minute period of rotation.
Artya Complications Gold Marquetry Tourbillon is paired with a genuine crocodile black strap which locks with a steel clasp. The unique timekeeper has the price tag of CHF 200,000.