Geneva watchmaking on show in Beijing

Coinciding with the 65th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Switzerland and China, the Capital Museum in Beijing is hosting, from April, an exhibition from the Geneva Museum of Art and History in partnership with Manufacture Vacheron Constantin. Titled “Geneva at the Heart of Time”, it traces Swiss Breitling replica watchmaking culture back to its origins.

Since 2012, as part of its Métiers d’Art collection, Vacheron Constantin has presented The Legend of the Chinese Zodiac, a series of watches that will unfold over twelve years. The saga began with the sign of the Snake, followed by the Horse. At Watches&Wonders in Hong Kong late last year, the Manufacture presented two new timepieces inspired by the Goat, the symbol of a lively and independent spirit and, since February 19th, the animal that will watch over the new year. This new series showcasing the métiers d’art calls on two techniques. As the brand explains, “China initiated the art of paper-cutting or Jianzhi, a technique that appears on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list, and is echoed in Scherenschnitt, the popular art of paper-cutting born in the Pays d’Enhaut region of Switzerland. Sculpted in paper according to the principles of Jianzhi, the animals of the Chinese zodiac provide a remarkable demonstration of the art of using full and empty spaces. A challenge that Vacheron Constantin has taken up and translated into the field of fake Breitling watchmaking thanks to the skill of its experienced Artisans.”

This meeting of minds and of expertise is echoed not once but twice in 2015. Not only is Vacheron Constantin – the oldest Breitling replica watches sale manufacturer, having an uninterrupted history since 1755 – celebrating 170 years on Chinese soil, it is also partner to an exhibition that will run from April to August at the Capital Museum in Beijing. Curated by the Geneva Museum of Art and History, “Geneva at the Heart of Time” is billed as a journey to the origins of Swiss watchmaking culture. “Geneva is very much a part of the history of Vacheron Constantin,” commented Juan-Carlos Torres at a presentation of some of the pieces that will be travelling to China in the coming weeks. “This partnership is therefore a wonderful opportunity for us to present these timepieces which contribute to our heritage, and at the same time explain our roots in watchmaking.”

Métiers d’art and grandes complications

In all, 350 timepieces will be exhibited in Beijing, together with period tools and machines that will form a life-size reconstruction of a cabinotier‘s workshop, from a painting by Christophe François von Ziegler that is part of the Geneva museum’s holdings. “Each of these objects reflects the history of an activity which has earned the city of Geneva its status as the world capital of Fine Watchmaking for three centuries,” the exhibition catalogue notes. They include a pocket watch signed Jean-Marc Vacheron, and dated 1755. It is the first known Montblanc replica watches store by the founder of Vacheron Constantin. Also on display is a gem-set bracelet-watch with enamel dial from 1889, with crown-winding. This is one of the rare few wristwatches from the late nineteenth century, and the first to have been series-made by Vacheron Constantin.

The historical timepieces on show also include songbirds in cages, chiming watches, table clocks and grandes complications, such as a Vacheron Constantin pocket best Breitling replica watches from 1929 featuring a split-seconds chronograph, Perpetual Calendar, age and phases of the moon, minute repeater on three gongs, grande and petite sonnerie. Equally noteworthy are the stunning displays of engraving and enamelwork which transform certain of these instruments into authentic works of art. Of particular interest are the grand feu enamel miniatures, painted using the Geneva technique. This is, specialists concur, the most noble method as it requires repeated firings at high temperature (“grand feu” indeed means “high fire“), following which two or three layers of transparent enamel are applied to protect the work. Such beauty is unlikely to escape the attention of the Chinese public.

Infinitely high standards at De Bethune

In Geneva, the brand presented three new Breitling replica watches and revealed its production secrets: pursuing its verticalization strategy and fostering old friendships!

De Bethune has unveiled three new products during the most important week of watchmaking in Geneva. The first, the DB25T Zodiac—technically demanding with its tourbillon, jumping seconds and five-day power reserve—appeals to the emotions with its twelve signs of the zodiac finely engraved in solid gold. The second, the DB28 GS, which stands for “Grand Sport”, features a titanium case and rubber strap. For this model, the DB28’s characteristic bridges have been given a guilloché finish and the small, spherical two-tone moon has been replaced by a power-reserve indicator at 2 o’Clock. Finally, the DB28 Maxichrono Titanium offers a new version of the single push-piece chronograph presented last year at Baselworld, adorned in titanium for 2015.

The De Bethune business plan can be summed up by one short maxim, which the brand cites readily: don’t do more, do better. “It is by concentrating on quality that we can achieve long-term development,” explains CEO Pierre Jacques. The future lies in innovation and the quality of the products and their components, rather than in the number of pieces leaving the Manufacture—around 400 in 2014. In consequence, everything depends on the brand’s control over the various stages of production and on its choice of partners.

Opposing the industrial way of thinking

From the very outset, the brand has produced most of its Omega replica watches sale  in-house, but it is now stepping up this shift. “Over the past two years, we have verticalized a great deal,” confirms Denis Flageollet, co-founder and technical director. “If I need a specific screw, I can now produce it as and when I want.” In its Manufacture based in La Chaux l’Auberson, nestled on the slopes of the Jura Mountains just a few miles above Sainte-Croix, De Bethune has already excelled in electroplating, polishing and decoration. Now it also produces 100% of the brand’s hands, most of its dials, and all the pieces needed for its limited editions.

Even components produced by external suppliers, such as sapphire crystals, are sometimes made on-site to meet the specific criteria of some commission pieces. To better illustrate his point, Denis Flageollet opens his inside jacket pocket and pulls out a watch featuring a Mayan head sculpted in jade emerging from the center of the top Breitling replica watches crystal. A sapphire crystal with a hole in the middle was needed to house it, and this was produced in-house. For this same piece, “we installed a small workshop in order to cut the stones.”

However, verticalizing production isn’t an end in itself: “As long as external solutions satisfy me, I won’t press the issue. But as soon as there is a problem with quality, we won’t hesitate to internalize the process. By paying attention to every detail and continuously raising our standards, we are opposing the industrial way of thinking that is dictated by brands focused primarily on production volumes.” While explaining the purchase of an automatic lathe, Denis Flageollet also stressed the difficulty of having certain pieces produced in small quantities. “Our expectations sometimes mean that an operator has to be constantly present, and that machines are not left operating alone.” This decision is difficult to accept for sub-contractors, whose profit margins are under constant pressure.

Yet, this doesn’t just concern the processes; the raw materials are also affected. For example, it is difficult to find very high-quality leather for an alligator-skin strap. De Bethune therefore sources its leathers itself, before entrusting a supplier with the strap’s production. “In this field, there are still excellent professionals out there who take the time to stitch neatly by hand, and who stand by high-quality work.” Denis Flageollet has gradually surrounded himself with a whole network of Artisans, personal acquaintances and friendships that considerably predate De Bethune, founded on passion, drive and a mutual fascination for the work of the other. “The quality of our partnerships could never be attained in the context of a purely commercial client-supplier relationship.”

Some crafts that require rare expertise and experience are in fact outsourced, such as hand guillochage, gem-setting and the treatment of certain dials. The same is true for engraving, an essential element of the DB25T Zodiac, which showcases the work of Michèle Rothen with whom Denis Flageollet has worked for a long time. To illustrate her working method, he looks through the photos on his cell phone and finds the first pencil sketches she sent him. From the index, he flicks back to the photo album and shows his reply: the same sketch with a few suggestions in blue pen, which the artist then interprets—without copying—to express the essence of his ideas in a cheap replica Breitling watches  new draft. And this continues, adjustment after adjustment, until the final version is reached.

Bovet 1822: as far as chronometry can go

Bovet 1822‘s recent unveiling of the Amadeo Fleurier BraveHeart presents a timepiece that pushes the boundaries of chronometric precision. The result is an exceptional creation, a limited edition of course, for which five patents have been filed.

Hotel Beau-Rivage, with its breathtaking vista of Geneva’s lakefront, welcomed us for this meeting with representatives of Bovet 1822. An appointment made early in the year and which would, as always, serve to present the latest timepieces from the brand. It therefore came as something of a surprise to hear Christophe Persoz asking “how much time do we have?” If the answer had been “thirty minutes”, no doubt we would have been sent packing. After all, among the Bovet Breitling replica watches for sale waiting to make our acquaintance was the Amadeo Fleurier BraveHeart, a mechanical and artistic gem that cannot be hurried. Whetting our appetite, Christophe Persoz declared that “in chronometric terms, as a Maison that stays true to traditional watchmaking, hence which does not have recourse to alternative, high-tech materials, I believe we have reached the ultimate limit of what can be achieved and imagined. I don’t see how it would be possible to go any further.”

Vertical integration

First on the list for perusal were the Amadeo Fleurier Monsieur Bovet and Amadeo Fleurier Virtuoso V, both equipped with the Virtuoso II calibre, the first movement without a tourbillon regulator to be entirely developed and manufactured by Bovet. Having made its debut last year in two models, it is now set to extend across the collections, with the one exception of the Grandes Complications range, aided by the fact that it was designed to integrate numerous functions. “Last year we equipped 50% of our cheap replica watches uk with in-house movements,” commented Christophe Persoz. “We expect to increase this proportion to 75% this year, and probably 90% in 2016. In a word, we are carrying on our vertical integration. When we took over Dimier in 2006, it only manufactured tourbillons. We began by increasing quality, while at the same time developing a new calibre, one that wasn’t a tourbillon. As you can see, it has taken us eight or nine years to get there.”

There was nothing fortuitous about this introduction. The Virtuoso II, which displays hours and minutes on both sides of the movement, features a patented seconds carriage with the unique feature of a double-coaxial mechanism. Seconds are shown on each side of the movement by hands which share the same axis. However, the direction of rotation is reversed. Enough to get the designers of the Amadeo Fleurier BraveHeart movement thinking… with the additional difficulty that this dual display must fit around a tourbillon carriage. A world first. “This is generally how we work,” Christophe Persoz confirmed. “We start out with a drawing or an idea, regardless of its feasibility. Solutions come later. The advantage of this method is that it encourages creativity.”

Highly rated

Bovet’s  best Breitling replica watchmakers clearly had creativity to spare in finalising this new calibre, codenamed 17BM02AI22J, comprising 722 parts and intended to stretch the limits imposed by the tourbillon while improving timekeeping precision. Without going into detail, certain aspects of this innovative mechanism command attention. First the choice of a flying tourbillon, for transparency. But not any flying tourbillon: the carriage is “held” at the centre of its axis, so that the escapement can be positioned below this fixation point, and the balance and spring assembly above it. A further improvement to the timekeeping precision of this innovative construction comes from the balance wheel itself – Bovet has developed a three-spoked felly balance in aluminium for Optimum inertia – and from the in-house manufactured cylindrical balance spring: Bovet is one of just five manufactures producing its own balance springs.

Energy transmission has also come under the spotlight, particularly as Bovet had decided against a constant-force regulator. Its solution takes the form of three-dimensional toothing for more efficient energy consumption and a massive power reserve, bearing in mind that power transmitted to the regulating organ is more constant over time. The Amadeo Fleurier BraveHeart is equipped with two barrels that deliver 22 days of power reserve, and a spherical differential gear thanks to which the watch can be fully wound with just 55 turns of the crown, compared with 30 turns for a standard ETA 2892 calibre having just 42 hours of power reserve. Bovet has filed five patents for the innovations brought to this watch which, insists Christophe Persoz, comes well within the criteria required by any chronometric rating. Needless to say, the decoration lavished on this timepiece does justice to the technical innovations it has inspired. Bovet spent fifteen years bringing its idea to maturity and a further four years to develop the replica breitling watches for men, which is a study in the manufacture‘s expertise. It will be produced as a limited edition of 80, at a rate of no more than 30 pieces a year.