For the past 100 years, the watch manufacturer Schwarz Etienne has strived to channel its century-old tradition into a constantly evolving watchmaking art. From the very beginning to the present day, its moto has kept the company on an upward trajectory in the luxury watch market.
The company was founded in 1902 in La Chaux-de-Fonds, by Paul Arthur Schwarz and wife Olga Etienne. The name unsurprisingly is a combination of their surnames.
After the business was taken over by their sons in 1940, Schwarz Etienne progressively prospered across Europe, Asia, and the Near-East. In the middle of the 1960s, the watch manufacturer enjoyed growing success and several prestigious clients from sometimes opposing ends of the scale such as the Vatican and Leonid Brezhnev.
Alongside the brands it owned (Venus, Alpha, Sultana Le Phare, and Astin), Schwarz Etienne’s reputation also rose through the partnerships, dedicating a substantial part of its business to the supply of movements to big brands, such as Chanel, Dunhill, Mauboussin and Caran d’Ache.
After a period of diversification of its production in the 1970s and 1980s and in order to mitigate the watchmaking crisis of the era, in 1985 the company decided to return to its roots of the creation of movements and watches. In the years to follow, Schwarz Etienne developed its own brand and its own collections, and progressively became a watch manufacturer in its own right, exploiting its major strengths: creativity, innovation, and know-how.
Fast forward to 2007 when a Chaux-de-Fonds businessman with a passion for fine watches, Raffaello Radicchi, bought the Schwarz Etienne company with aspirations to produce exceptional watches. Since then, the company introduced several new exclusive models and new calibres and has gone from strength to strengths.
Back to the 70s
One of the models that have captured our attention at The Watchmaker’s Club in London is the exquisitely imaginative “Ode to the 70’s“. The watch is a homage to the probably most inspirational and influential part of the 20th Century – a celebration of colour, freedom, fun as well as refined watchmaking.
Underneath the swirling, psychedelic cloisonné fired enamel patterns, there is a microcosmos of extremely advanced watchmaking that includes a micro-rotor, flying tourbillion and wealth of other technical virtuosity.
According to the company, this watch is the latest chapter in the company’s poetic series of watches, Ode to the Week, a set of seven tourbillons, one for each day of the week and, more recently, Ode to Spring. Each of these timepieces couples the Manufacture’s mechanical intrepidity with the emotional wonder of métiers d’art.
True to the spirit of the manufacture, the Ode to the 70’s reflects upon a period when creativity was prized and unconventional was highly prized. Schwarz Etienne has conceived watches, free of inhibition, enriched with their own character.
The skills required for such fine enamel finish is simply staggering, not only is there the complication of different materials, surface areas to consider, but also predict the behaviour of the heated pigment once removed from the kiln. Once the disc has cooled, another compartment is filled with enamel powder paste, and the process is repeated taking great care to ensure the surface does not bubble or crack on the process.
Three, centrally located circlets detail the dial. One is an aperture for the flying tourbillon, the second reveals the partially exposed ratchet wheel and the third is the upper surface of the micro-rotor. The micro-rotor features the ‘peace’ symbol, is varnished in four colours and includes the mantra of the celebrated era- Peace & Love. Each dial is crafted by hand.
The housing is an 18-carat, 44mm white gold case. The departure from the norm continues in the form of blue jeans strap enhanced with hand painted ‘splashes’ applied by a specialist in miniature painting. The blue jeans strap has a red alligator lining and is completed with an 18-carat white gold folding buckle incorporating the Schwarz Etienne logo.
Limited to 23 pieces, this release offers a notable degree of exclusivity. Prospective clients can augment the individuality and celebrate freedom of expression and embrace the optimism of the 70s by specifying the colours of the watch face.
It is sure to go well with any length hair, bell-bottom pants, love beads and shirts that laced up at the front.
Collection Special Editions: Ode to the 70’s (Limited Editions – 23 pieces)
Movement: Manufactured flying tourbillon with micro-rotor “Irreversible” TSE 121.00, 34 jewels, 219 components
Functions: Hours, minutes, Micro-rotor at 9 o’clock
Case: White gold 18ct (44 mm)
Glass: Domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflection treatment on both sides
Dial: White gold 18ct dial, Grand feu enamel featuring both cloisonné and champlevé techniques, Micro-rotor with “Peace & love” logo varnished in four colours and “peace & love” and “ode to 70’s” engraved
Hands: Brass with rhodium treatment and Super-Luminova®
Strap: Blue jean with hand painted splashes with red alligator lining
Buckle: Folding buckle in white gold 18ct with Schwarz Etienne logo
Water resistance: 5 ATM / 50 m
For further information, visit: http://www.schwarz-etienne.ch
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