Venerable British jeweler and watchmaker Graff has debuted a beautiful new series of timepieces that honor animals the World Wildlife Fund classifies as under threat.
The GyroGraff Endangered Species collection is composed of five watches (four of which just debuted at Baselworld) featuring dials that depict the face of an elephant, a tiger, a panda, a gorilla, and a rhino.
The animal faces were fabricated using a combination of polished metal parts and gemstones, a technique Graff calls “diamond marquetry.” Each watch is unique in size, weight, and cut and features GyroGraff’s signature double-axis tourbillon, spherical moon-phase complications, and a power-reserve indicator at 1 o’clock.
The creation of each dial could have doubled as a gem-setter’s master class. The number of individual dial components varies: The gorilla has 139 components, the elephant has 135, the tiger has 127, and the panda has 112.
The dials feature between three and six gold mounts, and each mount holds a number of white or black gold plaquettes (small plates). And each plaquette bears a number that can be seen only under a microscope and that corresponds to the gold part or stone created specifically for it. Phew.
It is the gem-setter’s job to match these up during assembly, according to the company, and “There is no room for error.” Clearly!
Here’s how Graff builds the dials: The first layer is a background of midnight blue aventurine. Then the animal form is built up, piece-by-piece, “using the mounts, the plaquettes, and the decorative elements—diamonds, pieces made of polished rhodium-plated white gold or matte or micro-blasted black gold, and, only in the case of the tiger, cognac sapphires.”
Some of these pieces are impossibly small. The polished gold cabochon that makes up the elephant’s eye, for one, is a mere 0.9 mm across.
All five Endangered Species models boast a 48 mm white gold case decorated with invisible mosaic-set baguette-cut diamonds. And each watch comes on a black alligator strap with a diamond-set deployment clasp buckle.
We’ll take one of each, please.
Top: Graff GyroGraff Endangered Species Panda watch (all photos courtesy of Graff)@jckmagazine
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