There are different perceptions of what denotes a true luxury product and, for some, a substantial price tag alone doesn’t quite sate the appetite. The definition of luxury for these people becomes a search for something unique, - the pursuit of an inimitable object that nobody else can own.
I have had the immense fortune to live the experience of co-creation at DeLaneau. See the watch of my dreams slowly come to life in our video below.
What is a customised watch?
Referred to as tailor-made, bespoke, customised, personalised and made-to-measure (m2m) watches, there are very different interpretations of the concept, with varying levels and degrees of customisation. For some, personalising a watch might involve little more than changing the strap. At DeLaneau, however, the experience of customisation is taken to a much higher level and clients can literally build their watch from the ground up, choosing the movement inside the case, the number of complications and the artwork they wish to see on the dial.
A helpful metaphor comes from the world of fashion: DeLaneau watches are the closest you can get to the realm of haute couture, while services offered by other companies are closer in spirit to a prêt-à-porter outfit, allowing you to change certain details of a product that already exists.
100% customised women’s watches
When it comes to total customisation liberty, DeLaneau Geneva is your destination. Renowned for its luxurious women’s watches decorated with hand-painted enamel dials, the sky is the limit at DeLaneau. Clients are involved in every last detail of their watch: the decoration of the dial; the enamelling technique involved to execute the dial; the choice of movement; the shape of the case; the precious metal of the case; the gemstones; the buckle and strap.
A great deal of research goes into each timepiece, and the artist and enameller record their creative journey in notebooks with sketches, colour selections and all sorts of technical details, such as enamel firing times, which are then compiled in a folder and presented to the customer along with their watch.
The art of enamelling in Geneva
A hallowed tradition in Geneva, it is no coincidence that DeLaneau has made enamelling its forte. In-house enameller Florence Huguenot is a master of all the enamelling techniques and takes great pride in explaining the different aspects of each in order for the customer to understand better which will work best for her dial.
In the case of my watch dial, Florence used a combination of techniques. For the background, paillonné enamel was used, which involves applying wafer-thin leaves of gold and silver to create texture and light and painting over them with transluscent enamel. To recreate the Roman figure I had chosen for my dial, Florence used grisaille enamelling in which layers of monochrome enamel, in this case white, are applied to the darker background. The effect of grisaille enamel, as you can see in the video, creates an almost ghostly, transparent figure, sealed for eternity on the dial of my watch.
Every detail of a DeLaneau watch - from the artwork, the case and the gemstones through to the type of movement and strap - can be chosen by the customer.
Preliminary studies of the chosen motif to adorn the dial of your customised watch guide the hand of Florence Huguenot, the enameller at DeLaneau.