Many brands claim to make unique products, but few can say that almost all of its creations are true one-offs. And this is the case with DeLaneau, the Geneva-based watch house, which has made a name for itself by creating highly individual watches.
Its main focus is women's watches, in itself unusual, and even more so when you realise that many of them are decorated with meticulously painted Grand Feu enamel dials. Look at one through a loupe and it is clear that each is a miniature work of art.
This year, inspired by Impressionist paintings, DeLaneau's artists have created a series of watches called 'Flower Fields'. The soft, hazy colours of tulip and poppy fields in the summer heat are captured in these diminutive paintings, which look as beautiful from a distance as they do close up.
The theme is carried across both the rectangular Atame case shape as well as the Rondo in both white and red gold and varying amounts of diamond settings. I like the fact that the approach to watches is so in tune with what women want that even the colours of the straps are carefully selected for a congruous whole.
These remarkable dials are the work of a team of three in-house enamellists, who sit silently in their first floor atelier overlooking the lake in Geneva. Shelves hold rows of jars filled with brilliantly coloured powder enamels, and each artist begins by grinding the selected colour powder to the right consistency in an old-fashioned pestle and mortar.
Afterwards, the enamel is mixed to the right consistency to form a paint and, using a paintbrush - often consisting of only a few hairs - the colours are applied to the gold disc that will become the watch dial. The colours are then fired, one by one, until the final painting is complete - a painstaking process that requires the soul of an artist and the precision of a watchmaker.