For watch fans and collectors, the notion of exclusivity is important. Having a watch that nobody else has is both a source of personal pride and in some cases a guarantee that your watch will always have a higher value than the standard model. The extra costs for the brand itself, however, may be limited just to the one-off production of a special dial or a special engraving on the case back. If you’re looking for an alternative to a unique piece that nevertheless has a touch of the unusual and gives you ultimate bragging rights, why not consider brands that are going to great lengths to source the most unusual materials on (and off) the planet for use in their products.
Rocks from the beginnings of time
A number of brands have already used meteorite fragments to produce dials, including Jaquet Droz, Parmigiani and Corum. But Louis Moinet, a brand that draws much inspiration from the world of astronomy, goes one better with its Sideralis Evo model. This watch has the only double tourbillon in the world that powers a special complication, driving counter-rotating discs on the same dial. The lower disc depicts the Moon, Mars and Mercury using fragments of rock from outer space, the oldest of which from Sahara 99555, also known as the “Rosetta Stone”, is a staggering 4,566,200,000 years old!
Petrified wood is the next big thing
As luxury brands constantly search for new inspiration the artistic crafts have been reinvented over and over again as craftsmen search for new materials to cut up and stick back together in different forms of marquetry. In recent years we have seen wood marquetry, feather marquetry and even eggshell marquetry. For its latest watch winder model, however, RDI Charles Kaeser goes a step further by using petrified wood that is 225 million years old!
Eventually, the motion. These brand new steel variations of this Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda 1950 include all the calibre PF702. The shape of the bridges, the design on the micro-rotor, the positioning of the technical elements, the variable-inertia equilibrium wheel or the finishing of the parts seem the same to me. However, Parmigiani announces the PF702 motion of the steel variations have 48h of electricity book (vs. 42h for its golden versions). It means an update of this mainspring or less energy intake. And that’s again fantastic news. For the rest, the motion is a joy for the eyes, with hand-finishings all around — polished chamfers, circular graining on the primary plate, Geneva stripes, polished sinks and screws… Undoubtedly pleasant.Now includes the final hammer stroke… The price of the Steel Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda 1950. Well, you’ll be able to receive them (white or black) to get 8,950 Euros (retail price). The Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda 1950 Galaxy Gold Bracelet and also the Tonda Métropolitaine Selene are the newest unofficial (possibly official at some point) “his and hers” dress watch offerings out of the brand. Interestingly, pricing is considerably lower than the previously released Tonda 1950 Galaxy Set.
This rock was created as entire forests were preserved as fossils, keeping a unique combination of metals and minerals that give it a distinct colour and pattern. It serves as the decoration on a unique piece in the RDI “Mémoire” collection that weights in at a solid 3 kilos with its soft-black metal columns and open front. The RDI Mémoire watch winder runs on 2 AA batteries or mains electricity and offers a variety of winding programmes to suit any mechanical watch movement. This unique piece is available for CHF 6,500.
Find a selection of RDI watch winders in our new WT-Shop