DeLaneau Rondo Translucent Bud
Angus Davies provides an in-depth review of the DeLaneau Rondo Translucent Bud. This watch captures the beauty of nature with an incredible transclucent enamel dial which reveals a gorgeous guilloché motif beneath.
This detailed review of the DeLaneau Rondo Translucent Bud includes live images, specification details and pricing.
Natural beauty usurps all man-made creations. This may sound a bizarre statement for a self-confessed admirer of haute horlogerie, but it is true. Leaves form into symmetrical shapes, spring blossom is fragrant and perennial flowers bloom every year. The miracle of nature is often taken for granted.
Capturing nature or a natural appearance requires skill, but the resultant outcome is wonderful. A young attractive lady with a face seemingly free of make-up may well be referred to as a “natural beauty”. Indeed, few in society elect to be perceived as false or artificial, for this is the regrettable result of excess. A lady clad in copious quantities of make-up or sporting a blatantly false appearance, courtesy of the surgeon’s scalpel, lacks authenticity and may, regrettably, be the cause for amusement.
To replicate nature and to appear natural demands great skill. Recently, I had the opportunity to see incredible artisans, based in Geneva, accurately depicting wildlife and floral scenes on the dials of ladies’ watches. DeLaneau is the home to artistic talents which skilfully use an array of enamelling techniques to reproduce delightful scenes from the natural world.
Estelle Tonelli (Deputy Managing Director of DeLaneau) and Angus Davies
However, to use words such as “reproduce” or “replicate”, highlights the limitation of the English language, for there is nothing inferior or fake about these depictions of our world, these artistic creations have a validity which distinguishes them as unique.
Enamelling can take many forms, cloisonné, champlevé, flinqué, grisaille, miniature painting, paillonnee and plique-à-jour. Several of these rare crafts can be found at DeLaneau. The small Swiss brand is known for its “mastery of Grand Feu”.
Florence Huguenot – Master Enameler
An artisan will deftly use a brush, in some instances with only one hair, to apply one shade to the dial. This may consist of one microscopic dot of colour or a series of dots, applied to a minuscule area.
The colours used are purchased in powdered form and contain metallic oxides to produce certain hues. For example, copper makes greens and turquoise. The master enameler is a little like an alchemist, preparing the enamel in a pestle and mortar, washing it with distilled water, dissolving any impurities with nitric acid and then rinsing it once more with distilled water until the coloured emulsion is ready for application.
After a colour has been applied to the surface, it is subject to firing in a kiln. Temperatures will vary depending on the task being performed, but temperatures in excess of 800°C are the norm. Enamelling is not a precise science, colours will change shade but not always in a uniform way. The master enameler will learn, through years of experience, when to remove the metal dial from the kiln. Indeed, they acquire this intuition by having an almost empathetic understanding of what is happening to the surface of the dial.
The recurrent application of colours to the metal dial surface and repeated firings is time consuming and necessitates much patience. The heating and subsequent cooling of the enamel is critical to avoid bubbling, cracking or unintended colours resulting.
The finished dial is the spell-binding conclusion of the patient temperament and adroit hand-eye coordination of an accomplished artisan. The process is time consuming but seldom does perfection come from expedience.
A selection of DeLaneau unique piéces
DeLeaneau Rondo Jellyfish Plique à Jour Pièce Unique
ref RON42001 RG PL104
DeLeaneau Rondo Garden of Eden – Magnolia – Pièce Unique
ref RON36001 WG FAN03
DeLeaneau Seahorse Plique à Jour – Pièce Unique
ref RON42001 WG PL105
Returning to the dial of this particular model, the DeLaneau Rondo Translucent Bud, DeLaneau has captured the geometric splendour of a budding flower. The dial surface has first been subject to the guillocher’s dextrous hands with fine intersecting lines faithfully capturing the promise of a flower yet to bloom.
In this instance, a translucent enamel, exhibiting a verdant green hue has been carefully applied to the surface of the guilloché, allowing the fine patterned detail underneath to be readily discerned. The result is a dial surface which engages with light in a masterful way, orchestrating the sun’s rays with a beguiling effect. The dial has a delightful depth to its appearance and the contrasting tones created by the fusion of guilloché and grand feu enamel are incredible. Only by cradling the watch can one truly appreciate the majesty of this creation.
Just below noon, a laser-drilled hole is applied to the dial surface and a sole diamond drop is positioned. Framed in red gold, it further enhances the appearance of the timepiece.
The red gold case, measuring 36mm in diameter, charmingly contrasts with the aforementioned green hue. The warm tone of the composition is beautiful. Diamonds, always known to garner the attention of female clientele, enhance this marriage of haute horologerie and haute joaillerie.
The case of DeLaneau Rondo Translucent Bud is is adorned with 272 diamonds, expertly set by a talented gem-setter. Each stone is perfectly sized. For example, admiring the bezel of the timepiece, each diamond is uniform in scale, identically spaced and securely mounted. The inventory of diamonds includes a solitary diamond gracing the crown and a further 24 diamonds decorating the red gold buckle.
A matching green fabric strap oozes femininity and charmingly coalesces with the remainder of this sumptuous ensemble.
A small sapphire pane, gracing the case back of this model, reveals a partial view of the self-winding movement within. Regrettably, I was unable to see the exposed movement to critique the finissage. However, I know the movement has been sourced from haute horlogerie brand, Blancpain, and to this end would expect the finish to be of the highest order. Blancpain craft exceptional movements and their legend needs little explanation.
I feel compelled to point out at this stage that I am a happily married, father of two with no secret yearnings to wear a couture creation or clad my feet in Jimmy Choo stiletto heels. Nevertheless, I have, on occasion, been asked to write about ladies’ watches.
Last year, I was asked by Larissa Trew, founder of eveswatch.com to write an article providing a list of five watches I would purchase, entitled “If I were a woman”. To be honest, I had no difficulty in embracing my feminine side and proffering some suggestions. However, to my shame I had never visited DeLaneau at that point. Now, there would be no question, I would have to specify a DeLaneau Rondo Translucent Bud for my fantasy collection. Moreover, with the opportunity to procure a piéce unique, the possibilities to match the tincture of my cherished watch to a colour of personal significance would prove very tempting.
I return to my initial comment that natural beauty usurps all man-made creations, in this regard DeLaneau would seem to be the exception. The natural beauty of its products is obvious and stands testament to the maison’s small team of talented artisans.
- Model: DeLaneau Rondo Translucent Bud – Pièce Unique
- Reference: RON36105 RG GUI08
- Case: 18-carat red gold; diameter 36.00mm; height 10.33mm; water resistant to 3 bar (30 metres); sapphire crystal to front and small sapphire window fixed to the case back.
- Functions: Hours; minutes.
- Movement: Calibre FP1150 , self-winding movement; frequency 28,800 vph (4Hz); power reserve of 72 hours.
- Strap: Green fabric strap presented on a red gold pin buckle set with 24 diamonds.
- Price: CHF 59,000 + VAT (as at 12.8.2014)