A Swiss luxury watch and clock manufacturer Jaeger-LeCoultre presented the Atmos Régulateur ‘Cherry Blossom’ at Homo Faber in Venice. This year, reaffirming the shared values of craftsmanship that exceed cultures and borders, the major cultural exhibition dedicated to fine craftsmanship features 12 Japanese Living National Treasures as guests of honor. As a tribute to this connection, La Grande Maison has chosen to depict the sakura or cherry blossom on the new Atmos Régulateur.
Invented in 1928, the Atmos features a unique mechanism that is driven by tiny changes in air temperature. Since the 1970s the Manufacture has invited a series of leading designers and supporters of the artistic crafts to reinterpret this mechanical masterpiece.
The Atmos Régulateur ‘Cherry Blossom’ is a one-off work of art. The clock’s mechanism can be admired through a transparent glass cabinet set between two dramatic panels of black Grand Feu enamel. The movement features a moon-phase display. A branch of cherry blossom, hand-painted in enamel, extends seamlessly from one side, across the dial ring, to the opposite panel.
With the enamelling alone requiring 200 hours of dedicated work by the master artisans in the Métiers Rares atelier of Jaeger-LeCoultre, this is the largest enamelled piece ever undertaken at La Grande Maison. The team spent countless hours on preliminary research, exchanging ideas, experimenting and making trials before the enamelling could start. Materials and techniques were examined and reconsidered.
Measuring 196mm by 105.2mm, the panels make use of copper for enamelling on watches. For such large surfaces, the enamellers had to perfect the ‘dry enamelling’ technique of sifting powdered pigment onto the copper plates (rather like dusting the top of a cake with icing sugar), repeating the process again and again, to achieve the desired depth and uniformity of black. After every layer, the panels had to be fired, then cooled and perfectly flattened. The two dial rings use silver. They were hollowed out to form a channel into which the enamel was applied. Then, as for the panels, came the challenge of multiple firings. After the black enamel backgrounds were completed, the work of the miniature-painter could begin. This work was done in a series of layers, each needing to be fired.
The movement of the Atmos Régulateur ‘Cherry Blossom’ is the Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 582. With an architecture defined by circles within circles, the large minutes ring and smaller hours ring are complemented by a monthly calendar and moon-phase display, as well as by the shape of the annular balance that slowly oscillates beneath the displays. The moon-phase indication is so precise that it will take 3,821 years to diverge by just one day from astronomical reality.
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