This year at Baselworld, aficionados and collectors will be delighted to discover “The Brigand’s Rest”, inspired by a painting belonging to the Museum of Fine Arts in La Chaux-de-Fonds, which will exceptionally be on display at the ROBERT&FILS 1630 stand during the entire show.
Grand feu enamelling
The cases that house the mechanical movements of ROBERT&FILS 1630 are decorated in ways that also showcase some of these rapidly disappearing crafts. One of these traditional techniques is grand feu enamelling.
Mastered by only a handful of artisans in the world, grand feu enamelling is very impressive because it is so complex. The enamelling is carried out using a very fine brush dipped in coloured enamel paste that the artist applies point by point onto a support. The colours of a figure are applied with great precision starting with the contours. The main difficulty in this art form is the firing of the enamel, which is conducted in an 800o C oven after each stage of the process.
Each enamelled piece may require more than 30 firing cycles. This is certainly an ordeal by fire for this totally unpredictable and capricious material, where the colours of the enamel change during the firings. The artisan has no room for error, as any mistakes might cause irreversible damage to the enamel and make in necessary to start all over again.
In addition to the firings, the art of enamelling involves sanding, a technique that demands great care to avoid ruining the result. At the final application of the enamel, the artisan applies a translucent flux over the image before placing the piece in the oven at a temperature of 900 C.
Once glazed, the enamel’s perfectly fixed colours will travel through time without ever changing. An integral part of haute horlogerie, the grand feu enamelling process provides each ROBERT&FILS 1630 timekeeper with important added value that will only increase as the years go by.
At Robert & Fils 1630, the extreme care provided to each timekeeper’s finishing is not only a simple matter of beauty. It is also a guarantee of the great attention that the ROBERT&FILS 1630 artisans pay to each piece before it leaves the ateliers.
Engraving is a skill intimately tied to fine watchmaking that ROBERT&FILS 1630 want to enhance. Mixing traditional skills with modern technology, this metier requires infinite patience combined with unfaltering precision so that even the tiniest details can be showcased. Each ROBERT&FILS 1630 movement is meticulously hand-engraved with uncompromising attention to detail, requiring very special savoir-faire.
Line engraving, set engraving, lacquered engraving... These are among the many techniques used to carve delicate motifs that the master engraver can achieve by skilfully using all sizes of burins.
The difficulty in working with engraving is getting the depth of the line correct in order to give life to the motif and reproduce the tiny details on the ROBERT&FILS 1630 watch cases. With each engraving, the brand’s creations become exclusive and transmit a unique emotion.
Case and dial in gold, grand feu enamel, inspired by “Brigand’s wife watching over the rest of her husband”, on display at the Museum of Fine Arts in La Chaux-de-Fonds (Léopold Robert, oil on canvas, Rome 1827). Deposit from Fondation Gottfried Keller, 1964. “Five step” historic automatic movement, produced at the Fontainemelon manufacture between 1960 and 1970. Oscillating weight in 22K gold.