Chaumet Masters the Metiers

LVMH boutique brand Chaumet has introduced a six-piece metiers collection including a “poetic” movement that outshines similarly crafted collections from bigger brands. The watches in the six-piece “Atrape-Moi … Si Tu M’Aimes” (Catch me of you can) collection in the Montres Precieuses line employ to perfection all the crafts of Switzerland’s artisanal workshops, including enameling, guillochage, miniature painting, engraving, marquetry and gemsetting.

The spider (hour hand) chases the bee (minute hand) around the dial on Chaumet’s brilliant “Atrape-Moi ... Si Tu M’Aimes” (Catch me if you can) center piece.
The spider (hour hand) chases the bee (minute hand) around the dial on Chaumet’s brilliant “Atrape-Moi … Si Tu M’Aimes” (Catch me if you can) center piece.

The pièce de résistance of the collection involves an intricate dance of time by a spider and a bee, mounted on two rails that rotate within the geometric grooves of a spider’s web. The spider, sculpted in pink gold, counts the hours, while the diamond studded bee points to the minutes with the tip of its wing. The dial itself is a beautifully rendered web composed of 43 panels of inlaid mother-of-pearl marquetry, with diamonds set into alternating panels. The movement, the CP12V-XII automatic, was created exclusively for Chaumet.

Butterflies with heads made of cabochon sapphires are rendered in China ink in this timepiece from Chaumet’s Montres Precieuses line.
Butterflies with heads made of cabochon sapphires are rendered in China ink in this timepiece from Chaumet’s Montres Precieuses line.

Another outstanding piece in the collection is a black-and-white depiction of butterfly wings rendered in jet black China ink against a background of engraved mother-of-pearl. The butterflies’ heads are represented by blue sapphires cut as perfectly matched oval cabochons.

Miniaturization requires a steady hand and a tiny brush
Miniaturization requires a steady hand and a tiny brush

The beauty of these pieces in my opinion lies in their simplicity. Miniaturist compositions using enamel, marquetry and gemsetting are often overdone, with multiple colors and techniques that, no matter how beautifully rendered, overpower each other and blur the final effect. These pieces are admirably understated, allowing the superb craftsmanship to speak for itself.

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