What you can’t easily tell by looking at the dial of this attractive and artsy timepiece is just how complex the mechanics of it actually are. A mere handful of watch makers have been able to achieve the development of the movement type located on the inside — for its sheer defiance of how standard mechanical movements want to work.
The automatic movement displays both the hours and minutes in what is called a “jumping” style format. The digits are located on discs that move behind the dial. They “jump” into place (rather than slowly move all the time) when each minute changes. These jumps are the hard part. Mechanical movements work via a spring slowly releasing power — not emitting it in bursts. If the discs moved slowly into place, with the digits never looking quite aligned to the windows, this timepiece wouldn’t be what it is. Rather, the wearer can quickly and easily read the time with the hours and minutes neatly positioned in two little holes — this simple “digital time” request is one that most skilled watch makers cannot accomplish. To put this into perspective, two of the most acclaimed watch maker brands in existence only recently released jumping hour, jumping minutes watches (those two being Swiss F.P. Journe and German A. Lange & Sohne).
DeLaneau is a different style of brand and is more subtle in their announcement of this mechanical achievement. Catering only to women of taste and sophistication, DeLaneau is lead by the talented and charismatic Cristina Wendt-Thevenaz. In addition to being the brand’s CEO she is also the art director. An artist herself, she seeks to embody each DeLaneau timepiece with “romance.” The concept of romance can be quite nondescript, so you’ll notice a variety of emotional ties within each watch in the collection. The “Green Sunrays” watch – as this DeLaneau Rectangular Dome model is called – has an art deco style angular case. The dial is like an abstract painting. A few key lines in green jade and white mother-of-pearl make up dial as the time windows are placed unassumingly on the right of the face.
Reminding me of a segment of the various “Land of the Rising Sun” Japanese flags, the green removes the aggression (of red in the flags) and gives the watch a more soft and vivacious feel. A DeLaneau is never ordinary though, and you don’t often see green mixed with white on a watch.
The case itself is 40mm wide by 36 mm tall. Done in 18-karat white gold, it is decorated with 485 brilliant cut diamonds of various sizes. There is a total of 3.68 carats of diamonds on the watch case along with the U-shared upper lug. While it is hard to say what DeLaneau was going for in the case design, it always seems to remind me of a suitcase or hand-luggage — while the crown looks like the tip of the U.S. Capitol Building on its side. The case is matched to a white-colored hand-stitched crocodile strap.
The Rectangular Dome “Green Sunrays” has managed to evoke a sense of timeless light-hearted romance with its simple yet graceful lines and luxury appointments. Another winner for DeLaneau — too bad they don’t make men’s watches as well. Priced at 125,000 Swiss Francs. www.delaneau.com.
Ariel Adams is the Haute Living Watch Editor and also publishes the luxury watch review site aBlogtoRead.com.