Luxury watchmakers Ulysse Nardin are demonstrating their mastery of the enamel champlevé with the newly unveiled Classico Serpent timepiece. This limited-edition watch exhibits a centuries-old technique which few craftsmen today posses, in our age of modern technology.
Last year, Ulysse Nardin announced their purchase of Donzé Cadrans, a manufacture specializing in enamel for luxury watch dials. Now that partnership has come to fruition with the Classico Serpent, a timepiece bearing a jewel-toned enamel snake, the animal which represents 2013 on the Chinese zodiac calendar. According to Chinese mythology, the snake symbolizes incredible beings, including deities. This agile creature is depicted rising from a bed of leaves in a concentrated stance, ready to strike.
For those who are unfamiliar with this rare technique, the champlevé method involves carving cells directly on the dial with a chisel, then filling them with enamel. The incredible variety of colors depicted on the dial are created from different metallic oxides. The dial is then fired until the enamel melts, and is polished when the surface cools.
On the Classico Serpent, the enamel champlevé dial is housed in an 18K rose gold case, with a self-winding COSC-certified chronometer movement at its heart providing a 42-hour power reserve.
Only 88 pieces of the Classico Serpent will be produced.
Photos courtesy Ulysse Nardin.