Grieb & Benzinger Russian Imperator Watch (PT124)
A true one-off from the Master Craftsmen of watch design
The watchmakers at Grieb & Benzinger are the world's most expert designers of exquisite skeletonised and guillochéd watches. The combination of old techniques and new functions is at the creative heart of all their designs.
Each timepiece is finely wrought in platinum, using master craftsman skills, and draws on historical inspiration for its motifs. Vintage masterpieces are reworked and restored, their movements forming the basis of these uniquely modern watches.
The base of the mechanism is a rare quarter repeater movement from the 19th century which has been restored, hand-engraved, plated with 24-karat gold and decorated with the guilloché technique. This intricate decorative engraving technique is mirrored on the 18-karat gold case. The precise repetitive pattern perfectly frames the ornate interior.
A variety of fine metals are used to contrast functional points of the mechanism and its decoration. The barrel bridge, in the shape of a three-dimensional double-headed eagle, is hand-engraved and plated with 24-karat gold. The double-headed eagle is a prominent symbol in Russia, denoting heraldry, as found on the coat of arms of Russia.
The choice of blue, for the platinum-plated movement plates and the leather strap, is used to evoke the work of Russian artist Wassily Kandinsky.
The play on decoration and functionality is an essential part of the design. The exposed cogs and internal mechanism, both front and back, make this a true skeleton watch.
The back of the watch features designs that are evocative of filigree work. The circular shape of the cogs is mirrored in the sweeping, curved lines of the leaf motif which meanders across the back of the watch, creating an ornate organic flow on a mechanical creation.
A fleur-de-lis, again denoting heraldry, is included. Inspiration is drawn from history and shaped into something truly contemporary.
A truly remarkable design.
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