Jean Dunand Tourbillon Orbital Dancing Koi – Three Times Complicated

Imagine yourself taking a leisurely stroll through an Asian garden. You walk over an elegant bridge, pause for a moment and look down into the water. There you see two beautiful Koi gracefully swim in the water. A more then relaxing sight that you now also can have around your wrist….that is when you are that lucky individual, that ordered this Tourbillon Orbital from Jean Dunand.

Absolutely unique about this watch is that it combines three fields of expertise, demanding the highest degree of craftsmanship in each of them. Perfection not a preferred outcome, but the only option.

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Only because of pure perfection became this very special Jean Dunand a reality

First complication – The Movement
The basis for this stunning piece, and the first field in which excellence needs to be accomplished, is the movement. The movement is one we already know by now; It took Christophe Claret two years to create this masterpiece for Jean Dunand, and a masterpiece it is! It all looks so deceivingly simple at first glance; a beautiful dial with a tourbillon. But the longer you look, the more things are going to stand out. Where is the crown? Wasn’t the tourbillon just positioned at 6 o’clock? The more you examine this watch, the more you realize that it is just not another tourbillon. This flying one minute tourbillon is on a constant, 60 minute journey where it follows an almost orbital trajectory around the center off the watch, taking the entire dial with it. The crown on this manual wind movement can be found at the back, right next to the moon phase display. Where one would expect the crown, a non-reflective sapphire crystal, covers the power reserve indicator. All together a unique movement that Jean Dunand only offers as a Piece Unique, so there is no regular collection, if you want to get one of these Tourbillon Orbital’s it will be custom made and tailored to your preferences.

Second complication – The Dial
That brings us to the second “complication”, because the customer who ordered this Tourbillon Orbital wanted a enamel dial. Normally enamel dials are already demanding enough and only a few people in the industry really master this complicated craft. Again, it looks and sounds simple enough; grind up colored glass until its powder, add some liquid, apply it on the dial and heat it up in the oven until the glass melts. Think again! The glass solution has to be applied with a very fine brush under a microscope, and granted that you have grinded up the glass to the exact fineness, without any impurities in the mixture you still have to master the delicate art of heating and cooling down the enamel without causing cracks or bubbles.

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No hot coals, but pieces of red enamel from which the enamel powder is made
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Crushing the enamel to powder, a delicate art that takes years of experience to get it right

But that’s not all… due to the construction of the movement and the fact that the dial is not a still standing object but actually moves, additional requirements where set. Not even the slightest deforming of the dial could be accepted and at the same time has to be kept ultra lightweight. Also the height of the dial was a limiting factor. Only 0.75mm could be permitted.

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The complexity of colors; a testplate of transparant red’s

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A true masterpiece; the Dancing Koi’s needed 20 diferent firings at 800+ degrees

A mind-blowing shallow height, especially when you realize how the dial is made. It all starts with a technique called Champlevé. The basics of this technique date back till the time of the Roman empire, but came to full bloom in the 11th and 12th centuries. With the “Dancing Koi” the honeycomb structure was carved out of the base plate, carefully leaving space for the two Koi and the Yin and Yang figures. The Koi where then carefully painted and a fine gold ribbon applied to divide the Yin from the Yang. Then the honeycomb structure was filled with midnight blue enamel for the Yin and an rich opaline white enamel for the Yang. The whole dial is then covered with something called “fondant”. This has nothing to do with cake’s but refers to a translucent enamel that gives the colors more depth and luminescence.

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Anita Porchet; emailleuse extraordinary

Creating such a technically advanced masterpiece of enamel art, asks for nothing short of a brilliant enamel artist. That artist is Anita Porchet, a freelance “emailleuse” of world fame. It where her hands that created the vibrant images on the dial of this Jean Dunand. Impressive it not only the amount of details visible in the dial but also the motion that seems to flow from it. This amplifies the effect already accomplished by the whole dial moving, bringing the fish really to live and gives them their “dancing” ability.

Third Complication – The Diamonds
Referring to diamonds as a complications might be something not everybody agrees on, but who ever know a little more about diamonds and the time, effort and craftsmanship that is needed to excavate, cut, polish and set a diamond, has to agree that this is the only way one could refer to these mystical pieces of carbon. This Jean Dunand shows a very masculine display of diamonds, since most of them are baguette cut. This cut style gives diamonds a more understated look. The quality of the diamonds is extremely high. They rank an F or G on the color scale, which makes them fall in the Colorless-category. They have a Very Very Slightly included (VVS) clarity rating, so even an experienced diamond grader has difficulty finding them under 10x magnification.

What makes these diamonds so unique is the combination of a high degree of colorless and hardly any inclusions, although they are also impressive by sheer numbers. (The bezel has 60 diamonds in it) The bezel is set with 60 diamonds, with a total of 4.35 carats. The lugs feature 32 diamonds with a total weight of 1.81 carats. (The hour indexes on the chaptering are also diamonds. These 12 brilliant cut diamonds weigh a total of 0.115 carats.)
The hour indexes on the chaptering are 12 brilliant cut diamonds, weigh a total of 0.115 carats.

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Part of the art; the dial ready to be merged with the exceptional movement and diamond set case

All together is this Jean Dunand Tourbillon Orbital Dancing Koi is a beautiful fusion of totally different fields of classic craftsmanship, brought together in one piece where they from a strong symbiosis, none of them taking the center stage, but all working hard to highlight the other. In many Asian cultures the Koi holds a special place and is seen as a symbol for good fortune and long life. Good fortune he obviously already obtained by acquiring such a unique watch, and a long life is most certainly what we wish him so that he can enjoy this masterpiece for many years to come.