Dior Christal Tourbillon Rubies

    Remarkable in itself, Dior’s decision to execute a million-dollar-plus jeweled tourbillon is made all the more puzzling by the company’s choice to base its new watch on the Christal design, which is not normally an expensive timepiece. Yet this playful contrast serves to enhance the watch’s charm. "The Dior Christal Tourbillon was a nice exercise, and one that can never be repeated because of the stones we used," says Bunter S.A. jewelry-watch specialist Claude Sanz in explaining why the one-of-a-kind timepiece (roughly $1.3 million) he constructed surpasses those from much more exalted watchmaking brands. Bunter has worked with many of the top houses, though only a handful will openly admit its involvement; yet all of these clients recognize Sanz’s unimpeachable expertise in crafting special cases and bracelets, as well as in selecting and setting stones.

    In the case of the Christal Tourbillon Rubies, however, the gems themselves make the watch unique. "I had these stones in my stock for almost twenty years," says Sanz. "They are from a mine along the Thai-Cambodian border that has long since closed. It would be impossible to get stones in this color at this size today." Although experts have long debated whether Thai or Burmese rubies have superior color, Sanz favors the older stones from Thailand’s eastern mountains because their sizes are unmatched for watch settings. To create the tourbillon, on whose bezel and bracelet are intermingled rubies and baguette diamonds, many of the gems had to be specially cut—a painful operation for Sanz, who watched as his prized finds diminished in weight and value.

    Originally designed for settings of faceted synthetic-sapphire crystal, Christal retains its original youthfulness even when embellished with real gemstones. Its 42 mm size—bold on any woman—adds to its stylish insouciance. Produced by Concepto, a specialty-movement supplier, the tourbillon incorporates ruby-colored sapphire plates and bridges. Considering Christal’s longtime association with corundum—the mineral of which both rubies and sapphires are forms—the choice is entirely appropriate.

     

    Dior, www.diorhorlogerie.com

    From Around the Web...
    The $38,000 watch features a manually-wound movement displayed amidst titanium and ceramic…
    Showcasing tuneful automata, the limited-edition release will comprise 16 examples…
    More complex than its spare style suggests, the Richard Lange Jumping Seconds is a visionary design…
    Paul Boutros of Phillips Watches reveals the current watch that’s sure to be a collector’s item…
    The smart-watch collection features new styles and strap colors to satisfy the techie fashionista…
    Photo by Claude-Alain Fluckiger
    Catch the intricately engraved bouquet on the Petite Heure Minute…
    Join the First Look webcast for an inside look at 12 rare Patek Philippe minute repeater timepieces...
    The timepiece’s sidereal-time display tracks the movement of the stars with zodiac indications…
    Here's a look at five of the dozen minute repeaters demonstrated on August 30…
    Within the 18-karat-gold case is a dial depicting the schooner America sailing to victory in 1851…