Robb Design Portfolio: Fine and Feathered

In late-19th-century paris, feathers were all the fashion. Artisans specializing in feather-related crafts flourished, furnishing affluent tastemakers with a variety of plume-bedecked articles ranging from sartorial accessories to picture frames. Today this once-thriving art is not entirely lost: One of its last remaining practitioners, Paris-based Nelly Saunier—best known for her work with couturiers and interior designers—has been commissioned by Harry Winston (www.harrywinston.com) to decorate a series of limited-edition 18-karat-gold-and-diamond women’s watches using her feather-marquetry technique.

 

Honored by the French Ministry of Culture as a Maître d’art—a title bestowed on only a few modern artisans who have mastered age-old techniques—Saunier creates watch faces whose striking mosaics, at first glance, appear to be composed of enamel; closer inspection, however, reveals that the intricate, slightly luminous patterns are actually arrangements of minute feather fragments. With painstaking patience and remarkable dexterity, she cuts and shapes the fragile slices to form a design, then sprays her delicate composition with a solution to keep it in place within the watch case. Although Saunier developed four different styles for this series of timepieces, each of her ethereal abstracts remains as unique as the avian individual that lent its finery to her cause. Priced at $65,600 apiece, only 100 of these works of wearable art are being made.

The new timepiece has a fluid-based linear timekeeping display…
The new watch has multiple systems to ensure that its movement receives consistent power…
Computer-aided design is allowing watchmakers to push the boundaries of innovation...
The watchmaker puts its skill in guilloche and damaskeening on full display…
The two back-to-back auctions will offer hundreds of unique designs…
The new variation sports a dial crafted from a meteorite...
Photo by Didier Gourdon
The new watch has a tourbillon hidden by an automaton…
The watch’s case is a mere 8.24 mm thick…
Photo by Vincent Wulveryck/Cartier
Jeweler Cartier innovative work combined Roman, Egyptian, Indian, and Chinese elements with...
On assuming his new position, Lambert lost little time in the development of new watches...