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There’s a Chinese Fable Behind Hysek’s Diamond Watch

The legend of the Butterfly Lovers takes flight in this timepiece’s exquisite accents.

Hysek Kalysta Precious Tale Photo: Courtesy Hysek

Hysek watches are not for introverts. The brand is known for its blockbuster designs with complicated movements and superb finishings, all produced in limited editions. The men’s pieces are representative of the avant-garde side of watchmaking design that emerged in the early 2000s, with supersized, curved rectangular cases, some with side-mounting movements. The company introduced a ladies’ collection, the Kalysta, in 2002 with equally unconventional design cues, including eccentric diamond applications and mechanical movements with complications.

Of the five designs in the collection to date, all are diamond-set, in both traditional and unconventional ways. Pavé and snow setting are used on the bezels and background of the Joaillerie D’art Precious Tale and on the diamond-setting functions as part of a composition. The theme here is a reference to “The Butterfly Lovers,” a Chinese legend about tragic lovers Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai who, forbidden by their parents to marry, metamorphize into butterflies and fly away together. Two diamond-set butterflies on the bracelet, one on each side of the case, represent the two lovers in flight.

The rest of the bracelet is composed of prong-set diamonds set on a flexible grid. The side of the bracelet, along with the case side and bezel, are snow-set with 3,220 diamonds weighing 19.58 carats. If that’s too much dazzle for you, the bracelet (which alone is set with 1,549 round and 16 baguette diamonds) can be swapped out for a satin or leather strap. The 39 mm, 18-karat white gold case can also transform, like the lovers that inspired it, to be worn strapless by removing the bracelet altogether and attaching a conversion piece that turns it into a brooch. The dial is designed as a stylized flower using sculpted gold, diamonds, and a frosted pattern etched onto the crystal. A moonstone cabochon tops the crown and is framed by an open ring that is set on the inside with a single diamond, a crown style that is typical of the collection.

Housed within the dial of the Kalysta Joaillerie d’Art Precious Tale is the same movement that debuted in the first model in the collection, the in-house automatic Caliber HW61, with a 39-hour power reserve. The complication is a jumping hour that does away with hands altogether by using a window at 12 o’clock to display the hours and a marquise-cut sapphire that travels around the chapter ring to indicate minutes. On a ladies’ timepiece, watch companies like to refer to it as a poetic complication, since the movement drives a decorative element, adding to the romantic narrative of this timepiece.


Each piece is made-to-order, and therefore price is upon request.







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