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Jean Dunand Palace by Christophe Claret

According to Jean Dunand’s CEO Thierry Oulevay, “The primary inspiration of the Palace is the cultural and societal transformation of Western civilisation during a 50-year period, defined as 1880-1930.”

Placing that time span in context, the Palace takes its name from the structure that preceded and heralded the age, London’s Crystal Palace, built for the Great Exhibition of 1851, while sharing aesthetic details with the architectural pinnacle of the era: the Eiffel Tower.

It was a time when the mechanical dominated, when manpower and foundries and steam and nerve accomplished what is now achieved by electron and computer. The Palace embraces this hard-edged industrialism, tempered by the witty, alternative vision of Steam Punk, the imagery of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, the nuts and bolts and gears and pistons of trains and submarines. The look could belong to no other period in history, yet the Palace’s movement pushes the boundaries of modern complications.

From the atelier of Christophe Claret comes a calibre that marries state-of-the-ar t functions with the topology reminiscent of a century past. It transcends the merely “retro”, for it adds substance to the style. At the heart of the manually-wound Palace beats a one-minute flying tourbillon, placed at the 6 o’clock position, the balance operating at a frequency of 3Hz. Above it are skeletal hour and minute hands, and a sapphire crystal 60-minute counter for the chronograph.

On either side of the flying tourbillon are two vertical tracks, the one in the right-hand corner charting its 72-hour power reserve, the other a linear GMT indicator.

Instead of a rotary dial, the Palace shows its second time zone through 12-hour indications on either side of the oval-shaped trace. Its form reminds the wearer of the legendary “Milwaukee Mile” racing circuit, which hosted its first automobile race in 1903, and witnessed battles between early motoring giants such as Ralph DePalma and Barney Oldfield. The indicator arrow, mounted in a disc that mirrors that of the power reserve, makes two passes. When the disc reaches the end, it flies back to the top and the arrow rotates 180 degrees to chart the other scale. Adjustments to the GMT scale, in one hour increments, are made through the GMT advance button positioned between the
lugs at 6 o’clock.

So complex and detail-rich is the Palace that each will be supplied with a loupe, to enable the owner to study it over the years. Its many details and secrets will reveal themselves surreptitiously, the observer finding something new to admire every time it is examined. Such a wealth of function, form and detail demands a stately enclosure: at 38mm by 36mm the movement is larger than most complete watches, so the case is a generous 48mm by 49mm providing the spaciousness a Palace deserves.


Christophe Claret caliber CLA02CMP, exclusive to Jean Dunand, a manual-wind one minute tourbillon with mono-pusher chronograph, power reserve indicator and GMT complication. Sliding rod transmission via hollow cam. Chain-drive for winding mechanism. It has 53 jewels, 21,600 vph and a power reserve of 3 days.

Caseband made of titanium, bezel-caseback-lugs fashioned in 18kt rose gold or white gold. Fitted with matching deployant clasp. Domed AR-coated sapphire crystals and water resistance to 30 meters.


Written by kevin

July 7, 2010 at 2:40 pm

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