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A customised Pailonne timepiece by Jaquet Droz
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Imagine carving miniscule patterns, each perhaps no more than five millimetres long, out of delicate sheets of tissue-thin pure gold foil. This is the art of paillonne, often used in combination with grand feu enamelling – another age-old art form that takes years to master – to create what is known as paillonne enamelling. The process is a time-consuming one. The watch’s dial is first covered with a powder of coloured glass, which is repeatedly fired in a kiln at temperatures of over 800 degrees. The glass melts to cover the dial with a glossy, liquid-like glaze. One air bubble, or even a hairline crack in the enamel, will mean having to start over. Once the enamel is completed, the paillons are applied to the enamelled surface and sealed with a top coat of transparent enamel, called fondant, to the dial.
Paillonne enamelling has been practised by Jaquet Droz since the 18th century. A look into the watchmaker’s archives will find many examples of pocket watches, clocks and wristwatches beautifully decorated with the tapestry-like pattern of paillons arranged symmetrically on richly coloured enamel.
Own a piece of fine art history with a bespoke Jaquet Droz Paillonne timepiece. With the design of the paillons and shade of the enamel fully customised to your whims and fancies, the resulting timepiece will be truly yours, and yours only.Read More