JWLRYMACHINE is an astonishing haute-joaillerie version of Horological Machine N°3 jointly developed by the 152-year-old House of Boucheron, that most venerable of France’s high-jewellery Houses, and MB&F, the young, cutting-edge Swiss creative laboratory.
Boucheron’s highly-skilled artisans have transformed HM3 into a stunning three-dimensional jewelled owl, its eyes large glowing cabochons set over the twin cones, and with its pavé-set diamond wrapped protectively around HM3’s precious engine. The glowing eyes, sparkling wings and softly gleaming breast create a carefully choreographed play of light. But most mesmerising of all: beneath the owl’s breast, its heart appears to be beating.
The visual illusion is created by the faintly perceived swings of MB&F’s solid-gold battle-axe-shaped rotor beneath the translucent stone. This amazing creation is the third in series of “Performance Art” pieces, which began with a Sage Vaughn and then Alain Silberstein. The philosophy behind the “Performance Art” pieces is that collaborations between MB&F and artists, designers, and jewellers the brand admires and respects, will result in radical creations that neither party would or could have created on their own. These are real performances, in the full artistic sense of the term.
The original HM3, in gold and titanium, sent tremors through the fine-watchmaking world when it was launched in 2009. It pushes the technical and aesthetic limits of horological architecture and design further than even the most open-minded observers could have imagined.
The viewer’s mind has to adjust to the fact that its kinetically energetic engine is displayed on the top of the watch, where the battle-axe-shaped rotor – an iconic MB&F symbol – and the oscillating balance are clearly visible. But the eye is also assailed by the twin cones that rise majestically from the three-dimensional sculpted case. It is hard to believe that this dynamic sculpture also tells the time.
And yet this is a highly technical wristwatch and a feat of micro engineering. MB&F’s engineers and watchmakers have to machine, hand finish and assemble the 305 parts of the HM3 engine working to tolerances of a micron – one thousandth of a millimetre. The 22-karat rose gold “mystery” rotor appears to defy the laws of physics, in being visually symmetrical instead of more obviously off-centred. This was achieved by machining the underside of one arm to a razor-thin edge, thus reducing its mass. Two high-tech ceramic ball bearings visible on the back of the case drive the time indications on the top and sides of the twin cones: one cone presenting the hours and day/night indicator, the other the minutes. An oversized date wheel around the rotor, actually larger in diameter than the movement itself, frames the engine.
With the HM3 as unsettling as ever, the House of Boucheron is poised to create its own seductive shock waves with the JwlryMachine, an haute-joaillerie version of Horological Machine No 3. In a spectacular flight of fancy, the House’s peerless artisans have conceived the watch as a splendid three-dimensional jewelled owl, presented either in 18k white gold, with amethyst, diamonds and blue and violet sapphires, or in 18k red gold, with pink tourmaline, rose quartz, diamonds and pink sapphires.
The owl’s eyes are large glowing cabochons, set over the twin cones, and its sparkling wings, wrapped protectively around the precious HM3 engine, are entirely pavé-set with brilliant-cut stones. Its feathered breast is sculpted and engraved from a single block of amethyst or rose quartz. The glowing eyes, sparkling wings and softly gleaming breast create a carefully choreographed play of light. But most mesmerising of all: beneath the owl’s breast, its heart appears to be beating. The visual illusion is created by the faintly perceived swings of MB&F’s solid-gold battle-axe-shaped rotor beneath the translucent stone.
This effect typifies the hint of secretiveness that Boucheron’s artisans instil into some of their best-loved jewels; as does the fact that the uninitiated will need to search for the time indications on the sides of the cones among the owl’s sparkling plumage.
True to the original HM3, the JwlryMachine is not for the faint hearted. It is an imposing piece, made all the more so by its sheer beauty. The extreme refinement that radiates from the proportions, the choice of stones and the quality of craftsmanship makes this creation “very Boucheron”.
The JwlryMachine will be made to order, and other colour combinations are possible. JWLRYMACHINE is available in two versions: Purple with 18K white gold, titanium, amethyst, diamonds and sapphires; and Pink with 18K pink gold, titanium, quartz and diamonds.
Three-dimensional horological engine designed by Jean-Marc Wiederrecht/Agenhor;
Girard-Perregaux oscillator and gear
Balance oscillating at 28,800 bph.
22K rose gold battle-axe shaped ‘mystery’ automatic winding rotor
Hour and minutes information transmitted via ceramic ball bearings to laser-cut hands.
Number of jewels: 36 (all functional)
Number of components: 304
Hour and day/night indicator on one cone
Minutes on second cone
Date around the movement
JWLRYMACHINE, Purple: 18K White Gold/Titanium and Amethyst
– Breast made of an engraved amethyst: 35.27K
– Eyes made of two cabochon amethysts: 6.34K
– Diamonds: approx. 0.96K
– Blue and purple sapphires: approx. 5.17K
– Screwed-down crown with cabochon amethyst: 0.33K
JWLRYMACHINE, Pink: 18K Pink Gold/Titanium and Quartz
– Breast made of an engraved quartz: 32.71K
– Eyes made of two cabochon rubellite: 7.88K
– Diamonds: approx. 0.96K
– Pink, purple and blue and purple sapphires: approx. 5.17K
– Screwed-down crown with cabochon rubellite: 0.33K
Cones and both display backs with anti-reflective treatment on both faces
Hand-stitched alligator or lizard strap with 18K Gold and Titanium custom designed deployment buckle