Two new expressions of Graff’s artistic, highly complicated GyroGraff celebrate a pair of China’s most historic structures – the Great Wall of China and the Temple of Heaven.
The piece-unique watches continue Graff’s tradition of showcasing some of the world’s most intricate métiers d’art techniques in watches that become as much fine art as complex mechanical timekeepers. The pieces are also the next chapter in a series of Graff watches inspired by Asian landmarks, following on from the GyroGraff Skyline trilogy.
The Great Wall of China can be traced back to the 7th century BC, although the well-known sections of the wall (such as that depicted in the GyroGraff) were built much later during the Ming Dynasty of the 14th to 17th centuries. The wall is the longest building on Earth and was originally erected as a defence against invasion. China’s State Administration of Cultural Relics calculates that the wall stretches 21,000km across the country.
The Temple of Heaven in the Chinese capital of Beijing was first completed in 1420, also during the Ming Dynasty, and is frequently recognised as one of China’s most important temples. The watch dial represents the temple’s Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, a triple-gabled building standing 38 metres high. The temple was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1998.
Graff’s artisans have brought these historic structures to life using an intoxicating combination of rare hand-crafted techniques, including hand-engraving, miniature painting and gem-setting. The results are intricate, three-dimensional, almost lifelike pieces of art that take up to 100 hours to create, and that can only fully be appreciated under a loupe.
The dial of the GryoGraff Great Wall of China has four layers, each in relief, starting with a background made of aventurine, creating the look of a starry sky. The second forms the towers and walls, made from a hand-engraved gold mount.
The brick detailing is added by a skilled artist using a special ink that will patinate the gold. The third is the green forest, made of finely-hammered gold, and also miniature painted. The fourth is the paved area of the wall that climbs up the dial, and the top level of the right-hand tower, both of which are invisibly-set with baguette-cut diamonds, all of which are a unique shape and weight.
Likewise, the GryoGraff Temple of Heaven is comprised of four layers in relief, also starting with an aventurine background. The second layer depicts the temple and has several parts. The main part is a three-dimensional gold piece finished with miniature painting. The summit of the building and the frame around the baguette diamond are solid yellow gold. The base of the building features gold-painted detailing. Finally, the three tiers are close-set with rows of baguette-cut diamonds. The third and fourth layers make up the engraved stairs and brick wall, which are miniature painted.
Both watches are powered by a spectacular hand-wound calibre, a spell-binding mechanical creation that features a unique trio of complications – a whirring double axis tourbillon, a three-dimensional moon phase and a power reserve indicator.
The three-dimensional white-gold moon phase complication at 10 o’clock is an artistic tour de force in its own right. It is hand-engraved, creating a true-to-life map of the lunar surface’s craters. The black cover representing the shadow of the Earth advances twice a day and completes a full rotation over a period of 29.5 days, poetically relaying the phase of the moon. The watch has a 65-hour power reserve indicated at 1 o’clock alongside Graff’s diamond-set icon at 12 o’clock.
Both pieces have 48mm rose-gold cases decorated with invisible mosaic-set baguette-cut diamonds, and each watch comes on a black alligator strap with a diamond-set deployment clasp buckle.
• GyroGraff Great Wall of China (11.49cts)
• GyroGraff Temple of Heaven (11.44cts)
Hours, minutes, double-axis tourbillon, three-dimensional moon phase, power reserve indicator
Power Reserve: 65 hours
Métiers d’art techniques
Diameter: 48mm, Depth: 17.25mm
Material: Rose gold
Water Resistant: 3 ATM
Alligator strap with deployment clasp buckle