Let us take you on a quest for glitz, glamour, diamonds and the most delicate things of life. Our intrepid journey will take you deep into the realms of the ultra-rich, the ultra-exclusive and on an odyssey of abundance and excellence. Our expedition starts high up on the temples of heaven, across the great wall of China and ends deep into the jungles and the savanna for a one of a kind experience into the wild, where endangered species thrive and roam freely. Our next stop takes us where very few have been before. We were granted exclusive access into the coveted and privileged world of the house of GRAFF.
INTERVIEW WITH NICOLAS SESTITO
Our team was invited to interview in person none other than Chief Executive Officer of Graff Luxury Watches, Nicolas Sestito. Mister Sestito successfully leads the Luxury watch division for Graff; he plays a critical role in product development, operations management and ensures the highest standards for global sales services and after-sales. He has accumulated a wealth of watchmaking experience, including design, development and manufacturing. He kindly shared his precious time and granted us a private moment to discuss this year’s breathtaking novelties for Graff Watches. From the brand new “GyroGraff Temple of Heaven and Great Wall of China” to the awe-inspiring “GyroGraff Endangered Species”. The journey you are about to embark on is not for the faint-hearted.
THE HOUSE OF GRAFF
For over a century now, the house of Graff has defined what pure luxury means. Few names in the industry from High Jewellery to High horology brands come even close to the level of mastery Graff Diamonds accomplishes as standard daily. Graff has the most saute after clientele on the globe and achieves time and time again the strictest consistency thru out the whole organisational chain, its verticalised business structure guarantees excellence from R&D to the retail and with over 60 boutiques scattered in the four corners of the globe, Impressive is but an understatement.
THE MOST COVETED DIAMONDS IN THE WORLD.
The level of finish and sheer magnitude that goes into creating and crafting a Graff timepiece is extraordinary. Each timekeeper and jewellery piece is painstakingly turned into a unique work of art, with its rare presence and strong character, capable of capturing, the inner human spirit. It is also important to note that the house of Graff has also dominated the list of historical and critical rough diamonds discovered, cut and polished this century. Some of the rarest diamonds include the 1,109-carat Lesedi La Rona, the largest rough diamond discovered since 1905. But also The Graff Venus, The Lesotho Promise, The Delaire Sunrise, The Wittelsbach-Graff, The Graff Perfection, The Graff Pink and The Golden Empress, to name a few.
The Pinnacle of excellence is shared across the whole organisation and since the launch in 2008 of their watch division. Graff has upheld that same philosophy “The Most Fabulous Jewels in the World.”
“GYROGRAFF TEMPLE OF HEAVEN AND GREAT WALL OF CHINA”
For this new collection release in Baselworld 2019, both timekeepers are inspired by legendary periods in Chinas rich history. The “Ming Dynasty” or better known as the “Great Ming Empire.” The Ming dynasty was the ruling dynasty of China that ruled for 276 years from (1368–1644) following the collapse of the Mongolled Yuan dynasty.
Both watches tell extraordinary stories. The first timekeeper fittingly called “the Great Wall of China” is depicted in vivid detail on the GyroGraff. The dial of the “GryoGraff” has four distinctive layers, each in relief, starting with a background made of aventurine, creating the look of a starry sky. The second builds the towers and walls, made from a hand-engraved gold mount. The brick detailing is added by a skilled artist using 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.
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 noon.
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.
The Graff GyroGraff Great Wall of China and GyroGraff Temple of Heaven represent the next chapter in the GyroGraff story and serve as a vivid reminder of the vision, creativity, skills and exquisite artistry of Graff’s artisans and watchmakers.
“GYROGRAFF ENDANGERED SPECIES”
The five dials depict either an elephant, a tiger, a panda, a gorilla or a rhino (the World Wildlife Fund lists all five as being under threat). The animals were created from a combination of polished metal parts and precious stones, each of which are unique in size, weight and cut. These parts have been individually set into the dial by hand to create the form of each animal.
The dials require careful, detailed planning. The process starts with artistic drawings of the dials, with openings for the GyroGraff’s signature double-axis tourbillon and spherical moon phase complications, and with space for a power reserve indicator at 1 o’clock. Skilled artisans and highly experienced engineers then work together to create detailed technical drawings that break the dials down into the individual components that will come together to create the final form.
The number of individual dial components depends on the design – the gorilla has the most at 139, the elephant has 135, the tiger 127, and the panda 112.
The dials feature between three and six more massive mounts depending on the piece, each of them unique. Each gold mount then holds several white or black gold ‘plaquettes’, or small plates. Each plaquette carries a number that can only be seen under a microscope and that corresponds to the gold part or stone explicitly created for it. It is the gem-setters’ job to match these up during assembly. There is no room for error.
As our journey comes to an end, we can only be amazed by what we have seen, heard and experienced. Graff has again stayed true to its principles of excellence and has managed to awake the inner spark and delight us with their awesome creations filled with artisanship and expert skills.
Interviewed by Pascal Grenacher
Produced by Alberic Virchaux