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”
A series of MasterGraff Ultra Flat Tourbillon métiers d’art timepieces have been created featuring extravagantly opulent dials inspired by Japanese art and culture. Fusing Graff’s expert gem-setting with the age-old technique of micro-painting, exquisite enamelling and a flying tourbillon housed within a remarkably slim case, the Dragon, Samurai Warrior and Murakami-inspired dials are truly groundbreaking works of wearable art.
Graff’s latest GyroGraff timepieces take on a new perspective, with inspiration ignited from the Graff family’s passion for cars.
Three unique scenes capture this high-speed world by putting the wearer in the driving seat. A highly original take on a watch dial, each one is an intricate work of art showcasing some of the world’s most complex métiers d’art techniques.
One offers an inside-the-cockpit view of a race at night, the technique of marquetry was used to carve out the carbon dashboard, while the timepiece’s double-axis tourbillon is transformed into the steering wheel.
Another design shows a vintage car, emblazoned with the number 8. The driver and the steering wheel have been crafted using different levels of cut out appliques, each element has been hand painted using the technique of peinture miniature.
The third new GyroGraff timepiece, in warm rose gold, features a car speeding through the city at night under an aventurine sky, with the double-axis tourbillon performing its hypnotic rotations between the driver’s hands. The blurred lights appear as neon flashes in the sky – an atmospheric miniature painting that required complete mastery of the skill.
The details on the dashboard of each car are hyper realistic and were achieved using a technique known as decal, or transfer printing. Each element – a layer of ink – is painstakingly transferred from an engraved plate to the dial using a silicone pad. This requires a completely dust-free environment, the steadiest of hands and infinite patience.
Car aficionados will be drawn to these unique watches. The three exhilarating journeys depicted on the dials capture the thrill of travelling at full throttle and the excitement of being behind the wheel of a powerful motor.
Each artistic, dial is complemented by an extremely complex movement that is exclusive to Graff Luxury Watches: an innovative three- dimensional moon phase indicator that charts the daily progression of the moon and is visible through the front and back of the dial. A double- axis tourbillon sits at 7 o’clock while a 72-hour power reserve indicator is positioned at 1 o’clock.
Graff’s métiers d'art timepieces are the pinnacle of watchmaking prowess. Fusing the world’s most sophisticated horological engineering with breathtaking artistry, the creation of each dial is a multi-layered process. Each GyroGraff timepiece has a domed dial on which there are three to four levels of relief, allowing Graff’s master craftsmen to build up the level of detail. This gives each dial a unique, astonishingly realistic three dimensional quality.
In an extraordinary feat of intricate craftsmanship, Graff’s master watchmakers have created the Graff Floral timepiece, an exquisite watch featuring the balletic dance of captivating, colourful flowers. Three of the enchanting blossoms positioned at 8 o’ clock, 10 o’ clock and 1 o’ clock continuously rotate, in a graceful, hypnotic and mesmerising display of horological prowess and lively elegance.
This romantic and feminine design combines all of the world’s most complex métiers d’art techniques: enamel painting, micro-painting and extraordinarily intricate diamond setting – bringing the world’s most sophisticated artisanal savoir-faire to an extremely wearable timepiece.
Our enduring fascination with colour spans all cultures, all centuries – with different shades influencing us in surprising ways, stimulating our senses, evoking meaning and inspiring a range of emotions.
The Graff Floral is available in four distinct colourways: pink, blue, purple and white. Each of these timepieces displays a distinct persona, ranging from the calm, serene tones of the blue dial, to the fiery, passionate hues upon the pink dial; reflecting the myriad personalities of Graff’s varied female clientele.
Ever influenced by nature’s bounteous flora and fauna, the flowers upon the new Graff Floral timepiece take their inspiration from the exquisite gardens at the Delaire Graff Estate, South Africa, where vibrant and vivacious blooms grow in rich abundance.
The enamel flowers are created using an ancient yet extremely challenging process, whereby master craftsmen hand-cut each flower from white gold before enameling each petal. The artisan must perfect the precise hue of each bloom by hand, resulting in entirely unique shades for each dial. Each watch face becomes an individual work of art, requiring up to fifty hours of work to complete.
Great consideration has gone into not only the watches’ flora-inspired dials, but their feel, finish and equilibrium, which are the result of a harmonious collaboration between Graff’s London atelier and our Swiss watchmakers.
Featuring a scintillating pavé diamond bezel, with pavé diamonds also set upon the bridge, the Graff Floral timepiece is the perfect companion to Graff’s many floral inspired jewellery collections.