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February 3 2003 at 10:59 AM

ThomasM  (Premier Login thepurist178)
AP Discussion Group


 
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ThomasM
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AP Discussion Group

Master Compressor Product launch party and development history comments

February 3 2003, 11:06 AM 


 
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Jaw (posted by ThomasM)
(Premier Login thepurist178)
AP Discussion Group

"The Other Woman - A true story. By BESOTTED" - Reverso unique piece enamel painting

February 3 2003, 11:15 AM 


 
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ThomasM
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AP Discussion Group

Proper way to pivot a Grande Reverso

April 23 2003, 8:09 AM 

(originally posted by Jaw)
What is the correct way to pivot your Reverso Case?
April 22 2003 at 5:39 AM

Throughout my years of handling Reversos, I have received conflicting instructions on how
best to pivot the Reverso cases.

I have heard conflicting versions from so called watch collectors, experts, retailers or even
boutique staff. And my search for a PROPER and OFFICIAL versions has come to naught. Till
now!

Here is the Official instruction to JLC personnel:
QUOTE :"...

How does one pivot the case of the Grande Reverso models?

Since the weight of the Grande Reverso is quite substantial, a locking system with catches
has been integrated into the carrier to avoid accidental swivelling. This system implies that
when pivoting the watch one must comply with a particular operating mode (similar to opening
a door), since the catches might otherwise scratch the case:


(The Proper way to do it)

1) Push the case upwards (fig. 1)
2) Pivot it (fig. 2).
3) Slide the case up to the end of the groove (fig. 3).
4) Refit the case by pushing it against the base (fig 4).


When the pivoting case is in the open position shown below (fig. A), one must absolutely avoid
pushing it sideways against the carrier to close it or handle it.


(Don't do it this way)

The above procedure must be complied with whenever one is handling the watch.

..."UNQUOTE


 
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ThomasM
(Premier Login thepurist178)
AP Discussion Group

For standard, classic Reverso case...

April 23 2003, 8:13 AM 

both ways are correct.

TM:

"There are at least two generations of Reverso cases and carriages - the current ones have a little block on the carriage (only on Grand Reversos?) to prevent the case from dropping down all the way in the carriage while offset left or right.

With all of my old, traditional Reversos, the block was not there, so I slid out horizontally, applying pressure from the side, pivoted, dropped (figuratively, of course) it parallel to the carrier, offset to the other side, then again applying pressure on the offset side, snap it into place.

As you note, this would seem to make more sense, as any wear on the carrier that comes from the spring loaded ball snap will occur on the carrier side, where it is less noticeable, than on the top. And, this was told to me by both long time Reverso collectors as well as JLC staff.

Could it be there are different procedures for Classic Reversos and Grand Reversos?

Do the new standard Reversos also have that carrier block that prevents the case from coming down parallel to the carrier while still offset left or right?"

Jaw:

"The instruction applies specifically to Grande Sport Reverso and Grande Reverso.

For other Reverso case, BOTH ways are considered proper.

Jaw"

 
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Jaw
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Since SIHH 2004, Grande Reverso cases have been improved...

July 9 2004, 8:50 PM 

You can now slide from the side or push from the top without scratching or damaging the case... both ways are now considered proper.

Jaw

 
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ThomasM
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AP Discussion Group

Interview with Jerome Lambert, Directeur General, Manufacture Jaeger-LeCoultre

May 20 2003, 11:10 AM 


 
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ThomasM
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AP Discussion Group

The accuracy and stability of JLC 8 days movements (with chart!)...by Jaw

November 12 2003, 4:57 PM 

This post was in reply from a thread below. I re-produce here in case there is interest from other PuristS on the effort MJLC went through to maintain the accuracy and stability of the movements

Other factors being equal, the higher the frequency, the better the timing accuracy will be over the 8 Days running of the watch.

From the very beginning of Product Development (The 8 days movements as used in Septantieme, Reverso Grande Date, Reverso Grande Reserve, Master 8-Days and Master Antoinne), the original idea of the project team is to decide on the 4 Hz frequency. see our previous write-up here : click here

At 4 Hz, more energy will also be needed to maintain these oscillations, hence more difficult to ensure sufficient power reserve.

The size of the balance is also crucial which must be taken into account to ensure sufficient supplied energy. Too big a balance wheel would consume too much energy without providing additional benefit in modern watchmaking (In the old days, a huge balance wheel is necessary to maintain accuracy)

This internal JLC (much simplified and re-plotted with the exact same shape to protect the innocent ) chart shows the force curves of the two barrel springs which were tested on the first prototypes.



In red : A watch with the spring at a frequency of 3 Hz has a good power reserve of around 10 days but the force and amplitude are too low (MJLC keeps this confidential, but a technician told me that this was measured from an actual 10 days watch. I will not disclose the brand other than to hint to fellow PuristS that this Geneva brand is THE No 1 haute horlogerie brand. And their 10 days implementations still had a big marketing impact this year)

In blue : Initial JLC prototype, for the 4 Hz spring, the amplitude is correct at the outset but falls off very rapidly and the watch stops after 8 days. In this initial 4 Hz version, There is no safety margin in terms of power reserve.

MJLC did not wish to sell an 8 day watch without being certain that the watch would always go on working after 8 days. At the same time, they did not want to lose the benefits of the 4 Hz system.

The ideal solution was to keep the 4 Hz frequency, while trying to lengthen the power reserve.
The team recalculated the spring (shown in black on the chart) which is thinner, hence permitting more turns in the barrel and extending the power reserve to 9 days.

To maintain the 4Hz frequency, the initial amplitude is slightly lower but has the advantage of being much more stable over a period of time.


    
This message has been edited by thepurist178 on Nov 12, 2003 5:06 PM


 
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ThomasM
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My emotional encounter with MJLC enamel works (Warning, many photos!) (by Jaw)

November 13 2003, 11:01 PM 



(The first step is always to draw out the intended painting first, to plan each processes in details)

This June (2003), I had the rare opportunity to see how Miklos and Sophie work, and the psychological impact on me was intense. If one's budget permits comfortably, I would encourage all to own one at least. Not for investment opportunity, not for horological achievements and not for showing-off, but simply to have the privillege to wear one.


(The colour pencils are used for the initial drawing of the intended painting)

Few enamel fans know that MJLC can produce Grande Taille and XGT Reverso with customised enamel paintings made to customers' order.




(Miklos is equipted with the full range of enamel powders, in his drawer and on the shelves)

As long as the painting is not politically or socially offensive (And as far as I know, MJLC can be quite liberal with this policy ). And if the customers can wait for a reasonable time (price and delivery time will vary according to the desired painting) it is not far fetch to see your love ones on your favourite JLC watch










(Due to likely changes in colour, saturation and intensity, each work must be tested in advance, many of these are tried out and not used, kept by Miklos like treasures )


I love Miklos Merczel’s enamel works. And it is no secret that I consider Miklos, assisted by Sophie Roche as the best enamel team in the industry.


(A brilliant student and a fast learner, Miklos' objective is to see Sophie becoming a better artist than himself)

Most PuristS would be familiar with limited series of The Four Seasons, Claire de Lune & Etoille du Matin models. We have also covered amazing masterpieces like Dusk & Dawn (forum thread discussion) and (The Other Woman) .


(Dusk from the Dusk & Dawn fame)

In response to several emails showing curiosity and intense interest on JLC enamel watches, I think it is about time I should cover this topic in greater details.

THE ART….

Miniature enamel painting is the rarest and most precious of all pictorial arts. It gives life to the legendary swivel case. Thus decorated, the Reverso gives its owner the absolute assurance of possessing the most complete artistically decorated work one could imagine.

In my opinion, Manufacture Jaeger-LeCoultre is one of the few watchmakers still offering this traditional high art of watch decoration.


(Each fired enamel layer must be baked in this primitive looking oven, mind you, the oven is not as cheap as I thought)


The Manufacture Jaeger-LeCoultre knows exactly where to uncover authentic enamel paintings in order to entrust them to its specialist Miklos Merczel, one of the last enamellers.

This enables Jaeger-LeCoultre to enjoy its position as one of the rare watch Manufactures to offer one of the oldest techniques applied to watch decoration.


(The amazing Montre de poche, a pocket watch worthy of our time. based on a reproduction of a portrait by Alfons Mucha)

It takes several weeks of intense concentration to create a miniature. The art consists, literally, in playing with fire. It needs the nerves and patience of an expert in design reproduction, coloring an enameling technique.


(Enthralled by the beauty of enamel works, The Maharajah of Karputala ordered 50 of them enamelled with his effigy in 1932)


The slightest miscalculation during the process ruins the entire work. First the gold case-back must be sandwiched between coatings of white enamel so that it does not buckle when fired in the oven heated to 850° C.


(Ready products, pieces like this will be inspected in details to ensure it meets the high standards set by Miklos, many are rejected and will not be used in delivery)

Then the artist builds up the picture in layers of enamel colours, minutely painted with a brush pointed to a single hair. Each layer of enamel is vitrified by firing it for a precise time in a furnace. But the colours change when they are fired, so the artist has to calculate the chromatic shift and estimate the final tone. The colours are intensified in each layer until the final picture emerges in the virtuoso display of brilliance and colour that has always made a miniature in enamels the most treasured – and intimate- of possessions.


(Miklos, a brilliant Master Enamelist)

Several centuries of tradition.

The first traces of working with enamel go back to before the fifth century BC. Greek sculptors used to decorate their statues with enamelled inlays. The oldest Greek and Celtic specimens are composed of opaque enamels and it was only in the 12th century, in the Gothic era, that the enamellers began to use transparent enamels. The techniques then became increasingly sophisticated and 16th century English goldsmiths and their 18th century French counterparts produced truly splendid pieces.



(Pretty maids all in a row)

Among the techniques known to date, miniature enamel painting probably constitutes the most accomplished form of this art. Born in the 17th century for decorating jewellery and precious objects, the base for enamel miniatures consists of a metal plaque coated with a single colour of enamel to which an artist applies colours using a brush. This technique first appeared in France under the name "émail de Blois", but was later perfected in Geneva, which became one of the specialised enamelling centres, particularly in the field of watchmaking.


(Lempicka in XGT case, one of the projects which may not go into production)

It is hardly surprising that Geneva has exercised such an enduring influence on the development of miniature enamel painting. Meticulous precision, which is the core of the watchmaker's profession, is also crucial to the work of the miniature painter. It is indeed typical of the people of Geneva and plays a determining role in the quality craftsmanship embodied in a watch, its movement, its case and its decoration. At the end of the 18th century, it was this same meticulous precision, combined with a taste for perfection in details that would lead the Geneva enamellers to devise the technique known as flux enamel painting. A sophisticated version of miniaturised enamel painting, this technique has undoubtedly become the most highly prized of all, due to its high artistic value and its ability to stand the test of time...


(Like the Eiffel Tower in Paris? It could have been yours!)

A consummate art of patience.

Flux enamel painting calls for a lengthy sequence of delicate operations. The various stages in the work of the artist call for patience, dexterity, subtlety and require tremendous attention.



(The amazing Little Prince, beautiful!)

In order to stand up to the high temperatures to which it will be subjected, the case-back is first coated with an anti-distortion enamel backing. The artist then undertakes the decoration of the external face of the case by applying four layers of white enamel. It is only that that he begins drawing the motif, using small touches to apply successive thin layers of colour with a brush.

The colours are intensified as they are fired in the furnace until the motif achieves the radiance that has made miniature enamel painting an ideal receptacle for artistic marvels. Flux enamel painting consists of coating the motif with several layers of enamel. Each time a thin film of enamel is applied to the surface of the miniature, the work is fired again in the furnace. The operation is considered complete only when the glazed effect is perfectly brilliant and translucent. The flux, meaning the fine layers of enamel placed on the work at the end of the process, does not only serve as a protecting glazing for the miniaturised painting. Above all, it gives life to the motif by enhancing the depth and radiance of the colours. This operation is extremely delicate: since each firing operation endangers the object, applying the flux and the additional firing operations that implies increases the natural risk associated with the technique of enamel painting.


(Sophie Roche and Miklos Merczel)

By using this typically Genevan procedure of enamel painting, Miklos Merczel, the enameller of Jaeger-LeCoultre, is in fact reviving a longstanding tradition, that of decorating watches with enamelled miniatures. Under Louis XIV, enamellers and miniaturists combined their talents to create increasingly refined watches. Miniature portraits and charming rustic scenes of the kind inspired by Watteau decorated the watch cases and dials. And now, thanks to the work of Miklos Merczel, the miniaturised enamel works of the painter Mucha my be admired on the case of the swivel watch.


(Dawn from the familiar Dusk & Dawn)


The art in figures:
• 80 to 150 hours of work are required to complete a painting
• 26 watches are thus decorated each year by Miklos Merczel and Sophie Roche, the enamellers of the Manufacture


THE ARTISTS…

Miklos Merczel refused to give in to the communist regime in Hungary, accompanying the last traces of family reluctance to the border post. His watchmaker father and mother were entirely submitted to a shameful dictatorship, while the brothers and sisters were easier to persuade. Miklos Merczel had decided: “ I wanted to run away. From childhood on, I did everything with this in mind”. Starting with watchmaking studies, which revealed an incredible wealth of talent.

As an established and noteworthy citizen, his father taught him the art of assembling movements. Won over by the paternal passion, he was eager to begin formal instruction, earning his diploma on his 17th birthday. A year later he left the country with his passport in hand. His journey would take him to Italy, where a one-year stay in a refugee camp confirmed his determination to legalise his status. Since France willingly granted political asylum at the time, he decided to go there.

He quickly began exercising his trade in various Parisian workshops and then joined the Cartier After-Sales Service. He worked in the department dedicated to grand complication models, at a period where the company used to outsource this kind of mechanism to a Manufacture in the Vallée de Joux: Jaeger-LeCoultre. A wish to join the teams in Le Sentier, combined with an aspiration towards an altruistic way of life led him to move to Switzerland.

Highly sensitive and concerned with perfection, he placed his talent in the service of the complication Reverso watches. In fact, Miklos is one of the few watchmakers who can still work with the almost miscroscopic Calibre 101.

In 1991, destiny was to entwine his profession with his passion for painting. While strolling among the displays at the Basel Show, he discovered antique enamelled pocket-watches. It was love at first sight that was to ignite a smouldering passion.


(A Painting of your home in your watch? it is no longer a dream)

Enamel working is not a substitute for watchmaking: it was to become his life. A self-taught craftsman, he nurtured his skills by reading instructive books on the subject and learned how to fire enamels at high temperatures. In 1995, he was able to add the title of master-enameller to that of master-watchmaker and completed his first series inspired by the Four Seasons of Alfons Mucha in 1996. It proved an immediate success.

The artist succeeded in restoring its full aura to the most intimate of the decorative arts: enamel-painted miniatures. This most complete of the watchmaking arts requires weeks of intense concentration. His father is very proud of his son’s creations. Miklos Merczel tempers this with a reminder that “It is partly thanks to him that I am here”. The man with dual French and Hungarian nationality does not forget those who raised him and made him the person he is.

Miklos dedicates all his time in producing Enamel pieces he can be proud of while ensuring that the confident Sophie Roche will be able to do the work as skilfully in the shortest possible time. Miklos told me at the factory this June (2003) that the ultimate accomplishment would be to see Sophie becoming a better enamellist than he is one day.

My sincere admiration and salute to this amazing artist.

Jaw


    
This message has been edited by thepurist178 on Nov 16, 2003 7:49 AM


 
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ThomasM
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An important clarifying exchange about cloisonne work

November 16 2003, 7:44 AM 

Simon Bryquer
(no login)
Fantastic. Great work. Just curious do they also do November 13 2003, 9:03 PM

enamel works in the cloisonné style?

Truly beautiful. These enamels are art for art sake within an horological work. Great essay.

Simon B.




Jaw
(no login)
In my personal opinion, probably not... November 14 2003, 5:18 AM

The Cloisonne enamel is also to be appreciated.

After seeing Miklos and Sophie at work, I feel that the Cloisonne method is much simpler, and take less effort and time.

Historically, I think Miklos chooses the most difficult enamelling method.

Jaw



Simon Bryquer
(no login)
Simpler in what way? November 14 2003, 9:58 PM

It is my understanding that in cloisonné, in addition to applying enamel, one also outlines each miniscule shape with a microscopically thin (gold but mostly copper)wire, sometimes filigree wire. I don't know what cloisonné examples you've seen that makes you come to the conclusion that it is a simpler art.

Are we speaking of the cloisonné miniature masterpieces of the Renaissance, especially the Florentine works and later the French or during the Golden Age of Cyprus were it originated. By the way the Chinese have a great tradition of cloisonné that goes back to the end Yuan Dynasty ( 1271-1368) or as some claim to Emperor Zhu Zhangji at the beginning of the Ming Dynasty( 1368-1648) but the technique is somewhat different.

Wonder what Miklos Merczel would have to say about the art of cloisonné.

Simon




Curtis
(Login watchmaker)
AHCI Forum Moderator
I agree>>> November 15 2003, 2:53 PM

Hi Simon,

It is my belief that cloisonne is a more technically challenging enamelling technique than painted enamel. This is not to diminish one technique against the other, as both require great skill and talent, but I fully believe painted enamelling is one of the least challenging forms (relatively speaking ). I am very impressed with the work of Miklos, but I fancy the work and talent of Anita Porchet. I was fortunate enough to meet her at Basel this year and see some of her work. I do not know enough about the subject to say she is the best, but I do know enough that her name must be included in any discussion about enamellers in the watch industry.

Cheers,

Curtis



Simon Bryquer
(no login)
I was essentially responding to Jaw November 15 2003, 4:51 PM

calling cloisonné a simpler form of enameling.

And I totally agree with you Curtis, it is perhaps the most complex and difficult form to master. The Frick Museum in New York has perhaps one of the most comprehensive collection of cloisonné miniatures that can be seen anywhere. Curtis, if you're ever in NYC make sure not to miss it. I'm assuming you live in Europe.

In no way would I say anything to take away from Miklos' outstanding achievement in the craft. I just wondered if Miklos practiced cloisonné, because it is my preferred method of enameling.

Thanks for the response -------------- Simon



Jaw
(no login)
Thanks for sharing.. November 15 2003, 5:16 PM

Always welcome your very measured and well thought out response.




Curtis
(Login watchmaker)
AHCI Forum Moderator
Actually, I live in PA, but will be living in CA from December forward>>> November 15 2003, 6:59 PM

Hi Simon,

For the record, I know you were not saying "anything to take away from Miklos" and am sorry if my response seemed to imply that. I was speaking for myself - I think cloisonne is more difficult and that I prefer Anita as a talent - not to take anything away from Miklos who is clearly gifted.

Funny, I live 3 hrs. from NYC but I have spent significantly more time in Switzerland! LOL In fact, I have neglected one of the world's great cities and don't know when I will have the chance to visit NYC, as we will be living in CA shortly. You don't appreciate what you have until its gone (or until you move across the country!).


Cheers,

Curtis

* I did live in England (lived in Wales studied in England) for 18 months - been back in the States for 2 yrs. now.



Jaw
(no login)
Example of a great cloisonne work.. November 15 2003, 8:06 PM




Unfortunately, not all cloisonne dial can be this good.




Simon Bryquer
(no login)
Interesting example but when I think of cloisonné November 16 2003, 7:26 AM

I think of those intricate and complex miniatures that at first glance look like a magnificent enamel landscape, still-life, portrait or whatever, -- even in the abstract or non-objective examples of the art, minute detail is the dominant challenge of the cloisonné artist -- but then upon closer examination one notices fragile lines of gold defining and detailing the shape of faces, garments, nudes, trees, arrangements of fruit or flowers and etc.

What this delicate line of gold/copper or whatever the precious metal used is, it adds a dimension of luminosity and transcendence to a flat surface like in Porchet's series on Vermeer paintings. I'm looking for good photos of works like these but can't seem to find any on the web. Last year sometime there was a beautiful collection of pocket watches auctioned by Antiqorum. Truly masterpieces of cloisonné pocket watches.

I'm still looking and when I find them I'll post them.

Simon B.



Jaw
(no login)
Anita Porchet... November 15 2003, 5:15 PM

Indeed, Anita Porchet is proabaly the only one left still able to supply to Jaquet Droz and Patek Phillippe etc with great enamels and should be included in any discussions about great enamellists.

My apology if I came across as depreciating the art of cloisonne which should be admired as a separate skill, but in Cloisonne enamels, there is cloisonne and there is cloisonne.

A mediocre cloisonne enamelist can simply divide the dial into 3 to 6 sections by using gold wire for example in any shape he or she chooses and filled each carved out section with ONE colour without careful consideration of how each colour turns out (making strange and random geometric shapes with faded colour or colours) while others are doing it seriously.

Of some of the Cloisonne enamel dials turn out in certain brands, what I should have said is that it would be easier to get away with poorly made cloisonne dial without attracting too much criticism.

My apology.

Another fantastic example of great enamel art.

img src="">

Jaw


Curtis
(Login watchmaker)
AHCI Forum Moderator
Beautiful work - Thanks! -nt November 15 2003, 7:00 PM

nt

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Simon Bryquer
(no login)
Also, just an additional word, regarding Anita Porchet she is the one that November 15 2003, 5:19 PM

did a rendition of Vermeer's 'Lacemaker' in cloisonné and also has done work for Jaquet Droz, who by the way did some extraordinary cloisonné watches in the past, one might even say among the best.


Simon B.



Jaw
(no login)
Certainly I am a great admirer of Anita too.. (nt) November 15 2003, 5:22 PM

....although my personal preference is atill Miklos' way of doing it, seeing how he has done his work in the most intricate ways. I guess personal involvement makes the difference.

Jaw



 
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ThomasM
(Premier Login thepurist178)
AP Discussion Group

Details about the function and design of the Master Compressor keys

December 31 2003, 2:16 PM 


 
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Jaw
(Login TJN)

History of 8 Days Movements

March 29 2004, 2:42 PM 


 
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PeterCDE
(Login pc01)

PuristS visit Jaeger-LeCoultre - the 2004 trip

November 7 2004, 1:42 PM 



    
This message has been edited by pc01 on Nov 7, 2004 1:43 PM


 
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Dje
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AP Discussion Group

The 75th Reverso Anniversary party in Paris

October 31 2006, 1:38 PM 


 
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