INTRODUCING: Jaeger-LeCoultre Rendez-Vous Sonatina ‘Peaceful Nature’ latest trilogy
The watchmaker presents a new series of Rendez-Vous featuring rare crafts that celebrate traditional Oriental art.
Since Jaeger-LeCoultre set up its Métiers Rares atelier, the department has been hard at work releasing special editions and models focusing on artistic crafts. Enamelling and stone-setting are two important crafts the brand has eagerly showcased, especially in collections such as the Rendez-Vous and Reverso.
The Rendez-Vous Sonatina has been a model used by the Métiers Rares department to present its mastery of delicate crafts. The oval-shaped watch has an inner ring on the dial that’s set with diamonds and houses a day/night indicator that completes a rotation each day. It also has the Rendez-Vous’ unique star that’s coupled with a single gong and hammer, which can be set to any time on the day as a reminder of an important rendezvous.
In 2019, a trio of Rendez-Vous Sonatina models was released in a limited edition. Named the ‘Peaceful Nature’, it featured guilloché work on the dial, miniature painting on mother-of-pearl, as well as gem-setting. The collection celebrated natural beauty, with butterflies and orchids on three different dial colours. Now, the brand has released another set of three models in the same vein, this time celebrating traditional Oriental symbols of natural beauty.
The New ‘Peaceful Nature’ Series
These three models feature lacquer work, miniature painting, and gem-setting, combining Eastern artistic traditions with European style. Lacquering is a craft that originates in North Asia, and the craft arrived in the West during the 16th century. In particular, urushi lacquer continues to thrive in Japan and is especially prized for its delicate skill and high quality.
The three watches feature different dials, each bearing an important symbol. For instance, the Crane dial has a soaring crane hovering over a pine tree. A symbol of longevity, it rests on a deep teal-hued lacquer.
The Kingfisher dial has a painting of the bird resting on the branches of a red quince tree, surrounded by floral blooms. The kingfisher symbolises beauty as well as fidelity, and the painting is set on a graduated brown dial.
The Koi dial is perhaps one of our favourites, with a koi fish swimming in a gently rippling pond, over which willow branches hover, as if gently swaying in the breeze. Koi symbolises success, abundance, and perseverance. Each of these dials has a day/night aperture in the middle of the painting, but it’s most poetic in the Koi version, where the sun and moon seem to hover just over the horizon beyond the pond.
Jaeger-LeCoultre has emulated the techniques of maki-e lacquer in these models. Starting with the base, each dial needs to be painted and dried, over and over, to create the vivid colours that are visible. Once the lacquer is fully hardened, the craftsman applies little dots of gold lacquer paint to imitate the effect of maki-e (which uses gold powder sprinkled on wet lacquer instead). Finally, the dial’s visuals are painted using fine brushes, and the display is then further decorated with gold flakes.
Once all these are done, translucent lacquer is applied, layer by layer, and then dried and hardened to seal the painting and decorative details. Lacquer, a strong protective coat, ensures that the dial will remain vividly portrayed forever and makes it even more resistant to damage.
The Sonatina ‘Peaceful Nature’ is powered by the self-winding Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 735, which is visible through the caseback. The movement has a 40-hour power reserve and features the sonnerie en passant function, with a chime that strikes once when the time passes the Rendez-Vous star.
The watch is adorned with diamonds on the bezel, case middle, and sides of the lugs. In addition, a circle of diamonds is also set on the inner ring on the dial that contains the painting. The rose gold cases are mirror-finished and matched with an alligator leather strap. Each watch has 160 diamonds totalling 1.86 carats. The two crowns on the watch case are used for time-setting and adjusting the Rendez-Vous star’s time. Priced at €90,000, they are limited to 10 pieces each and available exclusively at Jaeger-LeCoultre’s boutiques.
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