We’ve featured Dubey & Schaldenbrand on these pages before, bringing attention to their luxury timepieces (link to review). Well, their latest model takes things in a much different direction than we’ve seen from them previously, with a watch that practically looks like it’s made of diamond. Now, for those who know me (or have been reading here for some time), you know that I’m not normally a fan of flashy watches. Sure, I appreciate some polished surfaces and bevels that catch the light to liven up a piece, but I’ve never found myself drawn to a watch that featured gems (diamonds or otherwise) as a way of catching the light.
While I still don’t see myself wearing a piece of that nature, I couldn’t help but to sit up and notice when word came in of the Couer Blanc. Sure, you can add some diamonds to your dial and talk about “bling” – but I think it all pales in comparison to a watch like this that is liberally (and literally) coated with diamonds.
Starting with a 45mm grey gold case, D&S embed 400 diamond baguettes on it’s surface. Apparently, if you run into one of these in person, running your finger along the surface of the case will result in a completely smooth surface feel. Continuing the look, the dial is covered with another 255 diamonds, bringing the total carat weight of the watch to 22.55.
Visibility on such a brilliant surface could be an issue at times, but the inclusion of blue skeletonized hands should keeps things fairly readable (without obscuring too much of your view of the crystallized carbon, of course). Driving those hands around the dial is an in-house movement with a tourbillon, aptly named the Tourbillon Base 8001.
The movement itself isn’t a slouch. Along with the tourbillon, it features a 72 hour power reserve, and beats at a rate 21,600 per hour. Through the dial, you can see the tourbillon at work; flip the watch over, and you can see the movement through the display caseback. Well, you can the movement backplate, some jewels, and some small bits of gearing.
For as flashy of a watch as Couer Blanc is, this caseback view is the most surprising to me. It looks to be well-polished and -finished, but it’s really not that inspiring of a view. Perhaps this was done intentionally to keep focus on the case and dial. For my money, though, I would’ve loved to see them develop a backplane look that complemented the overall look of the piece.
Then again, developing an in-house movement isn’t exactly an inexpensive excursion, and we may see future improvements in this (admittedly non-functional) aspect of the movement. For the three owners of the Couer Blanc (yes, just three are being made), I’m guessing most of their attention (and of anyone who sees it) will be around front, peering through the sapphire crystal at the tourbillon beating away in the midst of a lake of diamonds.
As with other very high-end watches I’ve brought to your attention, I don’t imagine that this is a piece that many of us will be looking to add to our own collections (sure, it would be fun to see in person, but not necessarily a practical addition). No, this I bring to bear as what I think may be the pinnacle of gem-encrusted watches. Other watches I’ve seen may add them here and there as an accent (sometimes to a negative affect, in this writer’s opinion).
Here on the Couer Blanc, however, Dubey & Schaldenbrand have elevated the placement and mounting techniques to the point that the watch seems more to be made of diamond, rather than having diamonds placed on it. If you’re looking for a physical embodiment of “go big or go home” in a luxury watch, this is it. That is, until we actually have a case and dial made of diamond! dubeywatch.com
Technical Data from Dubey & Schaldenbrand
- Movement: Tourbillon Base 8001
- Oscillations: 21’600 per hour
- Jewels: 18 / incabloc
- Power reserve: 72 hours
- Functions: Hours and minutes
- Dial: Grey gold, set with 255 diamond baguettes TW IF VVS
- Hands: Skeleton blued DS hands
- Case: Grey gold, set with 400 diamond baguettes TW IF VVS
- Carat: 22.55
- Dimensions // water resistance: 45 mm // to 50 meters
- Crystal: Convex spherical inside and outside upper sapphire crystal; anti-reflective on both sides; sapphire case-back
- Strap and buckle: Black alligator, tone on tone stitching, large square scales, grey gold, buckle with 54 diamond baguettes
- Price: $800,000