Yesterday, we had our first look at a watch from EL, the Naples. Today, we’ll have a look at the second review sample that Doc C Clothiers sent over.
The watch in question is the Rivoli, so named for the colors in the sunset-tinged sky of the small Italian town. This is rather a departure from what you’d expect for a dial color in a men’s watch, that (to my surprise) worked quite well along with the brown strap (and, as an aside, my daughter just loved it).
While the Naples was a sport watch through and through, this one I think is what I’m calling a “classic” watch – this is the sort of style and shape that many people will picture (or even sketch out) when they are thinking about a watch. This means that simplicity is a bonus here (where for the Naples I found it a detriment), and allows the watch to be a chameleon, working just as well at the office as it does with a suit or on the weekends.
As with the Naples, the automatic movement here is the EL-18 (based on Claro 888-2) with some additional decoration added for visual interest through the sapphire caseback. This is housed in a 38mm stainless steel case which looks (and wears) a few mil smaller than that measurement might suggest – meaning if you’ve got smaller wrists, you’ll want to give this one a look.
The dial has some interest (aside from the unique color we saw). You’ve got a subtle sunburst pattern hiding in there, which catches the light and breaks up the surface, courtesy of guilloche which is done by hand – much nice than a flat dial in this sort of presentation. Sitting on top of that you have simple (and lumed) stick indices, as well as the 12 up at the top.
As a whole this works very well with the simple hands, and that’s what I truly like about this watch – the simplicity. Yes, there are some “snazzier” touches with the guilloche and croc-grain calfskin strap, but they don’t overwhelm the classic styling. It just a nice, solid all-around watch, working for any manner of situations – the date display just makes it that much more versatile.
You can pick up this watch (or one of the other dial colors, which actually changes the model name) from Doc C here, for the price of $1150. Given the Swiss automatic movement, hand-guilloche details, and versatility of the watch, the pricing doesn’t seem to be wildly out of line.
Our thanks to Doc C Custom Clothiers for sending over the two EL models for us to review. If there is anything else from their lineup you’d like us to review, let me know in the comments (or an email), and I’ll work with them to see if we can’t make that happen.
7 thoughts on “REVIEW: Edouard Lauzieres Rivoli”
I have to wonder if it really is hand guilloche. The hand machining removes metal from the dial surface. So the base metal either has to the violet in color (not likely) or the guilocche the dial and then plate/print the color and chapter ring markers. I’d be very surprised if this is not a stamped dial.
To be fair to you Patrick, I do see that the PDF from the website for the watch does claim hand guilloche. But I will have a hard time believing it.
It was Darell pointing me to the review and to your comment. Thank you very much for your comment and for your interest in my watches.
Guillochage is a form of bringing on a decorating pattern to an object by controlled abrasion of the object’s surface. There are two forms of guillochage, free-hand patterns and patterns following a stencil. The machines for free-hand use have usually the head holding the blade used to abrase the material in a horizontal fashion whereas the controlled pattern machines usually operate with a vertical head. The US brand RGM’s guillochage is done for instance using a free-hand equipment, by the way.
Guillochage can not only be done on metal. Basically, every material that is solid enough allows for it being guilloched thus decorating it by ‘placing burrows’ into it in an operator controlled fashion. This is the same with our dials. The dial manufacturer applies a specially formulated coloured covering to the disk. The cover is carefully leveled and it is then put in an oven to solidify fully at about 50° C. This takes about 20 minutes. The material used for the cover is based on a pine resin and the resin and the process are proprietary to the manufacturer of the dial.
The pattern which is brought on to the disk is done by carefully following a stencil with a kind of pantograph. The operator follows the stencil and controls the amount of abrasion thus the depth and angle of a ray in the dial manually by adjusting the blade used for abrasion accordingly. It requires quite some skill to take off the exact amount of material in order to get the sunburst pattern reflecting the rays of light touching the dial.
You are right that with modern stamping technologies one might achieve close to the same results but only close to the result that is achieved by guillochage. It might be interesting to try out hand-stamping dials and I shall have to ask the dial maker whether this is possible using the same cover material. The colours’ lushness depends to quite a big extent on the material used to cover the dial disk.
We used to have the dials guilloched in-house. The pantograph set-up used back then allowed for making two dials at the same time. These were close to identical as they still differed somewhat from each other as it was impossible to adjust the head holding the abrasion blade completely equally. Upon Micheline’s retirement in mid 2008 we asked the supplier of the dial bases used for abrasion to supply the dials ready to being cased. Micheline was the lady doing all the decorations and engravings.
I am thanking you again for your comment and for your interest you take in my watches.
Thank you for the clarification (and insight) into your process!
Great response, thanks so much for detailing your guilloche methods. So, If I’m reading it correctly, your process cuts or abrates the colored coating. Is that right?
Thank you for your question.
Indeed, it is the coloured coating that is guilloched.
Thank you once again Mr. Elsener for the answer. That explains everything and I’m happy to say I learned something about watch making. Good luck with your watches.