Hands-on Artisans de Genève “La Blausee” – A Skeletonized and Hand-Wound Take on the Rolex Daytona

The Rolex Daytona and its chronograph Calibre 4130 like you’ve never seen them before.

calendar | ic_dehaze_black_24px By Xavier Markl | ic_query_builder_black_24px 4 minute read |
Artisans de Geneve La Blausee - Skeletonized and Hand-Wound Rolex Daytona 116520

Artisans de Genève is a watchmaking company that offers watch customization services for private clients. However, Artisans de Genève is not your typical watch customizer. No blackened timepieces here… Its work goes far beyond aesthetics with impressive modifications on the structure of the watch itself and its movement performed by its craftsmen and watchmakers. For instance, this atelier’s latest creation is a skeletonized and hand-wound take on the Rolex Daytona 116520… And it looks pretty cool, indeed. Meet the Artisans de Genève La Blausee.

Artisans de Geneve La Blausee - Skeletonized and Hand-Wound Rolex Daytona 116520

With this new piece, Artisans de Genève isn’t only customizing the look… It a proper high-end watchmaking job!

With this new creation named “La Blausee” (one of Switzerland’s most beautiful lakes), Artisans de Genève wishes to pay tribute to classic watchmaking and to early Daytona watches, which were hand-wound chronographs. And the result is rather spectacular. Based on a standard Daytona Ref. 116520, La Blausee is a unique take on the iconic sports chronograph, which stands out with its substantially modified Calibre 4130. It has been entirely skeletonized and transformed from an automatic movement to a hand-wound chronograph!

Artisans de Geneve La Blausee - Skeletonized and Hand-Wound Rolex Daytona 116520

Reimagining the Rolex Calibre 4130 was required to transform this modern high-performance column-wheel chronograph into a manual version, removing the automatic mechanism and fitting it with a new barrel and a new mainspring, without slipping bridle – and yet ensuring the same 72-hour power reserve. It also involved skeletonizing, redecorating and eventually recreating some components. 

Artisans de Geneve La Blausee - Skeletonized and Hand-Wound Rolex Daytona 116520

Artisans de Geneve La Blausee - Skeletonized and Hand-Wound Rolex Daytona 116520

Among the new parts, the handmade ultra-thin balance bridge and the barrel ratchet are especially worthy of attention. Last, the movement is sandblasted and given a nickel palladium finish, resulting in a unique colour and technical look. All in all, the modification of the movement takes over 200 hours of work to complete.

All the parts of the movement are finely decorated, with multiple hand-polished bevels – on the edges of the bridges and on the levers – and even includes some sharp, internal angles, which can only be performed by skilled watchmakers. The levers and springs, made of steel, are straight brushed.

Artisans de Geneve La Blausee - Skeletonized and Hand-Wound Rolex Daytona 116520

Besides the movement, the habillage has also been substantially modified to create this Artisans de Genève La Blausee. The base remains the 40mm case of the Rolex Daytona ref. 116520, made of Oystersteel. It has, however, been redecorated, as the lugs are now satin-brushed. It also features polished angles and the back of the case is sandblasted.

Artisans de Geneve La Blausee - Skeletonized and Hand-Wound Rolex Daytona 116520

To give this Artisans de Genève La Blausee a unique look, it has been fitted with a new, custom-made blue ceramic bezel (La Blausee is a beautiful Swiss lake known for its crystal-clear blue water). All the indications on the bezel are engraved and filled in white, with the exception of the tachymetre mention, in red. The original screw-down pushers have been replaced with the ‘Millerighe’ ones, which refer to early screw-down Daytona pushers.

Artisans de Geneve La Blausee - Skeletonized and Hand-Wound Rolex Daytona 116520

The original dial of the Rolex Daytona has been skeletonized, sandblasted and black coated. New circular hour markers and new polished and sandblasted hands have also been added. Last and not least, the caseback is fashioned out of titanium. It is engraved and it features a sapphire crystal offering an unimpeded view on the superb open-worked movement. 

The Artisans de Genève La Blausee is worn on a traditional stainless steel Oyster bracelet with folding clasp, yet it has been entirely satin brushed – no more polished central links.

Artisans de Geneve La Blausee - Skeletonized and Hand-Wound Rolex Daytona 116520

This hand-wound, skeletonized take on the Rolex Daytona manages to give this iconic chronograph a technical and bold look, but also adds a traditional Haute-Horlogerie feeling to a normally industrial watch. Naturally, some die-hard Rolex aficionados will think that this is irrelevant and that the Daytona is simply perfect as it is.

Yet, the Artisans de Genève La Blausee is a surprisingly well-executed take on this cult watch. Most of the time, here at MONOCHROME, we are not fans of modified watches, but this one is quite impressive, whether in terms of looks or for the level of modifications and decoration performed on the movement.

Artisans de Geneve La Blausee - Skeletonized and Hand-Wound Rolex Daytona 116520

The price is for this customized Artisans de Genève is CHF 46,500 (excl. taxes). For more information and pre-orders, visit the dedicated page at www.artisansdegeneve.com.

3 responses

  1. Bearing in mind the recent articles about Rolex values it would be interesting if we could know what the value of this is after a year or so. In my opinion the Daytona is not one of the better looking watches that Rolex make , but this version is pretty hideous.

  2. Some of their recent creations have crazy prices in the market, and I think they really did great jobs to transform these ubiquitous Daytonas into haute horlogerie.

  3. Todo lo realizado por esta gente es artesanía pura los detalles la esqueletizacion de sus piezas y el trabajo que es sin duda espectacular no hay otros que lleven a,cabo tal trabajo con tanta minuciosidad que me deja sin aliento estas versiones libres del daytona son únicas por eso su valor su bajos ejemplares y la atención esmerada son maravillosos únicos e irrepetibles ojalá algún día Rolex se decidieran hacer algo en conjunto

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