In the weeks leading up to Baselworld 2015 I received an email to invite me for a private viewing of the newest offering from the brand. Now you can probably imagine that I get quite a few of these emails in the weeks/months prior to the biggest watch fair. However this invitation was different, as it was not watch related. It involved a 60.66 carat diamond and a high-mech belt buckle created by Roland Iten. Since it wasn’t about watches, I explained that this was not my kind of thing. Carol, Roland Iten’s wife, was rather persistent and I agreed to come and have a look, although I really no nothing about diamonds. So on a sunny Sunday morning, during Baselworld, I set off to meet Carol and Roland in the Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois in Basel, and that became a very interesting meeting.
Of course I could tell you that I had a 10 million belt buckle in my hands, with a
big HUGE shiny diamond in it. However that wouldn’t do justice to Roland’s creation. And it would neither do justice to the spectacular orange brown 60.66 carat diamond that goes by the name of Diablo. This creation is a collaboration between Roland Iten and Claude Sfeir, world-renowned jewelry expert and watch collector.
The diamond can be traced back almost 160 years and is cut to a rare kite-shape (I was told). As I said, I don’t know much about diamonds. Of course I do read the occasional press release about ladies watches with a diamond set bezel. Too often these are men’s watches and by adding some diamonds these watches are relabeled ‘ladies watch’. Lack of inspiration if you ask me, however what do I, as a man, know about ladies watches. In these press releases I have read a bit about diamonds and I do know (a bit) about cut, colour, clarity, and carat of diamonds. However not enough to understand the gravity of sixty carats, or to be precise 60.66 carats. So I better lean on the info provided by Roland Iten and Claude Sfeir.
From the press info: “Large fancy (colored) diamonds are very rare. Even rarer is such a nearly flawless (type VS2) colored diamond of this size. Less than 2 percent of all diamonds earn a VS2 classification; these are chemically quite pure with exceptional optical transparency. It is its unique combination of color, clarity, and size that makes the Diablo such a sought-after and collectible gem.
Discovered in India, the stone is from the Golconda region, origin of some of the world’s most famous diamonds. Other famed specimens from this region include the 545.65-carat Golden Jubilee, the 128.48-carat Star of the South, and, naturally, the 45.52-carat Hope Diamond. Due to its age and origin, the 60.66-carat Diablo is considered conflict-free.”
So there you go, the Roland Iten R60 Diablo has a diamond that is bigger than the famous Hope Diamond!
So, what do I think of this belt buckle? Although I don’t know much about diamonds, I do love mechanics, especially the micro mechanics that make our watches indicate the correct time. Show me a quartz watch, even when it’s very nicely designed, and my attention fades with the speed of light. I have to admit that I have never given belt buckles much attention. Of course I have a few nice belt buckles, probably like many of you. However I never thought about the possibilities that Roland Iten is pioneering.
Roland Iten creates luxurious, complex and beautifully crafted high-mech men’s accessories. The mechanical belt mechanism of the R60 Diablo is a perfect example, however there are several other “calibres” (yes, again the reference to watches) as the belt buckles are named, and also credit card dispensers, cuff links and even shoe tips. All of these are of course very technical creations, and that’s what I found so appealing.
The R60 Diablo comprises precisely 109 components in 18-karat red gold and white gold with grade 5 titanium utilized for the chassis architecture. With hand-crafted bridges, cogs, wheels, springs, and pinions it almost sounds as if we’re talking about a mechanical watch. The construction not only allows a ‘calibrated adjustment’ to an exact waist measurement, but also affords an expansion range of 22 mm. Roland Iten’s accessories have all been entirely handcrafted, polished, and assembled in Geneva, however they don’t come with the Geneva seal. All together I very much enjoyed the meeting with Carol and Roland, and although Roland Iten’s belt buckles don’t tell the time, I have to say that there are a lot of parallels between both worlds.
More info about the R60 Diablo on the Roland Iten website.