The Schwarz Etienne Roma Phoenix Watch
A collaborative effort between the independent watchmaker of La Chaux-de-Fonds and engraving specialist, Les Ateliers Blandenier.
Schwarz Etienne, despite flying a little under the radar, has a lot to offer. Not only does the manufacturer stand out for its vertical integration, but it’s also one of the very few within the industry to independently manufacture all its own components, supplying these to third party brands including MING. Its sister brand, E20 Innovations, specialises in developing its own hairsprings – a remarkably rare offering (since most companies in the industry rely on Swatch Group’s Niravox hairspring, or Conceptor and Vaucher hairsprings) and also manufacturers CNC machines for developing said components.
In addition to some of its better-known collections like the Roswell and Roma, Schwarz Etienne has also developed special limited edition pieces including the “Ode au Printemps” Tourbillon PSR & Flying Tourbillon models in 2018 (we covered these here) and the “Ode To The Seventies” Flying Tourbillon released in 2019. Just last year, Schwarz Etienne teamed up with Kari Voutilainen to create the time-only Roma Synergy watch, which celebrated some of the rare crafts practised in various Voutilainen production facilities.
A collaboration with Les Ateliers Blandenier
This year, the watchmaker from La Chaux-de-Fonds honours a special partnership with Les Ateliers Blandenier to create the Roma Phoenix watch – a concept to be showcased on the Naked Watchmaker platform for its complexity. Les Ateliers Blandenier employs over 30 craftsmen specialising in métiers d’art. The level of decoration involved in the design of the Roma Phoenix watch and the manufacture of its dial are both spectacles within themselves. Both require a meticulous blend of artisanal skill and age-old techniques that remain rare these days. The 18k red gold Schwarz Etienne Roma Phoenix watch is a unique, one-of-a-kind timepiece that boasts a hand-engraved and hand-decorated Phoenix, suspended against a red gold dial finished in a unique blue enamel.
Running on a manufacture movement with micro-rotor, a clear unobstructed view of the in-house developed ASE 100.00 engine is granted through the back of the watch. The automatic movement performs at a rate of 21,600 vibrations per hour and provides a running time of 86 hours. The watch is completed on a brown alligator leather strap with orange leather lining and a matching 18k red gold pin buckle.
The Phoenix dial
Upon the dial of the Schwarz Etienne Roma Phoenix watch, the words “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall ”(Confucius) surround the hand-engraved and lacquered Phoenix. In addition to this, a small seconds dial residing at 6 o’clock has been crafted entirely from pyrite stone – a reference to the Greek word for fire, “pyr”. To match the hands with the same shades of white and smoky sky-blue colours that act as the sky, multiple trials of enamel powder fired in high temperatures were conducted to acquire the final desired shade. In addition to this, the chosen and traced 18k red gold Phoenix is cut by wire erosion before a 3-week-long process of engraving takes place. The bird is also painted in acrylic by Les Blandenier, giving it a three-dimensional and aged patina, leaving just the claws and beak polished.
Pricing for the Schwarz Etienne and Les Ateliers Blandenier collaboration is upon request only, More details can be found on the timepiece at www.schwarz-etienne.ch.