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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Timepiece Tuesday: Boucheron Beautifies the ‘Time Machine’

Jwlrymachine in purple

MB&F, founded in 2005, is a small Swiss watch company that makes a limited number of elaborate and innovative wristwatches, known as “horological machines,” that are sold at astronomical prices. Their timepieces straddle the limits of modern-day engineering, architecture and technical mastery. What these watches lacked was a touch of beauty. That’s where Boucheron comes in.

HM3 Starcruiser
In what may seem to some like an unlikely collaboration, the famed 152-year-old French jewelry house was asked to create a refined, bejeweled face for MB&F’s Horological Machine No.3 (HM3). The result is Jwlrymachine, a three-dimensional owl, available either in 18k white gold, with amethyst, diamonds and blue and violet sapphires, or in 18k red gold, with pink tourmaline, rose quartz, diamonds and pink sapphires.

The owl’s eyes are large glowing cabochons, set over the twin cones. Its sparkling wings, wrapped protectively around the HM3 engine, are made of pavé-set with brilliant-cut stones. Its feathered breast is sculpted and engraved from a single block of amethyst or rose quartz. The glowing eyes, sparkling wings and gleaming breast create a carefully choreographed play of light. Beneath the owl’s breast, its heart appears to be beating. The illusion is created by the faintly perceived swings of MB&F’s solid-gold battle-axe-shaped rotor beneath the translucent stone.

HM3 Movement
For the astute regular readers of the Jewelry News Network, Boucheron’s collaboration with MB&F isn’t as unlikely as it may have first appeared. The French family dynasty, known as one of the world’s top purveyors of high jewelry, is also a company that embraces technology and innovation. It was one of the first luxury companies to use e-commerce. It has an active social media presence. Just today, JNN posted a story about Boucheron’s computer application that allows users to virtually try on its jewelry.

Innovation has always been the hallmark of truly great luxury companies. But you already knew this.

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