Raul Pages Introduces the Arabic Calligraphy Cloisonné Enamel

Elegant enamelling.

Independent watchmaker Raul Pages debuted his first wristwatch in 2016, after several years spent restoring watches and clocks at Parmigiani and then the Patek Philippe Museum. Limited to just 10 watches, the Soberly Onyx wristwatch contained a reworked and highly decorated Cyma movement from the 1950s. The very last of the series, however, is strikingly different from the rest.

The Arabic Calligraphy pièce unique is a custom commission from a European client, an important collector of both vintage and modern watches who already has two other Soberly Onyx watches. The client wanted a cloisonné enamel dial bearing the phrase ٱلْـحَـمْـدُ للهِ‎, or alhamdulillah. Most commonly used by Muslims but also by Arabic speakers of other denominations, it translates as “thank God” or “praise be to God”.

Raul recruited Jean-Luc Peter, an enamel artisan who has also done work for Hermes, to create this dial. Elegant and striking in form, the phrase is executed in a mustard enamel and outlined in fine gold wire, as is traditional for cloisonné enamel. It sits agains a vivid green background that complements the rose gold hands and case beautifully.

The rest of the watch is identical to the standard Soberly Onyx, which has a polished onyx stone dial. That means the case is 40mm in diameter and a slim 9.3mm high.

Inside is a movement that started out as a Cyma 586K from the 1950s, but one that has been heavily modified by Raul. The bridges were reshaped and given more elegant, flowing lines – and three solid gold chatons installed for the jewels of the going train – while Raul installed his own free-sprung adjustable mass balance wheel.

All of the components are decorated by hand to a high standard, including chamfering of the spokes of all wheels and polished countersinks for the jewels and screws.

The Arabic Calligraphy wristwatch is the final watch in the Soberly Onyx series, and Raul will soon debut a new timepiece powered by a movement of his own design.

Key facts and price

Arabic Calligraphy pièce unique 

Diameter: 40mm
Height: 9.3mm
Material: 18k rose gold
Water resistance: 30m

Movement: Cyma 586K base
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds
Winding: Hand-wound

Frequency: 18,000 beats per hour, or 2.5Hz
Power reserve: 42 hours

Strap: Alligator

Availability: Direct from Raul Pages
Price: Approximately 50,000 Swiss francs with a cloisonné dial

For more, visit Pageswatches.com.


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Ulysse Nardin Introduces the Diver X Cape Horn and Nemo Point Editions

For the world's most extreme yacht race.

Having just signed on as a sponsor of the Vendée Globe 2020-2021, Ulysse Nardin has unveiled a pair of dive watches for the solo, nonstop, round-the-world yacht race.

Each named after points along the race route, the Diver X Cape Horn and Diver X Nemo Point are based on Ulysse Nardin’s well-priced dive watch – both are below US$10,000 – powered by the in-house UN-118 movement.

Diver X Cape Horn

Vendée Globe

Often described as the toughest sailing competition in the world, Vendée Globe is a nonstop, single-handed race – meaning a solo sailor in the boat – requiring competitors to circumnavigate the globe.

Sailing monohull yachts, the contestants start and end at Les Sables d’Olonne, a beach town in the Vendée department on France’s Atlantic coast that is usually a quiet place, until the race begins. According to The New York Times, some 1.5 million spectators descended on the town in 2016 for the last race.

The start of the Vendée Globe 2016-2016. Photo – Vincent Curutchet/DPPI and Vendée Globe

Yachts in the harbour. Photo – Vincent Curutchet/DPPI and Vendée Globe

The sailors – there were 29 in the Vendée Globe 2016-2017 – have to travel 40,075km in a north-south direction, without any assistance along the way. In the eight contests since the Vendée Globe began in 1989, three sailors have died.

The next race starts on November 8, 2020, and will take several months to complete. In the last Vendée Globe, the winner completed the course in just over 74 days, while the last-place finisher took over 124 days, or four months.

The watches

Both watches share the same 44mm case – which wears smaller than it sounds – and the UN-118 movement. The in-house movement has its pallet fork and escape wheel made from diamond-coated silicon, or what Ulysse Nardin terms Diamonsil, while the hairspring is silicon. And in a first for Ulysse Nardin, both are fitted on lightweight fabric straps with a velcro fastener.

The southernmost point along the Vendée Globe route is Cape Horn, where the waters and weather are terrible, and sailing dangerous. So it’s fitting that the Diver X Cape Horn is the more aggressive looking – and more striking – of the two. And the Diver X Cape Horn is also the official watch of the Vendée Globe 2020-2021.

The route of Vendee Globe is engraved in relief on the back

This has a titanium case coated in black diamond-like carbon (DLC), with both the bezel and dial made from carbon composite. Like the carbon composite found on the Freak X, the material here is environmentally minded: it’s made from the offcuts of carbon composite left over from aircraft parts production.

The Diver X Nemo Point gets its name from a spot in the South Pacific – specifically 48°52.6′S 123°23.6′W – that Ulysse Nardin correctly describes as the “middle of nowhere”. It’s a spot in the sea that’s the furthest away from land anywhere in the world, and sailors in the Vendée Globe have to sail past Nemo Point.

The Diver X Nemo Point has a natural-finish titanium case matched with a blue-coated titanium bezel that has a rubberised coating for the insert, giving it a more conventional dive watch look.

Key facts and price

Diver X Cape Horn (ref. 1183-170LE/92-CAP)
Diver X Nemo Point (ref. 1183-170LE/93-NEMO)

Diameter: 44mm
Material: Cape Horn – DLC titanium with carbon bezel insert, Nemo Point – titanium with rubberised bezel
Water resistance: 300m

Movement: UN-118
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4Hz)
Winding: Automatic
Power reserve: 60 hours

Strap: Fabric with velcro

Limited edition: 300 pieces each
Availability: From January 2020 onwards
Price: Cape Horn – 9,900 Swiss francs, Nemo Point – 8,900 Swiss francs

For more information, visit Ulysse-nardin.com.


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