T3 Special Watches Introduces Dague Time Dragon and Dague Guilloché

Incorporating artisanal techniques.

T3 Special Watches made its debut in 2021 with the Dague, a watch designed to embody the aesthetic preferences of its Italian founders, vintage watch dealer Andrea Marzari and watch aficionado Alessandro Poggi.

Inspired by the Patek Philippe Calatrava ref. 96 and livened up with colourful, “Stella” style dials, the Dague has now been given an artisanal touch with the Dague Time Dragon and the Dague Guilloché. The newest iterations illustrate the brand’s ambitious attempts at fine enamelling and guilloché – the brand recruited noted enameller Vanessa Lecci for the cloisonné dial – techniques typically seen on pieces from more established brands. 

Initial thoughts

In the realm of micro-brands, it is uncommon to find traditional and artisanal guilloché and enamelling due to their high cost. Therefore, it was surprising to see T3 partnering with enameller Vanessa Lecci, renowned for her exceptional work for establishment brands like Cartier, Parmigiani Fleurier, Vacheron Constantin, and Voutilainen.

The initial Dague series had a pleasant design that was not truly captivating for anyone not inclined towards a retro, Italian style. However, the new series showcases a significantly more compelling aesthetic.

The enamelled dial of the Time Dragon, juxtaposed with the sector-styled outer disc, creates a visually striking contrast highly reminiscent of vintage watches with cloisonné dials made by Patek Philippe and Rolex. It would be exciting to witness the brand’s future creations centred around such mythical creatures.

T3 doesn’t reveal the artisanal responsible for the guilloche dial, but it is done on an old school manually-operated rose engine and like the cloisonné dial, appears to be of excellent quality.

Certainly, the watches carry a significant price with the guilloche starting at US$26,800, and more than double that for the Time Dragon. Nevertheless, considering the craftsmanship invested in the dials – and the reputation of enameller Ms Lecci – the pricing is justifiable and appropriate for a small, startup brand. Comparable work by Ms Lecci in a watch from an establishment brand would cost well into the six figures. 

Metiers d’art

The brand has expanded the Dague collection by featuring new models with dials that have been fashioned using traditional watchmaking techniques, most notably guilloché and cloisonné enamelling. 

The main difference between the two models is the design and construction of the inner disc. The Time Dragon has a cloisonné enamelled inner disc featuring the motif of a fiery red dragon that was created by Vanessa Lecci that sits on either a blue or green background. Ms. Lecci uses antique glazes, some of which are no longer in production, to obtain its striking appearance on the wrist. 

The Dague Time Dragon

The Guilloché, which as its name implies has an inner disc that has been hand-engraved with a guilloché pattern is far more monochromatic with the inner and outer dial in a muted grey. This is subsequently finished off through a galvanic bath to provide added texture to it. 

The Dague Guilloché

Similar to the first series, it is housed in a titanium case measuring 41.4 mm in diameter and 11 mm high. Its movement is derived from the vintage Longines pocket watch calibres, namely the cal. 18.89M and cal. 17.89M, which have been carefully refurbished and decorated. Being century-old movements, the calibres offer a short power reserve of just 36 hours. 

Key facts and price

T3 Special Watches Dague Time Dragon and Guilloché

Diameter: 41.4 mm
Height: 11 mm
Material: Titanium
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 50 m

Movement: Based on vintage Longines cal. 18.89M and cal. 17.89M
Functions: Hours, minutes and seconds
Winding: Hand-wind
Frequency: 18,000 beats per hour (2.5 Hz)
Power reserve: 36 hours

Strap: Alligator strap 

Limited edition: Regular production except the Guilloché model which is limited to 12 pieces
Availability: Direct from T3 Special Watches
Price: US$26,800 (Guilloché); US$64,800 (Time Dragon)

For more information, visit T3specialwatches.ch


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Ulysse Nardin Introduces the Freak X Enamel Blue

A champlevé enamel dial for a Thai retailer.

Ulysse Nardin is introducing a more classical iteration of its affordable Freak to mark the 15th year of PMT The Hour Glass, a luxury watch retailer in Thailand. The Freak X Enamel Blue maintains the avant-garde styling of the model while introducing a touch of old school elegance with a captivating blue enamel dial embellished with vibrant guilloché.

Initial thoughts

Ulysse Nardin, known for its experimental designs, pleasantly surprises by integrating a champlevé enamel dial into a watch that is otherwise unabashedly modern. The standout feature is the dial that combines the artistry of enamelling and guilloché, made possible by the brand’s in-house dial factory. This infusion of classicism into the inherently contemporary watch results in an understated and surprisingly harmonious aesthetic.

As is always the case with a novel limited edition, hopefully Ulysse Nardin will maintain the exclusivity of this design and refrain from replicating too much in future models.

The Freak X Enamel Blue carries a price tag of US$40,100, almost twice the cost of the standard model. While the dial is traditional enamel – painted and fired by hand in other words – the construction and movement remain unchanged over the standard model, making the price hard to rationalise.

15th anniversary

The Freak X edition commemorates the fifteenth anniversary of PMT The Hour Glass, a joint venture between local jeweller Prima Times (PMT) and Singapore watch retailer The Hour Glass. Established in 2008 and led by Narun “Note” Thamavaranukup, the scion of a prominent family of jewellers, PMT The Hour Glass represents most major brands, including Rolex and Patek Philippe, along with independent brands like Ulysse Nardin and MB&F.

The anniversary watch is a variant of the Freak X, initially unveiled in 2019. The Freak X is a simplified and more affordable take on the original Freak concept that relies on a conventional automatic movement with a Freak-style carousel regulator on the front. The carousel contains the balance wheel and escapement, while also functioning as the minute hand – a remarkable feat considering the entry-level pricing of the model.

The PMT anniversary edition is pricier because of the dial. The champlevé dial is crafted by the artisans at Donzé Cadrans, a dial maker with a historical specialty in enamel dials that’s owned by Ulysse Nardin.

A meticulous process starting with guilloché on the dial base and then multiple layers of translucent enamel means the dial requires at least five cycles of painting and firing before completion.

While the dial features artisanal decoration, the design of the Freak X remains unchanged from the standard models. It is housed in a streamlined case measuring 43 mm in diameter with tapered lugs and a crown at three. 

The Freak X is equipped with the UN-230, an in-house calibre that combines an automatic movement with a carousel display module while providing a healthy power reserve of 72 hours.

It also has a lever escapement and a large balance wheel both rendered in silicon. The balance wheel is enhanced with micro-blades that leverage air resistance to stabilise amplitude and improve accuracy. Additionally, nickel adjusting weights are incorporated to increase inertia, further enhancing the movement’s performance. The result is probably the most complex and advanced balance wheel in this price range.

Key facts and price

Ulysse Nardin Freak X Enamel Blue
Ref. 2303-270LE-3AE-THG/3A

Diameter: 43 mm
Height: Unavailable
Material: Titanium
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 50 m

Movement: UN-230
Functions: Hours and minutes
Winding: Automatic
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Power reserve: 72 hours

Strap: Alligator strap with deployant buckle

Limited edition: 50 pieces
Availability: Only through PMT The Hour Glass and its retail network
Price: US$40,100

For more information, visit Ulyssenardin.com


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