The use of sapphire crystal in watchmaking has become increasingly popular these last few years (See our article Crystal clear on www.europastar.com), but it is nothing new to the craftsmen at Century, who have been sculpting this tough material for more than half a century.
Beauty and light
The majority of high-end watch brands use synthetic sapphire crystal to cover and protect their dials. The material has amazing properties as it is not only close to scratch-resistant, but it refracts so little light that it provides an almost unobstructed view on the dial. Yet, when it is coloured, hand-cut and polished like a precious gem, the light subtly shimmers off the surface, just enough to reveal a hint of the architecture, dimensions and lines within. Each of Century’s creations is a crystal sculpture - from the nine facets of the brand’s Empire line, to the 40 facets of the art deco inspired Couture pieces, and all the way up to the breathtaking 192 facets of the Mogul collection - the complexity of each piece is considerable.
Resistance and endurance
Crystal is no easy material to reshape. It hits a staggering 9 on the Mohs scale, closely following the diamond that holds the top pos-ition at 10 Mohs. This extreme hardness hinders its malleability, making it extremely difficult to work with, but gives it a lustre that will last forever. Century’s master craftsmen and women have been sculpting sapphire crystal for over 50 years and it is this artistry that enables the brand to bring both strength and sparkle to ladies timepieces in such an elegant way.
New releases – Elegance Lady
New this year is the brand’s ‘Elegance Lady’ timepiece from its Contemporary Timepiece Collection. All 48 facets of the sapphire crystal that span the bezel and dial are expertly cut and polished by hand, resulting in a myriad of reflections that highlight this stylish ladies’ timepiece. The Elegance Lady is available in two sizes – 23mm with a quartz movement and 32mm with an automatic movement – and is fitted with a black or white mother-of-pearl dial, six diamonds (totalling 0.032 diamonds) and a steel bracelet.
The Prime Time Chronograph Lady
The sapphire crystal case of the new Prime Time Chronograph Lady has been designed in a dodecagonal form. The 12 sapphire crystal facets produce both a strong design and a robust timepiece that will be able to take on the knocks and scrapes of today’s busy women. A date at 4 o’clock, central seconds, chronograph subdials, a mother-of-pearl dial and white crocodile strap complete this bold timepiece.
Sapphire crystal is not something that the watch industry pays much attention to, maybe because it is hardly visible, but it is one of the most fascinating crafts associated with watchmaking. In our next issue (no. 2/2011) we will be taking a closer look at how Century’s sapphire crystal is created, from the drawing board to the final piece – so stay tuned.
PRIME TIME CHRONOGRAPH LADY
Source: Europa Star February - March 2011 Magazine Issue