What is “blue gold” and how did Andersen Genève master it?

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March 2017

Using a proprietary combination of precious metal, a precise aging process and hand engraving, the watchmaker achieves a stunning display of blue tones on its watch dials.

Over the last few years we’ve seen a surge of blue dials on luxury timepieces. One of my favourites examples is the new Girard-Perregaux Laureato, which was reissued to celebrate the brand’s 225th anniversary last year.

I find that blue dial tones are a very elegant look, especially when paired with a yellow gold case, and somehow classy yet more down to earth when matched with a stainless steel case like with the Laureato.

What is “blue gold” and how did Andersen Genève master it?

But the blue that you find on Andersen Genève timepieces is something a bit different. The brand has mastered the use of blue gold in its timepieces, which it first employed in 2005. But the use of the unique material in jewellery has been documented well into Middle Ages.

If you’re new to the blue scene, this gold variant is made of 21 carat gold mixed with 3 parts of iron. When they are chemically combined the result is a metallic white gold finish. In order to get the soft blue we see on their dials, a very delicate heating process is used to get just the right tone. And to make sure that the colour is stable over time, the watches are exposed to 300 days under the Moroccan sun.

What is “blue gold” and how did Andersen Genève master it?

Every Andersen Genève watch has a unique colour, meaning no two watches are exactly alike. You will find that their timepieces are usually well decorated with artistic hand engraved scenes or with detailed motives or patterns. Using both techniques allows the light to reflect in different directions after it hits the dial, thanks to the different angles made by the cuts of the engravers.

If you happen to be at this year’s Baselworld fair, I suggest you swing by the Andersen Genève booth to see the unique effect first hand. You will notice that the blue gold technique has been applied to their 25th anniversary World Timer “Tempus Terrae”. This was the brand’s first ever watch that had a 100% blue gold rotor.

What is “blue gold” and how did Andersen Genève master it?

Similarly, their “Perpetuel Secular Calender” has gotten the blue gold treatment, the brand’s 20th Anniversary timepiece that provides a four years’ program for the leap year cycle, meaning that every 4 years, the 29th February appears.

You might also chance upon the Montre à Tact, a watch with no hands that allows you to feel the time by touch. Such watches came about in 18th century Paris, where it was thought unseemly to take out a pocket watch in public. That’s why Abraham Louis Breguet invented a pocket watch, whose user could simply “feel the time”.

It’s a bit ironic to have a beautiful blue gold dial finish on a watch that is, technically speaking, not intended to be shown in public. But of course, we’re not in 18th century Pairs.