De Grisogono New Retro, an appealing talisman
Founded by Fawaz Gruosi in 1993, the brand is well-known for its exuberant creations and has been producing unique timepieces since 2000. We are going to focus on the New Retro – a combination of minimalism and eccentricity – released in 2015.
It was in the muted ambiance of the Grisogono boutique lounge in Geneva that I had the pleasure of being introduced to and afterwards wearing the New Retro.
Discovering neo-retro Art Déco
First off, we need to highlight that its advertising pictures do not even come close to portraying its real look. In fact, in the pictures it probably looks larger than it is. It’s true; some may be taken aback by the 50-mm wide, 44-mm long and 12-mm thick piece. But they needn’t be. Quite on the contrary. The piece settles comfortably even on my small wrist. Despite its unusual width, it blends in elegantly with the rest of the arm. A pleasant surprise.
Once we get over the initial astonishment at the size of the watch, other details come to our attention. It draws an obvious inspiration from Art Déco, and it is excellently executed. Its style evokes the 1950s.
With the clear lines of its middle, the minimalist aesthetic confers the piece timeless elegance and self-confidence. The rectangular pink gold case – which is water resistant to 3 ATM – features soft, rounded edges and lugs. But it quickly becomes evident that the watch has more to offer. The curves of the dial stand out and confer a sensuous and soft look to the watch while at the same time giving us the urge to go the extra mile.
The special feature of the simple-looking, two-hand model is that when it is worn, its dial and movement seem to be levitating in a sapphire cage. Connected by a thin gold band, two perfectly symmetrical sapphire glasses enclose the whole assembly in an invaluable case. And so, we can fully admire the original sanded and matt dial painted in a unique and daring shaded pale green. It evokes the patina effect of Luminova-coated dials of the 50s and enhances the blue – almost pearly – lacquered indexes and Arabian numerals that the brand specially designed for this watch. They are coated with Super-LumiNova for optimal readability in low light conditions. The panoramic screen offers perfect readability thanks to the contrasting colors. The absence of the numerals 11, 12, 1, 5, 6 and 7 go unnoticed and while that may have been disturbing, it did allow to add a round-shaped harmonious counter to the creatively shaped watch.
The movement also offers a panoramic view on the DG 10-01 – a self-winding mechanical caliber – and its gold, black rhodium-plated, openwork oscillating mass that reproduce the brand's iconic volutes. It oscillates at 28,800 vibrations per hour and provides a 42-hour power reserve.
Now, picture it as a pocket watch
The black lacquered crown at 12 o'clock seems difficult to access. When worn, I can confirm that it is so. But once off the wrist, winding it is easy. Indeed, the crown, which is decorated with the golden de Grisogono coat of arms, is quite big. Once you have it in your hands, you are struck by the urge to touch and play with it. In fact, every element of the timepiece is a pleasure to touch. One example is the large scales of the black alligator strap closed with the high-end triple deployment buckle.
The only regret is that it is not available in a pocket watch version. Hopefully, this will change, as it will be a dream come true to caress it to our heart's content as if it was a weather-polished pebble or a sacred talisman.
The rounded rectangular shape, the smooth curves and the refinement of the sapphire glass urge us to touch it, thus forming a bond between wearer and watch. It is an original timepiece with a streamlined and distinct style. According to de Grisogono, the combination of dandy vintage and modernity paid off excellently.