For its new international advertising campaign, the DeWitt watchmaking Manufacture takes as its subject the aristocratic origins of its founder, Jérôme de Witt, a direct descendant of European emperors and kings, who counts among his illustrious ancestors the Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, King Jerome of Westphalia and King Leopold II of the Belgians.
Immersed from a very early age in a universe in which beauty and excellence are synonymous with power, Jérôme de Witt has here distinguished himself, for the twelfth year in succession, by creating exceptional watches in limited series, hand-made in his own Manufacture by craftsmen of long experience.
Nobility, creativity, family passion and watchmaking excellence are the values defended by DeWitt. The brand’s determinedly audacious vision is to create a form of luxury watchmaking that is different yet authentic, combining traditional skills and outstanding technological expertise.
DeWitt’s new advertising visuals showcase two of the brand’s emblematic collections, created in subtle variations of pink and white gold.
Firstly, the Twenty-8-Eight Tourbillon Prestige watch, with its self-winding movement equipped with a patented system for regulating energy, a dead-beat seconds hand and a peripheral rotor, combined with a powerful industrial aesthetic, perfectly illustrates the brand’s in-house technical expertise. For its part, the Alma Collection expresses its femininity through a subtle interplay of forms and harmonious dials, all hand-crafted by the master dial-makers of the Manufacture.
Under the protective silhouette of its founder’s illustrious ancestor Napoleon Bonaparte, DeWitt offers its timepieces to men and women from around the world who are in search of rarity, dignity and watchmaking perfection. They are today’s new emperors.
Twenty-8-Eight Tourbillon Prestige
There’s pretty much no getting away from it; the timepieces which DeWitt manufacture in their state of the art facility in Meyrin are about as subtle as a fox in a hen house. Always instantly recognisable with their never subdued styling, even the DeWitt logo itself is a forceful statement which exudes an aura of power and dominance and which on the face of it, is not completely out of character as the Company owner, Jérome DeWitt is a man with royal blood coarsing through his veins and a a direct genealogical lineage which includes many of Europe’s most famous (and infamous) historic royals, rulers and characters, up to and including Napoleon himself!
Little wonder then that a watch brand from such an illustrious stable would be famed for its styling which would not have been out of place in the palaces and grand state bulidings M. DeWitts’ predecessors would have been familiar with. However much all of this pomp and ceremony is part of what Montres DeWitt are all about, there is another side; because under the tutelage of its charismatic owner, the manufacture produce some of the most technically accomplished and aesthetically daring timepieces to be found anywhere.
DeWitt Twenty-8-Eight Skeleton Tourbillon – Titanium
The new Montres DeWitt Twenty-8-Eight Skeleton Tourbillon made its debut this month and is the latest addition to the Twenty-8-Eight collection which first saw daylight back in 2010 and like its forebears, it is a kaléidoscopic fusion of detail and finesse with practically every available surface – whether exposed or hidden amid the recesses of the DW8028 manually wound manufacture movement – carved away to its barest form to create a complex metallic maze which at the same time pulses and ticks hypnotically as it draws you deep into its heart and towards the magnificent tourbillon with 18Kt yellow gold balance and escapement wheel and pallets.
The Twenty-8-Eight comes in a 43mm titanium case and sports the DeWitt signature columns around its flanks, which contribute considerable overall presence, even if they are slightly less pronounced than on previous DeWitt collections. The large crown continues the columns theme and elsewhere the case has new refined lugs which contribute to a more ergonomic and comfortable feel on the wrist.
DeWitt Twenty-8-Eight Skeleton Tourbillon – Chocolate
There will be two versions of the Twenty-8-Eight with a choice of a bare metal or chocolate PVD treatment options to consider. The former features contrasting brushed, grained and polished external surfaces, and within a pair of blue heat-oxidised hands very much compliment the almost stark backdrop of meticulously skeletonised plates, bridges and even the open worked barrel. On the Chocolate version, the use of gold hands and a gold barrel nestling just beneath the open dial provides a tantalising contrast.
Where skeletonisation is often an exercise in delicacy, here it is not: the effect is industrial rather than fragile and works really well on a piece whose chunky appearance belies the painstaking effort put into the creation of each component, manufactured and finished by hand to the very highest standards.
Both pieces are presented on alligator leather and are secured to the wrist with the use of a titanium tang buckle. Sticker Price £120,000.
Article by Johnny McElherron
Founded in 2003 by entrepreneur Jerome de Witt, who fulfilled a lifelong dream of launching a watchmaking brand, DeWitt presented it first exceptional timepiece that same year – a technical marvel for a new brand, the watch was called the Pressy Grande Complication, and it boasted a tourbillon, minute-repeater, fly-back chronograph, and bi-retrograde perpetual calendar. The brand has since been widely-lauded for its highly innovative approach to the art of watchmaking, meeting Founder, Jerome de Witt’s aspirations to establish a brand that would produce the most elaborate complications, while respecting the best traditions of Swiss watchmaking. The current state-of-art DeWitt manufacturing facility is based in Geneva, Switzerland. The workshop is spread over 5,000 square-metres of surface area and has three floors. The Manufacture houses all of the traditional watchmaking manpower and resources, from design right through to production and quality control. A dedicated research and development department operates upstream to shape and channel all the innovative ideas and creative inspirations of the business. After just two years in the industry the brand was awarded a significant accolade in 2005, the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Geneva’s first prize for innovation, was conferred to DeWitt. The brand is available internationally, and is a favourite among aficionados and collectors, with 80 points of sale worldwide.
DeWitt’s most recent innovative novelties include:
This year the brand has introduced a reworked version of its Alma jewellery watch, part of its second watch collection exclusively for women. Featuring a balanced oval case, a partially cambered profile in order to complement the shape of the wrist, and naturally, the sculpted forms of the famous DeWitt stylised imperial columns; the collection boasts seven stunning versions, represented in red gold, white gold and diamonds, framing exquisite dials. The Alma watch encases an automatic calibre with a central seconds hand and a 42-hour power reserve. Its three hands in 18-carat gold are sword-shaped, with a skeleton format for the hour and minute hands and slender structure for the seconds hand, all which rhythmically illustrate the passing of time in the centre of a dial that reveals its perspectives by playing off light and in the forms of its relief.
Twenty-8-Eight Skeleton Tourbillon
The balanced case of these timepieces features 48 imperial columns and plays on depths, perspectives and layers. The avant-garde movement can be admired in all its well-constructed glory on both sides. The Twenty-8-Eight Skeleton Tourbillon houses the DeWitt calibre DW8028, which makes use of time-honoured technical parameters in its construction. The manually wound tourbillon is equipped with a Swiss anchor escapement and a Straumann Hairspring® with Phillips terminal curve made out of an unbreakable, self-compensating, non-oxidising, anti-magnetic alloy and sequenced at 2.5Hz. The impeccable homogeneity and exceptional precise flat rolling of the Hairspring (0.0001 mm) guarantee extremely high precision. Two titanium versions have been released, both 43 mm cases are composed of titanium, with the option of a rose gold tone dial with a grey leather strap, or a blue toned dial with a black leather strap.
Twenty-8-Eight Tourbillon Prestige
This 99-piece limited edition, boasts a 46 mm 18-carat rose gold case, which houses the calibre DW 8015, featuring an automatic tourbillon movement with a patented and extremely ingenious Automatic Sequential Winding (A.S.W) device, driven by a peripheral oscillating rotor. The A.S.W. device ensures a constant flow of energy to the main gear-train thanks to the sequenced winding of the barrel. This technical prowess makes it possible to obtain an ideal functioning range through the use of a single, manual-type barrel. Furthermore, it avoids all the running defects observed when slip-springs are used on conventional automatic calibres. Inspiration for the construction of the movement and dial was drawn from the world of architecture, using solid geometrical forms influenced by industrial metallic structures. Due to an open-worked main plate, the carriage of the Tourbillon is suspended mid-air, generating an appearance of transparency and of exploring the heart of the movement.
La relojería independiente, de creación y estilo francés nos entrega una gravísima noticia, la presentación de su última novedad para mujeres; una obra de arte en oro blanco y rosa, de madreperla y diamantes, que exhibe el buen gusto y la sofisticación de la época. Reeditada con respecto a la original, la forma oval de la pieza exhibe buen gusto y cuidado a los detalles, que hacen uso de las columnas imperiales típicas de DeWitt.
No obstante no todo es estética, sino el arte de la mecánica, pues al interior cada una de las funciones de la pieza: horas, minutos y segundos, cobran vida gracias al movimiento automático que responderá de manera confiable e ininterrumpida a lo largo de 42 horas. Asimismo, la dualidad de hileras engastadas en la caja, reflejan la originalidad y sutileza de la Casa. Disponible en dos versiones, la primera exhibe una herradura engastada sobre la carátula , mientras que la segunda hace uso de la estética art-déco utilizando cuatro números arábigos y romanos para destacar la belleza de esta joya.
Ajustada gracias a una correa de piel de cocodrilo color negro, la novedad de este año para las mujeres por parte de DeWitt, resplandece a medida que una hebilla de hebijón de oro pulido con la firma “W”, aporta todo el ADN de DeWitt.
Taking its inspiration from the wealth of its heritage, the DeWitt watchmaking company has decided to bring out a revised 2014 version of its Alma jewellery watch, part of the second watch collection that the Swiss manufacture has dedicated entirely to women.
The Alma watch features a harmonious oval case, a slightly cambered profile so as to fit perfectly the shape of the wrist, and of course the sculpted forms of the famous DeWitt stylised imperial columns. The collection comes in seven versions, clad in red gold, white gold and diamonds and fitted with elegant dials.
The Alma watch houses an automatic calibre with a central seconds hand and a 42- hour power reserve. Its three hands in 18-carat gold, sword-shaped and with a skeleton format in the case of the hour and minute hands and slender for the seconds hand, rhythmically mark out the passing of time in the centre of a dial that reveals its perspectives through a play of light and in the forms of its relief.
The two new versions of the Alma Collection are adorned with white gold, diamonds and white mother-of-pearl. A fine rim of the dial set with round diamonds underlines the originality and subtlety of the dials: a stylised “Art Deco” pattern enhanced by four Arabic numerals and four opposing black Roman numerals showcases the former, and a “Horseshoe” motif set with diamonds and adorned with a rounded Arabic numeral at 6 o’clock illustrates the latter.
The anti-reflective glass, cambered from 3 o’clock to 9 o’clock and from 6 to 12, gives a generously-curved silhouette to this watch, with its profile immediately recognisable thanks to its imperial columns and its alternately polished and delicately sanded 18-carat gold surfaces. Its crown and ardillon buckle in polished gold, both engraved with the brand’s distinctive “W” signature, give an additional elegant touch of detail to the watch’s finishes.
Firmly in the 21st century but also marked with imperial dignity, the Alma Collection bears witness to the care and attention bestowed by the Manufacture DeWitt on every detail, thus turning each watchmaking creation into a truly exceptional timepiece.
Alma – AL.004
Alma – AL.005
La construction du calibre DW8028 de DeWitt reprend des paramètres techniques ancestraux à la fiabilité éprouvée : 18 000 A/h, un balancier à inertie variable, un échappement à angle de levée de 44°, et une réserve de marche de 72 heures. Entièrement fabriqué en interne, ce tourbillon à remontage manuel est équipé d’un échappement à ancre suisse et d’un spiral Straumann® avec courbe Phillips fabriqué dans un alliage incassable, autocompensateur, inoxydable, antimagnétique et séquencé à 2,5 Hz. L’homogénéité parfaite du fil et l’incroyable exactitude du laminage à plat du spiral (0,0001 mm) confèrent au mécanisme une précision extrême.
Le balancier, la roue d’échappement et l’ancre sont en or jaune 18 carats.
Une architecture robuste tout en finesse
La Twenty-8-Eight Tourbillon Squelette ne cherche pas à rivaliser avec les montres squelettées, aussi minces que fragiles, dont on a retiré le maximum de matière. L’architecture du squelette DeWitt reste résolument robuste et offre ainsi un équilibre parfait avec le design du boîtier, orné de 48 colonnes impériales. Une signature que l’on retrouve sur la majorité des chefsd’oeuvre DeWitt.
La platine ajourée, une base en maillechort sablé avec finition or noir et inscription en or jaune de la référence du calibre, est un impressionnant labyrinthe de courbes, de cercles et de droites. L’observateur se plaira à déambuler à travers le mouvement et, au détour d’une ruelle, tombera nez-à-nez avec un splendide logo « W » squeletté, positionné à 9 heures. Le jeu de profondeurs, de perspectives et de niveaux, est caractéristique des designs DeWitt et la Twenty-8-Eight Tourbillon Squelette n’échappe pas à la règle. Le logo « W » se retrouve sur la partie inférieure du mouvement, créant des volumes intéressants lorsque l’on retourne la montre pour contempler son mouvement.
Malgré l’architecture robuste du squelette, le regard est inévitablement attiré par les profondeurs du mouvement et captivé par la finesse de sa mécanique. On ne peut que s’émerveiller de la rotation gracieuse du tourbillon sur son axe, maintenu par un pont Art Déco allongé, effilé et perlé.
Un véritable objet d’art
Le barillet, positionné à 12 heures, est également squeletté afin de révéler l’intérieur du moteur Sa forme ajourée rappelle le volant d’une voiture de collection ancienne. Alors que le tambour de barillet tourne lentement à mesure que son ressort se déroule, les axes supérieurs de ce volant « vintage » viennent glisser au-dessus du volant inférieur. Encore un jeu intéressant de superpositions signé DeWitt.
Un mariage harmonieux
La Twenty-8-Eight Tourbillon Squelette est logée dans un boîtier rond de 43 mm, en titane grade 5 avec aiguilles bleuies ou en titane grade 5 avec traitement PVD chocolat. D’une épaisseur de 10,78 mm, il est plus fin que la collection Academia. Avec ses proportions confortables, ses cornes redessinées et ses côtés décorés de colonnes impériales légèrement plus discrètes, il reste immédiatement reconnaissable et fidèle à l’ADN de DeWitt. Son design équilibré alliant caractère et raffinement permet un mariage réussi avec les lignes architecturales du mouvement squeletté.
Sur la face intérieure de la lunette, une paroi diamantée en or rose 18 carats entoure le mouvement et s’élève au-dessus du squelette. Le jeu de lumières et les reflets scintillant offerts par ce rehaut sont d’une rare beauté. Quatre fines gravures « W » à la réalisation extrêmement précise viennent orner la paroi en ses points cardinaux.
DeWitt toujours « passionné d’exception »
La Twenty-8-Eight Tourbillon Squelette respecte parfaitement les normes de finition extrêmement pointues de la manufacture DeWitt. Entièrement réalisés à la main, le traitement des surfaces et le travail de finition de cette création affichent une qualité exceptionnelle. Boîtier, platine, ponts, roues et même de minuscules vis sont anglés, polis, satinés et traités à la perfection par les mains minutieuses des horlogers DeWitt. L’alternance brillamment réalisée des finitions polies et satinées sur les colonnes de la lunette est un véritable ravissement pour les yeux.
Enfin, en guise de signature, point commun de tous les modèles issus de la Manufacture, chaque montre est assemblée à la main puis ajustée et testée par un seul et même maître horloger.
By Joël A. Grandjean
In the industrial estate of Meyrin, the know-how of a secret manufacture, working alone in a sector dominated by groups, shines discreetly.
DeWitt deserves that, from time to time, a journalist passes through the doors of its spacious building, whose huge and bright atrium could easily host a magnificent event. From all stories the crowds of attendees at the event would look down and see the comings and goings of communicative and knowledge-sharing workshops. This watchmaking hub blends the science of complications and the essence of chronometry with the skills that convey and perpetuate codes of excellence that often require perfect manual dexterity. The human hand and mind have inspired Jérôme de Witt’s approach in the production of his limited edition timepieces. (Please refer to the article “Jérôme de Witt universe”).
Dewitt Manufacture, craftsman at work
Due to limited media coverage we tend to only remember the brand’s imperial dimension, which it does not hesitate to mention when asked about the design of, for example, its signature cases.
Whilst it is true that the brand’s founder is of French Napoleonic descent, it would be unfair to stop there when describing him. Indeed, it is not easy to outdo DeWitt in the world of integrated manufactures; that is, those that strive to become independent by carrying out as many operations and producing as many pieces as possible in-house.
Even better, De Witt may well be the only brand to have both a workshop and a group of professionals completely devoted to the creation, manufacturing and production of dials of such quality and level of skill. The in-house dial-makers are masters at what they do. They come from the best subcontracting brands and are able to design and produce dials with more than 45 components, hands, tiny riveted numerals, and indexes. As they know how to wisely use all the attachment, gluing and fixing systems, they can fashion complex dials using in-house manufactured pieces and their magical fingers. The dials are complex in terms of their design and assembling, but further because of the numerous reliefs, levels and repeating flanges they comprise.
Dewitt manufacture: handcrafted golden bridge
During the visit, we come across some other increasingly rare crafts. These are not passed on to new generations because they are manual tasks, which need to be taught manually.
Said crafts include jewel setting, where extensive knowledge of materials and stones allows experts to identify the tiniest of problems (that’s what you call experience!). We also find polishing, which requires craftsmen to get their agile fingers dirty to make a subtle dosage of pastes of multiple consistencies and functions. In the end, it is always dexterity – something that can only be mastered through constant practice – that makes the difference. The same goes for engine turning, which deals with decorating spaces mainly dedicated to functionality and which are not always visible as they are juxtaposed at the heart of the calibers. Yes, in traditional Swiss watchmaking all parts of a watch – even the most hidden – have been given their dose of aesthetics. Be it as it may, even the most uniform and regular decoration will always be “human”, as it will be engraved with the unique signature of the craftsperson.
Dewitt manufacture – a guilloché machine
We find the last of these crafts at the unity of electro-deposition – with its myriad baths and trays, its variety of chemical products and blends conducive to electrolytic deposition and chemo-material space treatments. This reminds us that part of the magic of watchmaking is sometimes linked to the fascinating mysteries of alchemy, a world sprinkled with atomic mastery, where colors are crucial.
Throughout its initiatory journey, the DeWitt complication workshop proved to be familiar with the production of the most notable watches such as the tourbillon, the minute-repeater and the perpetual calendar. However, the list also includes simple chronographs or even the last piece of real creative craziness by Jérôme de Witt, the heart and soul of the company. Lacking a watchmaking past filled with constraints to honor, de Witt is free to take different paths and ventures carefree to find mechanical solutions that he discovered thanks to his avid curiosity. He comes up with out of the box solutions that are constraint-free and that rely on an acute sense of observation. His strokes of craziness are most of the time feasible and after a few years of observed functioning, they reach a high degree of reliability. Proof of this is the Twenty-8-Eight Regulator A.S.W, which is much more than a talking piece.
Working on the Dewitt WX-1, a concept watch
It is precisely between these micromechanical walls that the last in-house 3-hand caliber was created; the place where casing, chamfering and decorations such as “Côtes de Genève” are carried out.
The 3-hand caliber is a sophisticated but simple and efficient motor: a concentration of mechanical watchmaking that reminds us of the brand’s well-established independence in movement production.
Dewitt Glorious Knight movement
There are certain things we know for sure about this independent manufacture in Meyrin, whose owner is always at the disposal of his collaborators to have spontaneous brainstorming sessions. First of all, what features prominently at DeWitt is know-how and those who possess it (indeed, the staff’s degree of loyalty to the brand proves it). Secondly, watchmaking past is important here. This we can see by just walking down the corridor that connects the reception area to the spaces where the work is done. This corridor has been transformed into a museum gallery that blends the tribute paid to ancient machines – which incidentally still work – with the latest timepieces of DeWitt collections. It is a true reflection of our host, who has managed to respect the very rich past of secular watchmaking and at the same time offer his researchers and developers innovating ideas to work on. It is no surprise at all, thereafter, to find an ancient machine with cams and gear trains being used for key tasks in the midst of all the state-of-the-art digital machines and computer-aided developments.
Dewitt Glorious Knight dial
The Best of the Best Magazine – Issue 2014
Published with Boat International’s June issue 336