David Candaux has been crafting magnificent watches out of Le Soliat quietly for several years. Today, he returns to his roots with a new watch which he calls his most minimalist watch yet – the essence of three generations of Candaux distilled into a single watch, but one which still is very complicated.
Press release information with commentary in italics.
“The DC7 Genesis is the most minimalist watch I’ve designed in the space of twenty years – and it’s the one that has most of me in it. It brings together the essence of our three generations of watchmakers here in the Vallée de Joux, and lays the foundations for forthcoming pieces. It’s the most personal, intimate watch I’ve ever produced.”David Candaux
For earlier works by David Candaux, please visit our review
Review: David Candaux 1740 First Eight
In this new piece, David introduces what he calls his most minimalist watch. But yet, this is by no means a simple watch. It still contains the essentials that made his name. Namely, these are the inclined dial, inclined tourbillon with a separately inclined balance, and the retractable crown are the same as those which that have been featured in his earlier watches. All requiring high skills to execute the very complicated techniques.
The movement is also needed a redesign, and not a simple port of the earlier watches, as the new movement, the caliber 1700 is symmetrical along the vertical axis.
Here, he releases two versions of his new creation – one in titanium and rose gold. The movement finishing looks very interesting. Using a technique which David describes as unique, the method involves the use of a Turkish Oil Stone to create a frosted finish. Turkish Oil Stone (Pierre Du Levant) is very rare sharpening stone used to create the super fine finish in knives, and are used on high end knife sharpeners like KME or Hapstone.
While we have only seen photographs of this movement, the frosting looks very fine and even. This is the first time we have heard of the use of a Turkish Oil Stone. Though David claims this to be a unique process, the resulting surface looks very similar to the dial finish on his 1740 First Eight watches. And also to the finish achieved by another technique used in watchmaking known as glicage. For example, te final result also looks very similar to glicage is used to create the frosted surface on the dial and movement the now defunct Tulloch T-01 First Edition. Glicage gives a softer frosting than the more common sablage (sandblasting). In glicage, a mixture of very fine abrasive is infused into a soft soapy solution and this is mechanically applied by hand to the surface to create the frosting. As we understand it, this is a similar technique used for the Petermann & Bédat frosted finish on the seconde morte bridge. Gaël and Florian used fine abrasive powder suspended in olive oil. We also understand this is the same finishing method used in the movement of the Ch. Frodsham Double Impulse Chronometer.
We hope to get our hands on the DC7 Genesis to examine the watch for ourselves and also to photograph it. And will report back to you once we have done that. Hopefully soon, as the pandemic restricts travel, we may not be able to access the watch. Stay tuned!
David Candaux DC7 Genesis
Retail price is 149,000 CHF for the titanium version and 175,000 CHF for the rose gold version. Currently the least expensive of Candaux offerings.
The ‘Genesis’ name leaves no room for doubt. Christening his DC7 thus, David Candaux captures the creative essence of the art of the Vallée de Joux and the depths of its ethos, in which he has been steeped: three generations of watchmaker craftsmen, masters of fine complications for firms such as Patek Philippe.
The watchmaker has pared back everything that possibly could be. Every line of the case and the movement has been crafted to produce absolutely perfect symmetry, with the proportions drawing inspiration directly from Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man. The design of the movement features differently inclined surfaces, improving both comfort and readability.
For his third creation, independent watchmaker and Vallée de Joux -dweller David Candaux has poured his soul and creativity into an essential timepiece that’s minimalist in the extreme, marking a return to his brand’s fundamentals. This rare piece also marks out a path for further creations planned in the years ahead.
A movement replete with inclined planes
Whether viewed from the front or the rear, the DC7 is probably the only timepiece in the world to be perfectly symmetrical along the vertical axis running from 12 o’clock to 6 o’clock. On the dial side, this harmony is an achievement in its own right, given that the watch also features a biplanar tourbillon at 12 o’clock, set at 3° to the case. Inside the tourbillon cage, the balance wheel is inclined by a further 30°, reducing timekeeping drift caused by impacts and motion. The whole structure is housed within a dial that is itself inclined at a 3° angle to the case to provide optimum readability.
In a nutshell, the DC7 Genesis and its layered dial present a series of angles and vanishing lines that create unprecedented fluidity: the multiple inclines merge and interact to form a harmonious, coherent, readable, and natural whole.
Technical, symmetrical – and unique
Nevertheless, the innards of the DC7 Genesis scale yet further heights of ambition, with a movement that is also perfectly symmetrical. This too is a technical feat: generally, each moving part, gear, jewel, and bridge imposes its own technical requirements on the aesthetic vision, and in most cases the latter has no option but to adjust accordingly. Not so with the DC7 Genesis: David Candaux has managed to design a movement that is also perfectly symmetrical around the same 12 o’clock – 6 o’clock axis. To do so, the watchmaker has produced a completely new movement: the calibre 1700. Made from titanium, it has no fewer than 189 components and 28 olive-domed jewels, polished and rounded in the traditional way, and weighing in at just 24 grammes.
Harmony and readability
David Candaux is perfectly at ease amid all the intricacies of watchmaking construction, and puts his skill to full use in the architecture of the DC7 Genesis. The various angles at which the components are set blend together in complete and subtle fluidity, serving the twin goals of harmony and readability.
By having a dial slanted at a three-degree angle to the case, down towards the crown at 6 o’clock, David provides the optimum angle of readability for the wearer – and adds a discreet stylistic touch as he does so: the dial’s surround has been kept horizontal, parallel to the sapphire crystal and case. As a result, the gap between the central dial and its surround is narrower at 12 o’clock and wider at 6 o’clock, creating a subtle variation in perspective.
Ans there’s more.
The sun-brushed blue dial is slightly rounded, sporting the hour ring at the top in the centre and Arabic numerals around the edge. Swiss Super-LumiNova® ensures the markings remain visible by night as by day. The gently curved, skeletonised hands, marked with red Swiss Super-LumiNova®, follow its contours.
The piece as a whole is protected by a sapphire crystal, extending over the secret, retractable crown, covered by two patents and positioned at 6 o’clock, beyond the rose gold plates engraved with ‘D.Candaux’ and ‘Le Solliat’.
One piece, two versions
There will be two versions of the DC7 Genesis, one in a titanium case, the other in a rose gold case. Each will be strictly limited to just 8 watches. All of the components have been designed and assembled by David Candaux, entirely in Switzerland – and most of the decorations on the DC7 Genesis have been hand-crafted by the watchmaker himself.
For the bridges, David Candaux has devised a never-before-seen decoration, made using Turkish oil stone, almost impossible to find today. Combined with a certain type of wood and oil, it can be used to achieve a perfectly uniform, finely frosted surface, in contrast with the perfect sheen of the bridges’ black polished angles.
The DC7 Genesis is waterproof to depths of 50 metres, and comes with a high-end rubber strap fitted with a Velcro band, making it elegant and comfortable to wear on all occasions.