David Candaux was a candidate at the Académie Horlogère des Créateurs Indépendants (AHCI) when we introduced his First Eight collection. But since then, he has been received as a full Member, and extended his collection with the DC6 Half Hunter Tourbillon Series in JeweLuxe Singapore last year. And this Baselworld 2019, he showed us his latest: the DC6 Half Hunter Tourbillon Solstice.
The Solstice collection is perhaps best seen as a sub-line within the Half Hunter series. It uses the same design, movements and finishing. The only departure from the more sober Half Hunter main line is that the Solstice feature more bold and funky colours in the dial and straps. We managed to get close and photograph the orange version. The Solstice is also available in blue and red.
Candaux DC6 Half Hunter Tourbillon Solstice
The Half Hunter series is a contemporary reinterpretation of the classic half-hunter pocketwatch form. It pays homage to precision marine instruments of the past, seeking inspiration from seafaring instruments and antique captain’s watches. The half hunter form provides protection of the dial glass, hands and movement from shocks.
The Solstice stretches this reinterpretation further, giving modern, almost avant garde touches with splashes of colour in the sub-dials and a dazzlingly brilliant kevlar strap, held in place with velcro.
The case, dial and hands
The Solstice collection features the case in titanium. The 43mm-wide DC 6 Solstice Half Hunter case is 12.6mm-thick and water resistant to 30 meters. On the wrist, it is extremely comfortable, and feels almost part of one’s anatomy.
The case shape is rather unique. The case proper is almost like a ring extending into the lugs, and caress the case which is somewhat attached to the middle. It is also subtly curved to hug the wrist, which accounts for the nice feel when strapped on.
The dial and case feature the same inclined dial as the First 8, lower at 6 than it is at 12. But instead of a sapphire glass over the dial, most of the dial, executed in 18k white gold with a guilloche pattern which Candaux calls Pointe du Risoux, is exposed. Two domes in sapphire glass rise over the dial surface to protect the hour and minute sub-dial, and the inclined tourbillon.
The tactile feel of the dial, as one can touch the guilloche surface, in juxtaposition to the smooth domes is quite a thrill.
Visually, the inclined tourbillon spinning inside its own dome and the spectacle of blazing spots of orange on the hour/minute sub-dial and power reserve indicator at 12 is amazing. The entire ensemble is a beauty, and compels one to keep staring and become totally mesmerized.
The movement: Candaux cal.1740
The movement is remarkable. Conceived by David Candaux in his atelier in Le Soliat, a mere stone’s throw from Grandmaster Philippe Dufour’s own atelier, it features touches and references to his beloved village in the Valee de Joux.
The visual treat greets the case back. Titanium bridges which are beautifully polished in the Candaux style of double stripes which he calls Côtes du Solliat. Anglage is particularly well executed by hand, and the name plates bearing the Candaux logo and series limitation number are attached with polished screws. Countersinks are nicely polished as are the top of the screws which appear immaculate.
The movement design calls for many inward and outward acute angles which can only be executed by hand. Some of the bridges are in stainless steel, and are black polished.
Perhaps for simplicity, Candaux deleted the constant force mechanism. A five second remontoire system was specified in his First 8. Visually, this deletion is not noticeable. And we were told, it does not affect the performance either, easily meeting chronometer specifications.
The Soltice movement carries a 10 year warranty, and described by David Candaux as sports insensitive. We take that to mean that the watch is not sensitive to shocks when used in a sports environment, but remain to confirm this with him.
The landscape which fits the complete description of the Candaux Half Hunter Tourbillon Solstice is almost completely barren.
Perhaps the likes of the MB&F machines may compare with the stretches in convention that the Solstice takes liberty with. The HM6 is perhaps a good example. It feaures a tourbillon, and domed crystals. But not one with a sporty disposition, or one with titanium bridges, nor an inclined tourbillon. Only Greubel Forsey offer inclined tourbillons, for example the GMT, which features a world time in addition to the inclined tourbillon.
As the astute reader can probably tell, we are captivated by the Half Hunter Tourbillon Solstice. We love the playful splashes in colour. We love the tactite treat the dial side gives as we run our fingers over the face. We love the visual treat the varied surfaces of the guilloche contrasts with the domes, and the inclined tourbillon spinning merrily in its own dome. We love the way the movement looks from the case back – all the haute horlogerie elements, designed and executed extremely well.
At US$273,000 the asking price is no small change. But the mix of watchmaking genius in design and execution, with the sporty touches make this an irresistible option for the well heeled.