Pure and elegant craftsmanship

Parisian brand Boucheron straddled the extremes of purity and extravagance at BaselWorld this year, with a collection that called on its collective craftsmanship in watchmaking and high jewellery.

The brand's Épure collection is true to its name with a clean design, with only subtle degrees of variation to suit different tastes. Épure translates as working sketch and the word is frequently applied in France to contemporary art where minimalist designs play on light and lines.

Boucheron applied the same principle to this collection, resulting in an aesthetic stripped of superfluous detail and rounded out with a classic finish top to bottom.

The collection includes 19 variations where a diamond set bezel, 42mm or 38mm case in white or rose gold and a tourbillon movement sometimes deviates from the purist interpretation without straying from the fundamental design.

Characteristics include a rounded, curved case inspired by a sculpted lens and Boucheron's double gadroons, or edgings on the case and on the crown that reflect light from every angle.

The ribbed metalwork and stone on Parisian landmarks, such as the Eiffel Tower, inspired the double-edged feature that has become a signature in Boucheron collections. Embossed hour markers create a sundial effect on the dial and a blue sapphire cabochon at 12 o'clock and on the crown signify the few embellishments given to this timepiece.

The collection is fitted with a Girard Perregaux GP4000 movement whose oscillating weight is displayed through a hand-polished, Champagne cork openwork design.

The occasional scattering of gems in the Épure series hints at what is to follow in the Épure d'Art collection. Taking their cue from nature, artisans inlaid the dials with gem-set motifs ranging from a diamond-set pansy and an olive branch to a cicada and scarab. The collection also includes the Épure Tourbillon Vitis, featuring a trailing vine leaf crafted from one piece of mother of pearl. The flying tourbillon takes the rare position set in the back of the watch and depicts Boucheron's legendary Place Vendôme address.

Openwork gold design and precious stones characterise Boucheron's Ajouree collection with a dazzling array of intricate craftsmanship. Designs include Ajouree Amvara, featuring a diamond-encrusted snake curling around the case in a figure of eight, and Ajouree Hera, depicting a peacock fanning its tail in a plumage of blue sapphires, half-moon chalcedonies, pear-cut sapphires and paved diamonds.

But Boucheron saved its most elaborate craftsmanship for Khepri à Secret, which combines mechanics and mystery. Inspired by the Egyptian god Khepri and its associated scarab, the watch embodies high jewellery and watchmaking skill.

The scarab features a mechanism that opens the four wings by pressing the insect's blue sapphire cabochon head. Mother-of-pearl outer wings, featuring Boucheron's trademark gadroon-edging open to reveal a pair of smaller openwork wings bejewelled with diamonds and blue sapphires. The 3cm watch case and dial is revealed underneath.

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