Celadon Haute Horlogerie is a small model based by Benjamin Chee that wears its mission assertion like a badge of honor, declaring “Made in China with Pleasure.” Understandably, I’m positive a lot of you don’t instantly suppose “haute horlogerie” whenever you learn these phrases, however give Celadon HH the chance, and I believe the model might make an enormous dent in an outdated stereotype. By sourcing a cloisonné enamel dial maker who comes from generations of grasp artisans and an AHCI watchmaker, Chee has launched the Celadon HH Century watch assortment. It might not be your cup of tea, however these Chinese language watches can compete with among the finest names out of Switzerland, Germany, and Japan.
The Celadon Century assortment seen right here consists of two items achieved in cloisonné enamel and a 3rd with a regulator configuration. The immediately recognizable “Starry Evening” Van Gogh motif and the equally spectacular “Peacock and Peonies” cloisonné enamel items instantly level towards Chee’s want to not be restricted solely because of being “made in China with satisfaction.” I believe it takes chutzpah to decide on probably the most well-known artistic endeavors in human historical past as the idea for a cloisonné enamel, however there you could have it. (The Celadon Century Cloisonné “Starry Evening” was a 2021 GPHG candidate within the “Petite Aiguille” class.)
I wasn’t stunned to be taught that slightly than outsourcing the duty, Chee as a substitute employed the most effective— if not the one — cloisonné enamel artisans in China. Grandmaster Xiong Songtao is a third-generation enamel artisan whose ancestors labored on objects just like the vases and pots seen within the Forbidden Metropolis from the Qing Dynasty. His first cloisonné enamel dial bought for 800,000 yuan (approx. $125,000 USD) in 2012, and he allegedly went on to make enamel dials for main Swiss and German manufacturers, albeit uncredited because of their settlement.
With a view to create a cloisonné enamel dial, Songtao applies gold wires (measuring simply .04-.07mm thick) that must be completely set on the strong silver base of the dial so as to create the specified picture. This course of alone takes about 50 hours, after which the enamel is utilized after which fired 25 instances in a 900-degree oven. In response to Chee, there may be a couple of 10% success fee for every enamel dial, however the result’s a murals that may by no means fade with time.
The motion for the Celadon Century was created by Lin Yong Hua, a Shenzhen-based watchmaker who’s a member of the AHCI and on par with among the best that Switzerland has to supply. I encourage everybody to examine Lin on this New York Occasions profile and get a greater take a look at his playfully quirky watches in this text by our associates at SJX.
Lin designed the manual-wind motion from the bottom up with an intention for it to function a base caliber for future problems. Completed in a three-quarter bridge, the motion is straight away characterised by the distinctly muted rose-gold plating, in addition to its use of sweeping curves. The rubied chatons, perlage, beveling, and Chinese language calligraphy are all achieved by hand. Reasonably than the usual Geneva stripes, the bridges are completed in a “Round Chinese language Scroll Stripe” that do seem to have a delicate arc to them. Hidden beneath the mainplate are barrel wheels achieved with a sunburst end and a middle star wheel bearing a tiny LYH signature. You’ll discover the bigger LYH plate which is Lin Yong Hua’s stamp on this new Chinese language caliber. Manually wound, this motion operates at 18,000 vph and has a 45-hour energy reserve.
The hour and minutes fingers are handmade by Lin, as effectively. Impressed by a peacock tail feather, the rounded fingers are additionally accessible in a “transition blue” as you see on “Peacock and Peonies.” This isn’t one thing you actually see achieved and is a superb possibility to provide consumers.
Now that we’ve mentioned the dial and motion, let’s check out the “moon-shaped” case of the Celadon Century. Certainly, it’s splendidly rounded with a superbly flat crown that appears to slot in cosy with the remainder of the case. Working it’s no harder or sophisticated than any typical crown, by the best way. The case measures 42mm-wide and 11.5mm-thick with a lug-to-lug top of 47.5mm.
In response to Chee, the left facet of the case is designed to evoke classical Chinese language arch bridges and the suitable facet (with crown) is impressed by the Chinese language “moon gate.” These architectural inspirations are particularly tied to the Jiangnan area, which contains each Suzhou and Hangzhou. All poetic and historic references apart, the alternating brushed and polished ending is properly achieved and the downward slope of the lugs deserves reward, as effectively.
The Celadon Century Regulator mannequin shares the identical fundamental case and motion because the enamel variations however with a extra informal dial (I suppose it’s not too tough to be extra informal than cloisonné enamel) with the traditional regulator format with a big central minutes hand, hour subdial at 12 o’clock, and seconds subdial at 6 o’clock. Whereas it’s straightforward to be outshined by the opposite two, I do need to reward the fingers on the regulator. The minutes hand has three protruding curves which might be really uncommon in the absolute best approach. The hour hand has a pleasant, giant arrowed tip that inherently lends significance to itself, virtually despite its subdial placement.
The Celadon HH Century presents some customization choices like a Breguet overcoil on the motion, the transition blued or totally blued fingers, in addition to another bespoke custom-made dial choices. I imagine there’s a six-month to one-year waitlist for each the Century Cloisonné items in addition to the Century Regulator, however the perfect wager can be to instantly attain out to the model. These watches are definitely not low cost, however I believe they’re price each greenback, particularly the cloisonné enamel dials. Celadon HH Century Regulator is priced at $10,900 and the Century Cloisonné is pried at $12,900. You’ll be able to be taught extra at celadonhh.com.