The bevelling and dashed lines are done entirely by hand. The authenticity of hand bevelling can be seen in the cleanness of the inward and outward corners, which no machine can reproduce with such precision. This finish consists of eliminating the edges between the surface and flanks of the piece, forming a 45-degree chamfer (bezel) which will then be polished. This operation deburrs “machine-processed” components which, besides their unaesthetic nature, could adversely affect the operation of the movement. Polishing also limits corrosion. This finishing process requires great meticulousness and offers the finest aesthetics.
The cage bridge of the regulator, made from titanium, a stronger material than steel, is extremely complicated to make. The part comprises 28 inward corners which means this highly visible bridge constitutes evident proof of the perfection of the work undertaken by Rudis Sylva.
Hand guilloche work
On the dial indicating the hours and minutes, as well as the plate under the oscillator, you can admire the art of hand guilloche work, performed by Georges Brodbeck in his Saignelégier workshop. On the dial indicating the hours and minutes, the guilloche craftsman has made a subtle play by decorating the dial with tapering trapezoids. This decoration is achieved by linear and rotational movement of the piece. The plate under the regulator is adorned with a “clous de Paris” decoration with very fine hand guilloche work, thereby bringing out the richness of the regulating part.
In the 19th Century, the engravers from our mountains had multiple fields of activity: medals, stamps, bank notes, prints, image reproduction, jewellery and watchmaking.
Two centuries later, the development of mechanical, chemical or laser engraving industrial techniques has completely altered the engraver’s daily work. Only extremely haute horlogerie pieces are now entitled to the craftsman’s touch.
Sylvain Bettex and Bertrand Degiorgi have applied their finest work to the hidden face of the timekeeper. Purists will appreciate the chisel work, which cuts to the heart of the flawless lettering with regular bevelling and perfect symmetry, revealing moreover a polished cut completely free from burrs.
This chisel modelling outstrips the “handicraft” of any machine work, and further distinguishes a watch born out of regional talents.
Tucked away in a farm in the peaceful hamlet of Les Barrières, Sophie Cattin Morales practices the art of enamelling in her timeless workshop. As a child she lived on the Les Rosées-Dessous farm that houses the “Ultima Forsan” sun dial dating from 1750. So it was an obvious step to call on her talent to enhance the reproduction of the fresco on the back of the Rudis Sylva watch.
Like a farmer-watchmaker of yesteryear, Sophie, leaning over her window sill, works the enamel bathed in natural light. With her mastery of the traditional technique, she transforms the pieces of raw enamel, grinding them in an agate mortar until the desired grain is obtained. Then she washes them to eliminate any foreign bodies, before finally undertaking the enamelling itself. The enamels are applied using a brush in the champlevés in the gold piece.
Dried out and then fired in a kiln at around 840 degrees, the enamelled half-moon is stoned to obtain a flat surface, and then put back in the kiln to undergo a final operation, known as glazing. After the enamel surface has been glazed to give it a shine, it undergoes a final polish. Making the colours eternal, unalterable by light: this is the power and privilege of the art of enamelling.
In the past, the watchmaker would carry out his watch repair services at his clients’ homes. He therefore made himself a wooden box, with many drawers in which he stored his tools. The upper edges were cut so that, when he laid out his nest of drawers on their kitchen tables, he could create a work surface which would be the same as his workbench.
The Rudis Sylva case is a reproduction of this small toolbox that the watchmaker fitted with a strap and wore on his back. It is decorated with an eyeglass and a screwdriver, and its inner casing showcases the watch perfectly.