The decorative craftsmanship displayed in the Tecnica Palme equals the technical mastery of the watchmaking itself. Given that its movement features a tourbillon, a minute repeater, a perpetual calendar and a chronograph, it's difficult to imagine how any decoration could compete. And yet... When one looks at the shimmering brilliance of the palm leaf motif that adorns this piece, it is clear that this is no ordinary decoration. It owes its beauty to the art of engraving and Grand Feu enamelling.
The Tecnica Palme's decorative odyssey begins in the artisan engraver’s workshop. He is standing before two perfectly smooth plates which must be hollowed and textured before they can be graced by the enameller's brush. Indeed, for the enamel to shine with brilliance, the plate must be engraved so as to create light reflectors in every direction and a threedimensional effect. The artisan sets to work and engraves with painstaking care each palmshaped recess in the plates, as well as a host of tiny lines which portray the leaf veins. In addition, he creates a hollow at the centre of each leaf, which emphasises the impression of depth in the final composition.
The enameller then comes in play. Using a brush, he drops a very fine mixture of coloured glass and water into each recess or segment, then fires the plates in the kiln at 800°C for a few tens of seconds. The glass particles melt and reduce in size, they adhere to the support, creating the colour. The enameller applies several successive layers in order to gradually fill the engraved recesses while closely monitoring the colour which darkens as the enamel layers are stacked.
The result is a fresco of palm leaves and an extraordinary brilliance. Its colours are intense yet translucent, giving an exquisite impression of depth when the sublime details of the engraving are observed beneath the enamel. The whole composition achieves perfect harmony through the meticulous orchestration of rare shades of blue.
The Tecnica Palme is one of the most complex Haute Horlogerie timepieces, with its mechanism featuring no fewer than four complications. A minute repeater, a chronograph, a tourbillon and a perpetual calendar are housed in a single complete integrated movement.
The minute repeater is wound elegantly by rotating a knurled ring under the bezel a quarter turn clockwise. This sophisticated activation mechanism represents a challenge in terms of water resistance, as the surface area to be protected from water is much larger than a traditional side bolt.
The white gold case has been designed to ensure that the minute repeater chime has the best possible resonance in an optimal space. In a world where electricity is omnipresent, the minute repeater, which historically enabled the time to be read at night, may seem obsolete. However, the Tecnica Palme's two "cathedral" gongs chime the hours, quarterhours and minutes with an unrivalled tone which will enchant more enlightened watch lovers.
The Tecnica Palme is a tribute to watchmaking expertise and traditional craft skills. The watchmakers who produced it have truly surpassed themselves; it has revived the intricate beauty of engraving and the subtlety of enamel work; finally, it has brought together and intertwined all of these disciplines to achieve aesthetic harmony.
The result is as precious as a palm tree in the midst of an arid desert.