THE GYROGRAFF DRIVE – A TECHNICAL AND ARTISTIC TOUR DE FORCE
Beautifully decorative and exquisitely detailed, the latest GyroGraff Drive collection is a tour de force, impactfully brought to life by Graff’s master craftsmen.
Pity the ambitions of quotidian watchmakers. How much embellishment they can apply to a single watch is entirely dependent on the skills they have at their disposal. Given the years it takes to perfect the finest crafts known to watchmaking, for most watch brands the reality is limiting. Not so for Graff is the only conclusion one can draw after viewing the latest iteration of the company’s GyroGraff, the Drive collection.
Dominating each timepiece is a dial depicting a dashboard instrument panel. All are in motion: one heading into a night-time urban cityscape, another around a sweeping bend on a racetrack, and a third into an abstract future that streaks into infinity.
While the visual impact of each dial is extraordinary, what elevates them are the all-but-impossible levels of detail. Each watch features elements built up using layers of ink, painstakingly transferred by an artist from an engraved plate onto the dial using a silicon pad.
Beyond this, each has a finish created by a rarified form of fine art. The urban cityscape was created using miniature painting; the vintage racing car’s driver and steering wheel from cut out appliqués; and the futuristic prism of light was created through carbon-fibre marquetry, which brings tiny pieces of material together to form shapes, patterns and pictures.
The Drive watches join a select grouping of GyroGraff pieces created since the original 2014 launch, with the dials of previous inventions showing city skylines, galaxies and world maps. But never before have its movement and domed dial combined so seamlessly. For example, the hypnotic double-axis tourbillon becomes the steering wheel on two of the pieces, clasped between tiny gloved hands; and in all three, the white gold, three-dimensional moon shimmers in an aventurine night sky.
At first glance, you might be forgiven for wondering if these are there purely on aesthetic merit. The hands, by way of illustrating the point, are both off-centre and skeletonised so as to interrupt the dial as little as possible. But the moon is not just for show – it’s bound to the watch’s highly complex hand-wound movement and mechanically programmed to display the phases of the moon during its 29.5-day cycle. Similarly, the double-axis tourbillon serves to deliver far greater accuracy than could be expected of a standard movement. This symbiosis of function and aesthetic is behind much of what makes the new GyroGraff Drive collection so spectacular.
The GyroGraff captures Graff’s signature traits, chief among them the 48mm case’s faceted bezel, shaped to resemble a cut diamond in cross-section and here garlanded with more than 9 carats of diamonds cut and set by Graff’s own gem-setters.
It remains the only watch in Swiss mechanical watchmaking to carry a hand-carved three dimensional moon phase indicator, a double axis tourbillon and a power-reserve indicator, positioned in this case at 1 o’clock, just a few degrees round the dial from a diamond inset at 12 o’clock, the highest point in the sky. The reserve, for the record, is 65 hours. Another detail in a watch that all but defies explanation.
Already a watch with a special place in history, these are singularly remarkable timepieces that further affirm the legend of GyroGraff.