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Watches

A miniature art expert worked on this Louis Vuitton watch for 200 hours

Words by Rob Chilton

Equipped with more than 30 years of experience ­– and a very steady hand – the artist created a special edition tattoo watch.

When a watch company want some intricate enamel work done, there’s only one person to call: Anita Porchet. The Lionel Messi of her field, Porchet is an in-demand miniature art expert who specialises in detailed work on watch dials.

Her latest project is the magnificent dial of Louis Vuitton’s Escale Spin Time watch that was inspired by tattoo art and required 200 hours of careful Grand Feu champlevé enamelling.

Porchet applied three shades of enamel – black, turquoise and transparent – to the white gold plaque dial that’s set with white diamonds and rubies. Then came the precarious process during which the dial is subjected to a series of firings at 840°C. One crack or bubble and it’s back to square one.

Anita Porchet works on the Louis Vuitton Escale Spin Time watch.

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Anita Porchet gets to work

After the enamel was fired, Porchet used her wide repertoire of miniature painting skills, which she has been honing since the 1980s. Using a brush and her thumbnail as a paint palette, she applied around ten colours one after the other, each one requiring drying time in a furnace heated to 100°C.

“I’ve spent all my life working with my hands using extremely simple tools,” says the peerless Porchet. After studying fine art, she eventually set up her own workshop near Lausanne, Switzerland in 1993 and has been hired by the likes of Vacheron Constantin, Patek Philippe, Piaget and Hermes to create exquisite watch dials.

Louis Vuitton Escale Spin Time watch.

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Porchet uses her left thumbnail as a paint palette

“Enamel brings out vibrant colours and evokes poetry,” she explains. “It lends something sensitive to the very technical world of watches.” It’s no surprise to hear her add that her work “requires intense concentration.”

The Louis Vuitton watch is a special edition piece that will be sold in November at the Only Watch auction to raise money for AMM, the Monaco-based association for research on Duchenne muscular dystrophy. It’s hoped the Escale Spin Time will fetch around $80,000.

Louis Vuitton Escale Spin Time watch.

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A white gold hand in the form of a rose stem tells the minutes

A series of rotating cylinders displays the time around the outer ring of the 41mm watch; an 18-carat white gold hand in the form of a rose stem tells the minutes. Both the case and crown are made from titanium and white gold and set with white diamonds.

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The watch comes in a hand-painted Monogram case

This being Louis Vuitton, of course, the watch comes in its very own hand-painted Monogram case – only the best to protect the spectacular work of Anita Porchet.

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