Materials….pushing the envelope?

Jun 03, 2024,01:39 AM

A question amanico posed in my 1945 ‘needs more love’ post about what 1945 to go for and my reply about gold with an enamel dial, got me thinking about materials. That doesn’t get talked about much either and it’s a rich topic to muse over.

It’s perplexing to me that anytime a brand offers a new model with an unusual case or dial feature, the media are all over it. The reason it perplexes me is that GP has been exploring different materials with enormous creativity for ‘Donkeys years’ and offering us stellar options, albeit many of which are out of reach for me.

For example, we know how difficult grand feau dials are to make and the reject rate is very high. GP has made those for a long time yet any new release with enamel from a brand is greeted with fanfare. I don’t know if GP makes enamel dials ‘in-house’ or uses Ulyssee Nardin’s enamel maker seeing as they’re sister companies. Does anyone know?

Then consider case materials; all the usual metals but add ceramic (Laureato in multiple colors), sapphire crystal (Laureato Absolute light), carbon glass (Laureato Absolute again), even metal infused rubber straps for goodness sake. It mystifies me how all that amazing R&D gets little or no attention from the outside world but Grand Seiko makes an enamel dial and it’s stop the presses!?!

Don’t get me wrong, GS makes a very nice watch but you get my point. Same for many others including Rolex. They introduce a new piece two millimeters bigger and it’s front page. Again, don’t get me wrong, Rolex makes a good watch too (I’ve owned a few over the years) but apart from a few tweaks here and there, no one can accuse them of truly moving the cheese in the last 70 years.

In summary, a large part of my admiration for GP is just how much they truly push the envelope and contribute to innovation. That they do it quietly is a blessing or a curse for us enthusiasts depending upon your point of view. That segues into marketing, a (very deep) rabbit hole for another day.

I’d be interested in your collective thoughts…..

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Concrete dial in a GP Vintage 45. That one comes to my mind.

 By: amanico : June 3rd, 2024-06:51
It was Le Corbusier series. A cool one! It has been quite some time GP didn't innovate on case material or dial, though... You are right, GP deserves more recognition, but they also need to find their " second breathe ". Same for Ulysse Nardin. Best, Nico... 

The lower your rev, the less people care

 By: m2 : June 3rd, 2024-15:40
Less rev=less customers/enthusiasts=less virality/brand factor Media sources are incentivized to publish about a brand like Rolex for example b/c there are SO many enthusiasts who would click on a story about Rolex. VS something like GP. Media is a number... 

Until it comes time to fixing case dings or NLA proprietary parts.

 By: enjoythemusic : June 3rd, 2024-16:41
Love technology and advanced materials, but if they fail how costly is the replacement part (if available)........... He said while wearing a Tudor with a ceramic case.