Flash News: Julien Coudray 1518 Manufactura 1528 Tribute to Jean-Daniel Ihly (+live pics)

By Thierry Ané on June 10, 2014

Julien Coudray 1518 is a young Swiss brand manufacturing the most beautiful timepieces in the purest Fine Watchmaking tradition. The Julien Coudray 1518 is perhaps the best example of this high-end brand’s philosophy: perfectly classic in design, 95% of this beautiful watch is crafted from a single block of 18-karat gold (white in the model presented here). This obviously includes the refined case of classic 39.00 x 9.85 mm dimensions, the crown and the pin buckle but also and more unusually the dial and the movement itself.

Indeed, this manually-wound three-hand movement with a service indicator is entirely developed and manufactured in the brand’s Le Locle workshops. Beautifully finished with magnificent hand-made engravings, it is observable through the sapphire case back of the watch. Obviously, the brand puts the same care and attention to the manufacture of its unusual dials. Made of (white) gold, they feature a round centre surrounded by 12 “cartouches”.

In its “simplest” version, the centre and 11 of the “cartouches” are adorned with white Grand Feu enamel. This magnificently stable material maintains its radiance indefinitely and is particularly suited to adorning a watch with such a classic aesthetic. The last “cartouche”, always located at 8 o’clock, remains in (white) gold and is hand-engraved with the timepiece’s number in the always limited series or the brand’s logo if it is a unique piece.

This extremely elegant timepiece also offers the perfect frame for the brand to showcase another of its in-house specialties: miniature painting. This difficult technique, reserved for the most skilled enamellers, is a subtle blend of enamelling and painting. Hours of hard work, concentration and exceptional skills are necessary for the motif to come to life.

Careful readers of Watch Agora probably remember my December articleWatches: Julien Coudray 1518 Manufactura 1528 Pétales d'Automne about the lovely 1528 Pétales d'Automne. Compared to other stunning models like the 1528 L'Aigle Royal or the 1528 Le Jaseur Boréal, the artisan enameller expanded the miniature painting on the “cartouches” to make the motif bigger (and obviously the work longer and more delicate).

It seems that with the new 1528 Tribute to Jean-Daniel Ihly the brand followed this difficult path again as the miniature painting now covers the entire dial. The work is inspired by “Genève, la rade”, a painting by Swiss artist Jean-Daniel Ihly (1854–1910). To maintain the spirit of the initial work, the enameller used the complex and painstaking “point-à-point” technique developed by Jean Petitot, a 17th century enamel painter.

This splendid timepiece is of course a unique piece and is sold together with Jean-Daniel Ihly’s painting “Genève, la rade” for CHF 180,000. The lucky owner will thus have the opportunity to compare the work of the artist with that of the enameller to fully appreciate the immense talent of the latter.

The press release indicates that this watch is part of a “Tableaux d’Art” collection so we can safely guess that it is just the first of a series of stunning timepieces featuring miniature painting inspired by the world of painting. Hopefully they will explore several art movements and showcase various enamelling techniques, confirming how special this young manufacture is.

For a technical description of the timepiece and additional pictures: