“Hortensia” – derived from the term “horticulture” – is the name for a new watch and jewellery collection from French brand Chaumet.
At the top of the timepiece collection, a new model that leverages one of the most unique mechanical watch movements in the brand’s portfolio – the opaquely named caliber CP12V-XIII. The distinguishing element of this movement is the hand, which is not only designed to use a figurine or charm as a “traveling indicator”, but also to move in a non-circular, yet linear direction. The result is a sort of zig-zag pattern, which is paired to a disc-style hour indicator in the centre of the dial.
One previous execution of this concept by Chaumet was their Creative Complication timepiece, where one would find a spider on its web – the hour indicator – following a minutes hand in the guise of a flying insect.
For the 2015 Chaumet Hortensia Creative Complication the focus is entirely floral. The hydrangea-inspired dial uses finely hand-cut pieces of mother-of-peal and diamonds to create a motif where pink flowers indicate the time against an otherwise white background.
The elements used to indicate the time must be light in order for the movement to have enough torque to power their motion. Chaumet uses a titanium base which is then set with diamonds, and pink sapphires on the translucent “petals”.
Much of the value of the Hortensia Creative Complication's dial lies in the craftsmanship, time and effort required to produce it. A miniature display, made possible using time-honoured techniques such as stone setting, engraving, and enamelling. The dial alone features 218 brilliant-cut diamonds as well as various shades of mother-of-pearl set using marquetry.
Additional diamonds decorate most surfaces of the Hortensia’s 41mm wide 18k white gold case, large when held against other women's timepieces. The movement however is an automatic with 39 hours of power reserve – impressive given the weight and motion of the time indicators.