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The Palace

Exquisite craftsmanship honors the Industrial Revolution in this luxury timepiece

by CH Contributor in Style on 30 July 2010

by Meehna Goldsmith

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Designed by complications maestro Christophe Claret, the Palace is the latest addition to the luxuriously retro watch line Jean Dunand. The timepiece, inspired by the dynamic Art Deco age (the company's name references a famed artisan of the time period), embodies the spirit and style of the glamorously functional arts movement. Even the name is a shout-out to London's Crystal Palace, which was built for the Great Exhibition of 1851 and set the stage for the era.

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Sourced from a range of classically Jean Dunand geometric shapes, consistent with the Art Deco ideals of function, craftsmanship and the highest grade of materials, the watch also references imagery from two iconic films of the era—Fritz Lang's "Metropolis" and Charlie Chaplin's "Modern Times"—each giving life to the machine and its tools.

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The Palace's movement takes aesthetic cues from the architecture of the Eiffel Tower, with plates supported by tiny pillars to suggest the reinforcement of a massive, cast-iron structure. From the profile, the watch even resembles the great tower's base. But the Industrial Revolution and its fascination with mechanized function anchor the thematics of this timepiece. The eye wanders over a landscape of tracks, wheels and a chain, evocative of those used on the chain drives of vintage Indian and Vincent motorcycles.

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Exhibiting his trademark mechanical virtuosity, Claret powers the Palace with a manually wound, one-minute flying tourbillon with a 72-hour power reserve. True to the company's motto, no two watches share the same materials or design, making each one a truly unique piece in the collection and helping to justify the $417,000 price tag. It's available through select retailers around the world.

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