Artisans de Genève in Switzerland is a watchmaking workshop hailed for its exclusive service offering handcrafted watch modification for private customers. Artisans de Genève Zinal Challenge is one of the bespoke workshop’s latest creations. Zinal is a ski resort village nestled high in the Swiss Alps. The client, whose love of the glacial surroundings, approached Artisans de Genève’s client with a simple request: He asked that the craftsmen take his existing Rolex® 116520 and, using Zinal as their muse, to create a timepiece that would forever remind him of this beloved locale.
Basing their design on the image of a glacier, Artisans de Genève made a series of unique modifications that bring clarity and elegance to the timepiece, with its clear strap, hand-wound skeleton movement, sapphire glass bezel, and, for the first time, a sapphire glass dial. The 4130 caliber watch was completely cut, sandblasted, and beveled by hand, while the automatic winding system was removed and replaced with an internally developed barrel that provides the timepiece with a 72-hour power reserve. The ratchet wheel and balance bridge are flame-blued, as are the hands, bringing a softer contrast to the steely, monochrome appearance. According to one of the craftsmen, “Our client’s watch keeps its substance while adding ice-like transparency. Each element blends together, becoming virtually invisible.”