For rare-watch devotees, an elaborate dial made from extraordinary materials is the ultimate turn-on.

Parmigiani Fleurier’s Pershing Tourbillon Samba Madeira watch ($248,000) is crafted in titanium and rose gold and features a dial depicting a “Gibson and Brazil” pattern made of a meticulously handworked mosaic of exotic painted woods. The exquisitely artful watch features a 30-second tourbillon escapement within the 237-part PF510 manual-wind movement.

Fly high with Harry Winston’s new Midnight Feathers 42mm Automatic watch ($30,300), cast in 18k rose gold. The elaborate dial is crafted using plumasserie (ancient feather artistry). Each brown and black feather is carefully selected, shaped, and placed under a magnifying glass to create a marquetry of plumes in distinctly masculine tones.

Although not as obviously showy as some rare, collectible watches, the Academia Grande Date Napoleon timepiece ($12,200) from DeWitt will appeal to history lovers. A tiny piece of Napoleon’s hair is inset into the carved likeness of the famed French emperor on the dial. The watch is crafted in steel with a rubber strap, and each piece has its own serial number.

The Arachnophobia watch ($4,300) by ArtyA is crafted in a 47mm steel case that gets its shape and finish via a high-voltage lightning bolt. The dial features an actual wolf spider (a non-endangered species caught in Switzerland) decorated with gold leaf and acrylic paint. Powered by ArtyA’s in-house A82 modified three-hand movement, the watch has 52 hours of power reserve. 

Top watchmakers are taking haute horology to new heights by creating pieces that have surprising design and construction elements. Sometimes these entail complicated movements or unexpected materials, but in these advanced timepieces, the brands are incorporating atypical—even curious!— details into the dials, making them works of art that collectors of premier watches covet.

- Source: LA Confidential   By: Roberta Naas