Behind the scenes: designing The Ascendent watch

For the Ascendent watch, we were lucky enough to work with talented Verre Églomisé artist Marion Labbez for the fourth time. This watch completed a beautiful series of limited edition watches, each of which embodies a different element and designed by Marion.

The Ascendent is the element of earth and Marion said:

"I designed this watch to be a hopeful visual invitation to look forward. Explore, discover, climb, travel: experience the world around you. Never look down, the only way is up and the journey is fulfilling."

Designing the watch:

Marion talks about her inspiration for this watch as predominantly being from the beautiful Japanese Hokusai prints. In particular, the composition of these prints with distant mountains and a leafy foreground.Marion's inspiration
Marion's approach to illustrating the watch was both interesting and unusual.

Marion began with cutting out pieces of paper, and using lighting to create interesting compositions to form the rocks in the design- as this watch symbolised 'earth' she felt this was an important aspect of the design to spend time creating.Marion's sketches
These pieces of paper were then photographed or scanned into the computer, where she digitally altered the thickness of the lines and continued to manipulate the shapes until she was happy with the composition.Marion's digital sketches
Then for the small white mountain in the background of the watch, Marion wanted to create a contrasting graphical element, so she used lines of varying thickness to create this shape, which were then scanned and digitally manipulated. Marion's mountain sketchFinally we made two sample versions of The Ascendent design. As you can see below, the design remains the same, but we have used a different gilding technique for each, and two different colours for the trees.

The Ascendent samplesWe loved elements from both of these samples, so we combined them, and the limited edition version was complete!

The Ascendent finished

Making the watch

Just four people worked together to make all 100 of these watches: Paul and Ellen printed, gilded and sprayed the dials, then Elena and Cat assembled them one by one. Here are some images of the process...

Gilding The Ascendent watchPart two of the gilding processThe Ascendent sprayed dialAssembling The Ascendent watch

The Ascendent watch was limited to just 100 pieces worldwide. We are hoping to make some changes to the design and add it to our permanent collection this year. If you are interested in this watch, you can sign up to the waiting list for the re-issued watch here.

You can also watch Marion Labbez talking through her inspiration for the design here.