In the Atelier: Lalique and Parmigiani Fleurier

In the Atelier: Lalique and Parmigiani Fleurier
Lalique's original Le Jour et La Nuit clock (1926)
(Courtesy Lalique and Parmigiani Fleurier)

Founded in 1921, Lalique has been one of the world’s leading crystal manufacturers, not only producing jewelry and crystal objets d’art, but also collaborating with global lifestyle brands, such as Bentley and Coty, to make specialized crystal sculptures and bottles. A passionate student of nature and its mythology, company founder René Lalique was influenced by the natural world of the French countryside, the aquatic world and its fantastical creatures, and also Japanese natural world art motifs.

At Swiss watch maker Parmigiani Fleurier, which has partnered with Lalique since 2012, three of the master jeweler’s most iconic themes are being reproduced in new clock styles that were announced at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie in Geneva earlier this year.

One of them is the Coutard Fountain, which was first produced in 1935, and is now being rendered in an Art Nouveau-inspired table clock, the Toric Lépine. Its crystal case depicts the myth of Arethusa, who was turned into a fountain by the goddess Artemis to help her flee from the god Alpheus after he had fallen madly in love with her, and houses a Parmigiani Fleurier pocket watch within.

The others are the Soleil de Gaïa clock and the Serpent clock, representing poetic allegories of the brightest day and the darkest night, and reproducing Lalique’s original Le Jour et La Nuit clock from 1926. These new iterations depict Gaia, Goddess of the Earth, and Psyche, a woman in butterfly form who, according to myth, was destined to marry a snake.

These designs riff on Lalique’s iconic materials and codes, and utilize techniques including wax casting and satin-finishing to create features like recessed motifs, as well as marquetry dials designed in relief, and bevel-cutting of mother-of-pearl.