Schwarz Etienne may be almost 50 years behind the times with the release of this Seventies inspired watch, but better late than never.
The Ode to 70’s is the latest addition to their special edition series and following on from the unique designs of Ode to the Week and Ode to Spring, Schwarz Etienne continue with another conversation starter.
Following the crowds is probably not the first thing Schwarz Etienne could be accused of when it comes to design, but the inspiration of this piece isn’t too far off what the brand actually usually creates:
Ode to the 70’s is inspired by an era
when ‘peace and love’ was the mantra of
the young and freedom of expression set
aside the opinions of the political elite. This
was a period when creativity was prized and
convention was ignored. It is these latter
traits which resonate with Schwarz Etienne,
a company which has always conceived
watches, free of inhibition, enriched with a
character all of their own..
Face & case
There is a lot going on here – the colourful psychedelic face is held within a 44mm white gold case.
The vivid colours have real depth and shine, created with Grand feu enamel. Cloisonné and champlevé enamelling have been used – ancient artisan techniques which will be explained in more detail later in the review.
The dial appears to be split into 3 main areas at the centre under a domed sapphire crystal.
Breaking the norm, the location of the impressive flying tourbillon is offset and positioned between 1 and 2 o’clock on the dial, with another unusual feature being the microrotor, which is positioned on the dial side and also offset, this time at 9 o’clock. The easily recognisable peace symbol takes up the entire microrotor and has the words “Peace & Love” on one side and “Ode to 70s” on the other. Completing the threesome is the ratchet wheel, which it’s teeth are partially exposed at between 4 and 5 o’clock.
All three circular features are encapsulated and brought together by a white gold circle which runs about 4mm in from the edge of the bezel and drops the centre of the dial down about a millimetre. The words “SCHWARTZ ETIENNE” are engraved on a widened platform running from 8 to 6 o’clock.
All of the above sit under strong looking hands, which are made from brass and finished with a rhodium treatment. The hands also feature a good amount of Super-Luminova.
The back of the Ode to 70’s is mainly closed, with detail of cogs and various other engravings in an artistic display leading up to a sapphire window the size of the tourbillon and exposing the back of it. The Letter SE are clearly visible, engraved on one of the bridges. (my photos are of a demo model and has a stainless steel case)
The lugs appear elongated, which is more noticeable from the rear for some reason – perhaps because they curve round to follow the shape of the wrist.
The crown is fairly flat and low profile, with straight up and down ridges for grip. The familiar SE logo can be clearly seen stamped on the end.
The Schwarz Etienne Ode to 70s features one of it’s own manufactured flying tourbillon calibers, the “Irreversible” TSE 121.00, with micro rotor to the front of the movement.
Comprising of 34 jewels and 219 components, one of which being Schwarz Etienne’s own in-house hairspring on the balance wheel.
Staying with the 70’s theme, the strap is made from blue jean denim, with red stitching and multicolour paint splatters. It features a strip of leather for the hole area and keepers. The inside of the strap is made from soft, red alligator skin.
It fastens with a folding buckle in white gold, with the Schwarz Etienne “SE” logo centred on the buckle.
Two types of fired enamelling have been used to create the dial – here is a brief explanation of both, which may be of interest.
The Swirling patterns were created by using Cloisonné fired enamel. White gold wire (in this case) was affixed to the white gold dial. The wire forms small compartments and each of them are filled with enamel powder/paste and then fired in an oven. Each section has to be heated and cooled independently, so it takes many hours to complete.
Champlevé is an enamelling technique where areas are carved, etched or struck into the surface of white gold, silver or other metal and filled with enamel. The piece is then fired until the enamel fuses, and when cooled the surface of the object is polished.
In both cases, the enameler has to exercise great care to ensure the surface does not bubble or crack. Temperature and timing are important in achieving specific shades. The uncarved portions of the original surface remain visible as a frame for the enamel designs
When I first saw the Ode to the Seventies, I thought it was a lovely ladies watch, with the bright colours, soft shapes and denim strap; however, at 44m it’s fairly big on the wrist and the more I looked at it, the more I really liked it (plus it matched the multicoloured spotty shirt I was wearing!).
It is comfortable to wear, has a good weight and feels as if it was made for my wrist. It also fits neatly under my shirt cuff and I would be quite happy to wear it as either a smart or casual watch.
My only potentially negative observation, (not really about the piece itself), but wasn’t flower power, Summer of Love et all during the late 60’s?
The Ode to the 70’s is definitely a statement piece and with the option to choose the colours on the dial, it makes it even more of a personal piece.
I actually quite like the primary colours theme, but could see this working in pinks and purples, as well as in black, white and greys (although losing the bright colours may detract from the whole essence of the idea).
Priced at 127,700 CHF (inc tax) and with only 23 pieces to be hand made to order, it is highly unlikely you will see many (if anyone) wearing one; an Ode to the Seventies would definitely fit well in my collection though.