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Omega DeVille Jeux d’argent by Andrew Grima
At Amsterdam Watch Company, we pride ourselves in bringing to market those watches you just do not come across very often. The exotic and the truly special. We are delighted to present such a watch today.
This is the Omega DeVille Jeux d’Argent cuff bracelet watch in 925 silver from ca. 1970.
The 1960s and 1970s were a time of great experimentation in design, especially for Omega. They were seeking out the extremes of what was possible, often in cooperation with superstar designers such as Gilbert Albert or Andrew Grima. Andrew Peter Grima is a man of multiple talents. Born in the roaring 1920s comes from a very artistic family. His father was an embroidery designer and his brothers became architects. Peter himself joined the army and when he came back he started working in the jeweler shop with his father-in-law. There started his love for designing.
And wow, he made the most beautiful pieces, in 1970 he designed a line of watches for omega, called “About Time”. The watch we see here comes from that line. Many years ago Sotheby’s had the same piece on an auction; it was sold for $16.000.-.
The influence of the latter can clearly be spotted in this cuff watch. Grima used colored gemstones such as tourmalines and peridots as faceted watch crystals. The example we see here might be a modest synthetic colorless sapphire, it is emerald-cut, reminding us of Grima’s radical designs.
This sculptural design was even more directly inspired by a concept watch drawn by Irene Spielmann for Montres et Bijoux in 1974. Her sketch features a crystal that reaches right up to the edge of the watch case, but otherwise, the shape is pretty much identical. The watch is manually wound through its hidden crown. The time is then displayed on the pale blue, vertically brushed cross-hair dial.
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When Omega launched its Seamaster line in 1948, the watches initially featured traditional round cases, without any sort of diving-specific features such as a dive time bezel. When these were added in 1957, the collection became a bit cluttered. A late 1950’s Seamaster could be a small dress watch or a chunky diver. In terms of clarity, there was room for improvement.
Omega tried to solve this in 1963 by adding the De Ville designation to its dressier Seamasters. These would be the more classical, smaller and dressier watches within the Seamaster range. The idea was to separate the Seamaster range into sporty Seamasters and sophisticated Seamaster De Villes.
But as is often the case with big companies with many, many managerial layers, the decision would be turned on its head once again in 1967. The De Ville name was separated from the Seamaster and launched as its own collection. From a commercial point of view, it was a stroke of brilliance though. The De Ville line was used for more sophisticated, more elegant models than its sports lines. It was an instant hit.
The De Ville line has existed since. It featured (and still does) countless variations in design, complications, sizes and materials. Sophisticated and elegant. If these are qualities you hold in high regard, the De Ville collection might just harbor that perfect watch for you!
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