Opinion – Artisans de Genève «LA MONTOYA», a modified Rolex Daytona crafted for Juan Pablo Montoya

On this planet of watches, opinions about modified or custom-made or ‘tuned’ watches are normally not very optimistic. That’s why the official collaboration between LVMH manufacturers Zenith and TAG Heuer with one among these customizers, Bamford, was exceptional, to say the least. For a couple of years now, one other customizer is making a reputation for itself and does it in a reasonably qualitative and authentic manner. I’m speaking about Artisans de Genève, and right now they launch a totally skeletonized Rolex Daytona, which they designed along with ex-Method 1 driver, Juan Pablo Montoya. And it appears to be like fairly cool! 


Within the 12 years that I’ve been operating MONOCHROME, we have now lined a custom-made Rolex simply 3 times. There was one constructed by an organization known as Tempus Machina (see right here), one made by Undertaking X Designs (see right here) and one by Label Noir with a tourbillon (see right here.) Most customizers who knock on our door asking to be featured get a easy ‘sorry, we don’t cowl custom-made watches‘ as an reply. That’s as a result of most of those watches are ‘merely’ black variations of any Rolex or Patek sports activities mannequin or a diamond-set model of the aforementioned manufacturers. And I discover that completely boring.

Now, the world of automobiles is aware of fairly a couple of customizers and so they typically create good, typically even superior, variations of the unique. BMW with Alpina, Mercedes-Benz with Brabus and lots of of others doing one thing related, official or unofficial. Some even handle to take issues to a (a lot) greater stage than merely customizing, like as an example Singer Car Design, which created the good and finest wanting air-cooled Porsche 911’s on the planet. And Porsche… properly, there’s no official assertion, however the few workers of the German automobile producer that I spoke to all agreed that what Singer does is absolutely cool.

Why are issues so completely different on this planet of automobiles in comparison with the world of watches? One firm designs and manufactures a product, one other firm buys the product, modifies and sells it once more. However why are these practices thought to be regular, and even considered as paying tribute to a model within the automotive world, whereas on this planet of watches many look upon these customizations with disdain?

Artisans de Genève La Montoya

Once we acquired the information about ‘La Montoya’, I’ve to confess that I wasn’t overly enthusiastic. That’s, till I opened the e-mail and regarded on the pictures. I used to be really pleasantly shocked. The earlier creations by the identical firm additionally regarded good and far completely different from the typical custom-made (learn: blackened) Rolex. However with the Rolex Daytona that was custom-made for Juan Pablo Montoya, once more, the Geneva-based customizer did way more than the typical custom-made Rolex.

So, what makes this one so completely different from the overwhelming majority of modified watches? The stainless-steel case and bracelet are kind of unaltered, though the caseback and bezel have been modified. The caseback now has a sapphire inset pane, so the (now) skeletonized Rolex calibre 4130 might be seen (or admired.) Round that sapphire crystal, the caseback has been engraved with “Les Artisans de Genève” and “Juan Pablo Montoya” and the person variety of this restricted version.

On the entrance aspect, many issues have modified and the bezel has been exchanged for a custom-made bezel with tachymeter that has been machined from a cast carbon block. And as a good-old racing-inspired chronograph (and because the authentic mannequin), it comes with a tachymeter scale.

The motion has been skeletonized and by that, we imply the mainplate, bridges and even the mainspring-drum have been opened. Lots of the elements have been coated, however not earlier than they’ve been brushed, bevelled and polished by hand. The ending is absolutely prime notch!

The 22okay gray gold rotor is polished with a round ending. All this creates a reasonably entertaining show. Particularly with the skeletonized dial that’s bevelled and polished by hand too and comes with three colored counters. Just like the arms, the counters are individually painted by hand, within the colors of Juan Pablo Montoya’s nation, Colombia.

Ideas about customization

The extent of customizing and detailing utilized by Artisans de Genève is kind of spectacular and it takes customization to a complete completely different stage. However how can we really feel about this topic? I’m properly conscious that customizations stay a ‘sensitive’ subject within the microcosmos of watches. Personally, I see no hurt in customizing a watch, however I additionally discover most customizations uninspiring. A easy black model of a Rolex or Patek sports activities watch doesn’t do it for me – however typically, I’m not the most important fan of black watches. I can perceive that manufacturers like Rolex and Patek say that the guarantee isn’t legitimate as soon as a watch has been modified by a third-party, so concentrate on this reality!

Whereas I infrequently see ‘the purpose’ of customizing a watch, I don’t see a lot hurt in doing so. The unique stays the unique and is strictly how the model envisioned that mannequin. Nevertheless, typically an exterior tackle issues can present one other aspect of a watch, a aspect that remained unexplored by the model. When achieved in a very qualitative and classy manner, there’s an opportunity I prefer it. Like an excellent tribute to an air-cooled 911 or Mercedes AMG-GT R (by Brabus). It’s a brand new look on an present automobile (or watch) that brings one thing new to the desk. Like as an example the 2 Rolex Submariners that we showcased a number of years in the past, or the Tribute to 1019 (Milgauss) that Artisans de Genève made, which appears to be like completely fab!

What do you consider the world of modified, custom-made or ‘tuned’ watches? It might be nice to learn your opinions!

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