About Beijing Watch Fatory and the Atelier Series:
BeijingWatch Factory was founded in June 1958, and the current facility spans of 100,000 square meters and employing over 600 people, with the know-how and capability to design, develop and produce its own in-house movements and watches. It became a main aspiration for the Chinese elite throughout the second half of last century.
In 2000, a small and separate “Atelier Series” atelier was formed inside the company with the sole purpose of researching, developing, and producing high-end movements and watches. In 2004, the first high-end movement was developed (SB-18) movement used in the Atelier series cloisonné enamel watches. Around the same year, the atelier developed produced its first in-house tourbillon. Subsequent technological break-through took place in rapid succession – double tourbillon in 2007, skeleton double tourbillon in 2008, bi-axial tourbillon in 2009, and minute repeater tourbillon in 2010.
The Atelier models are distinctly different from the main stream production. Hundreds of hours of labor and passion were devoted in crafting each piece, resulting in masterpieces that rival the best of the Swiss products. They have also performed well in international auctions such as Sothebys and Christies, with the record of a phoenix enamel tourbillon watch fetching over US$500,000 in auction prices.
Because of these achievement, all primarily within the last decade, the atelier has gained fame and respect among international connoisseur circles, for combining high-end traditional watchmaking techniques, finishing, with traditional Chinese art forms such as cloisonné enameling. Each enamel dial requires tens of hours of dedication to complete, not to mention over 80% failure rate during the each successive firing step. Hence, an artist must create on average 5-6 dials, in order to have a perfect one.
There are only 2 master artists in the company who could do this, and only a handful in Beijing who could perform enameling at this highest level. This is rapidly becoming a “lost art”.