CELADON is exceedingly proud and honoured to finally present the finished design of our first model, the Premier.
The Premier is a limited numbered edition of 200 pieces –
Rice Paper Cream – 1-100
Midnight Blue – 1-50
Imperial Red – 1-50
The first series of the Premier is engraved additionally with the 首 character, Chinese for both ”first” and ”chief”.
The crowns of all Premiers bear the 秀 character, Chinese for ”excellence”. Therefore every Premier will wear the Crown of Excellence.
秀 also alludes to the 秀才, which was the highest degree awarded at the Imperial Examinations to the scholar-officials of Imperial China. The Premier is deeply inspired by these learned and cultured gentlemen, both in their intellectual and sporting pursuits as well as the traditional Chinese values that were ingrained in them.
Every Premier, and every watch that issues from our House, shall bear the CELADON Crown, which is our Royal Standard, individually applied by hand on every dial. It derives from a stylised crown which communicates CELADON’s desire to be the absolute supreme in every category we occupy, but also from two Chinese characters, 山水,which is one of the oldest and most technically rigorous forms of Chinese art. Translated literally as ”mountain and water” painting or ”shanshui”, the style depicts in brush and ink the classical and natural landscape of China, scenes such as the Yellow Mountain in Anhui Province that have changed little in millennia, reflecting the misty mountains and flowing rivers of Classical China.
The Premier is inspired by the profound links of ”mountain and water” painting to classical poetry and the espousal of balance and rigour, which are the eternal traits of Chinese art that we hope to convey in our watches, both in the delicate beauty and elegance of their design as well as in their robust construction quality and surpassing longevity. Perhaps more deeply, ”mountain and water” poetry was a form of ”textual art” that did not strive to replicate ad verbatim a natural landscape, but rather to evoke an image inside the reader’s mind. What matters is not what the painter-poet sees, but rather what they have thought about the scene. It is a vehicle of philosophy, according to some art critics. This is precisely what we at CELADON desire that our watches communicate; the profound cultural motifs and traditional values of Classical China, reflected in the textual art of the Premier’s plum blossom guilloche dial, itself inspired by the indomitable spirit and heroism in the face of adversity shown by the artisans who designed and built its ancestor, the Wuyi watch from 1958.
At the base of every Premier is printed 中国自豪, Chinese for ”The Pride of China”, stating that our watches are not just designed and constructed on Chinese soil, and filled with tremendous cultural and historical references, but Made in China with Pride. The four characters are homonymous with, that is to say that they sound similar to, 中国制造 or Made in China. Yet another cultural motif, homonyms are constantly seen in Traditional Chinese culture. For example, the frequent use of bat carvings in Ming furniture, since the bat in Chinese sounds similar to the character for prosperity.
And of course, who could forget the inimitable red jewel, a mark of Chinese watches since the third generation designs of the 1960s onwards. The red jewel can be seen on practically all vintage Chinese watches (and on no other countries’) from that period till the 1990s, when it was inexplicably done away with. Our Premier, in honouring its horological ancestors, will bear the first Chinese red jewel in two decades, and will reignite this illustrious tradition.
And now a few words about the respective dial colours…
Rice Paper Cream –
Affectionately reminiscent of the handmade heirloom fans that our Designer of Horology has collected over the years. The finest rice paper in all of China, the Xuanzhi from Jingxian County in Anhui Province, which has centuries of history of use in Chinese artisanal fans dating back to the Song Dynasty a thousand years ago, served as the inspiration for this eternal hue, the most understated of the Premiers.
Midnight Blue –
An equally elegant, dapper and mysterious colour, the midnight blue hue that CELADON employs is sampled directly from our Designer of Horology’s beloved linen dinner jacket, that has seen the passing of many a soiree. The Premier in Midnight Blue is exceedingly versatile, suitable for everything from gentlemanly sports to the black tie ball, appearing as black to the layman eye, but concealing its azure pleasures deep within for the keener observer.
Imperial Red –
The grandiose paramount leader of the Premier triumvirate, the Premier in Imperial Red minces no words as to its provenance. Flamboyant yet never gauche, its passionate countenance is both striking and commanding, yet the equilibrium of its design ensures it never strays beyond the threshold of propriety and grace.
The Case –
The slender body of the Premier is beautifully finished with a highly-polished bezel matched with satin brushed sides and aquiline lugs, for an ageless grace that will grow old with dignity and beauty. Both beautiful and robust, with 50 metres of individually-tested water resistance, the Premier’s case is akin to an exquisite sculpture that shields the beating heart of the manufacture movement for generations to come.
The Movement –
The very nexus of the Premier is the manufacture T18 movement made in Tianjin in northern China, decorated exquisitely by hand with very evenly-spaced perlage. One of the finest time-only movements that China currently produces, CELADON spared no expense nor made any compromise at all in utilising this fine mechanism, which also happens to be one of the thinnest automatics ever made globally, and has an unequalled quality control rating in real-life usage.
The Strap –
Deciding that no accompanying strap of any watch at any price level ever satisfied his surpassing personal standards, our Designer of Horology made the decision to attach calf straps of adequate quality to the Premiers as standard in order to keep this first model as accessible as possible to all our beloved supporters. But consequently, CELADON, in working with several world-class artisanal strapmakers around the world, is able to offer bespoke straps of any skin and colour obtainable, measured individually to the client’s wrist with a mere single hole punched to fit. We believe that this will guarantee superior quality and personalization as opposed to simply including higher-quality but standardised straps.
Bespoke Hand-Engraving –
CELADON is proud to be able to offer hand-engraving on any part of the Premier – case, dial or movement (according to both taste and feasibility). This service is completely bespoke, meaning that any design which can be carved by the human hand can be accomplished. All work is done by our single in-house engraver, who trained for many years in this age-old art. The large rotor of the Premier’s movement lends itself especially well to such engraving of coats of arms or Chinese seals, or simply initials.