This year I fulfilled two ambitions by attending Baselworld and designing my own prototype watch called the Polaris. It is pertinent to mention that the latter was done in collaboration with my good friend and accomplished Jet engineer Frank Heydrich. The primary objective of attending the fair in Basel was to try on as many exquisite timepieces from a diverse range of brands. However I did get the opportunity to show a few select renowned watchmakers my own creation. Generally the feedback was very positive and people I personally respect were very encouraging about the concept. One of ateliers who went even further and offered some very constructive advice was Ollivier Savelli.
Prior to attending Baselworld I have never met Ollivier Savelli and had only seen his watches on Facebook. Even in a two-dimensional format his designs looked intriguing and very different to anything else available on the market. Interestingly Ollivier is a jeweler with twenty-five years experience. Within this timescale he has worked for many prestigious companies and was awarded the “Meilleur Ouvrier de France” prize in 2000. This accolade acknowledged his extraordinary ability to create works of art in precious metals. Subsequently he has made the transition into watchmaking under the trading name of Ollivier Savéo.
When I originally contacted Ollivier Savelli I hoped to get my hands on the Petroleum and Speed F1. The Speed F1 is not yet available but I did manage to try on the Petroleum. Dimensionally the timepiece is smaller than I had envisioned and measures only 44mm x 41mm x 14mm (excluding the crown). Even though I personally prefer much larger watches these proportions do suit the style of watch. Generally the timepiece sat very comfortably on my wrist and felt fairy lightweight. Essentially this is down to the innovative case design and choice of 18 Karat luxurious pink gold in production. Due to the exclusive nature of this piece I would imagine it only be reserved for very special occasions.
Visually the watch has a very bold and distinctive appearance. Even though the styling is completely original it does remind me a tiny bit of the Triple Axis Tourbillon by Cabestan. That is probably because both watches incorporate a lot of sapphire glass into their designs. The general layout of pipelines and oil is also similar to the theme illustrated in Louis Moinet’s wonderful Derrick Gaz Tourbillon. Nevertheless the Petroleum has a more Steampunkesque façade than the Triple Axis Tourbillon and Derrick Gaz Tourbillon. What makes this timepiece so special is the astonishing level of detail. From speaking in depth with Ollivier Savelli it is clear that he is an absolute perfectionist. Overall the industrial composition is cohesive and the finishing is first rate.
Beneath the refined exterior is Swiss made self-winding movement sourced from Selita. The Calibre SW300 comprises 26-jewels and oscillates at a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour. Personally I feel Ollivier Savelli should have equipped this watch with a much more exclusive caliber (even a tourbillon) from companies like Concepto or La Joux-Perret SA. I feel a Selita mechanism is more than adequate in a watch retailing under $5,000 but definitely not acceptable in a piece at this price point. However these are just my views and potential buyers may disagree. Functionally the Petroleum features hours, minutes and is water resistant to a depth of 30 metres.
The Petroleum is limited to only 33 pieces and has a black Louisiana alligator strap with matching double folding 18-karat pink gold clasp. Prices start at: CHF 80,000 (approximately $86,492).
For more information about Ollivier Savéo visit the company’s website:http://ollivier-saveo.ch