New York, New York – Reported by Elite Traveler, the private jet lifestyle magazine
In the mid-XIXth century Victorian England, a group of English painters, poets and critics, known as the Pre-Raphaelites, formed a brotherhood celebrating woman, romanticism and symbolic nature. Dissatisfied with what was taught and exhibited at the Royal Academy, they wanted to return to a more direct and honest artistic expression, with abundant details, intense colors and complex compositions.
Dante Gabriel Rossetti was one of the driving forces behind this circle of artists and wished to reinforce the links between romantic poetry and art. Rossetti’s emphasis was on brilliance of color and the women he portrayed often symbolized the creative power of Nature. ‘The Daydream’ (1880) is a celebration of controlled female sensuality, blending feminine beauty and mystery. The woman is not a passive beauty, but a powerful beauty, full of intensity.
Another artist that was greatly influenced by the Pre-Raphaelites was Julia Margaret Cameron, rightly recognized as one of the most influential figures from the early days of portrait photography and that became known for her portraits of celebrities of the time. In her photography, Cameron strove to capture beauty and had the amazing gift of always ‘arresting’ the personalities of her subjects, achieving to depict their emotional state in her photos.
She rapidly developed her unique style of photographic portraiture, slightly out of focus and deliberately gauzy, in order to emphasize the emotional dimension of her subjects in an often highly allegorical way. The gentle melancholy of her portraits is irresistible, and for many remains unsurpassed even to this day in the world of photography.
Her associations with artists from the Pre-Raphaelite school brought her to meet Charles Dodgson, another passionate photographer of the time and better known under the name of Lewis Carroll. Dodgson had often used Alice Liddell (the inspiration for his Alice stories) as a child portrait subject for his photographs. Later, Cameron also recognised in Alice the perfect Pre-Raphaelite model and used her in her photographic allegory of Alethea, the Greek goddess of truth.
Julia Margaret Cameron had a truly artistic approach to photography in which she followed her own instincts, freed from all Victorian rules and conventions.
Considered the first avant-garde movement in art, the Pre-Raphaelites and their beautiful celebration of Woman, Romanticism and Symbolic Nature have been the driving inspiration behind the creation of the DeWitt Golden Afternoon collection.
With the Golden Afternoon collection, DeWitt has tried to poetically and artistically retrace the different stages in the life of a woman and her changing perceptions of the world around her. With great lightness and a touch of fantasy, the Golden Afternoon collection offers a set of mirrors to the minds and hearts of women.
What better example than the tale of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to illustrate a woman’s attempt to decipher the world around her? Once decoded this most brilliant example of literary nonsense, we find ourselves facing a thoroughly contemporary girl, fighting to re-establish her own identity and aspiring towards complete feminine autonomy. A beautiful story of the long and sinuous journey from innocent childhood to wisdom and adulthood.
In his prefatory poem of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll recalls the afternoon during which he took a boat trip from Oxford to Godstow and improvised the Alice in Wonderland story to entertain the three Liddell sisters, Lorina, Alice and Edith. The first verse reads:
All in the golden afternoon
Full leisurely we glide;
For both our oars, with little skill,
By little arms are plied,
While little hands make vain pretence
Our wanderings to guide.
The dial of the Golden Afternoon is a delicate mother of pearl garden with a gentle breeze blowing across its colourful beds of flowers. Of different dimensions and tonalities, the flowers pour out of the centre and are dispatched poetically across the dial. In the background, a mother of pearl sky with discrete puffy clouds mingles with a dozen water lily diamonds to form a painting in which reflection is reality. The slightly “out of focus” effect reminds us of Julia Margaret Cameron’s photographic style, exceptionally powerful and evocative.
The hours and minutes hands are refined little sculptures of angel wings, whereas the seconds hand, thin and elegant, is topped with a little flame. On the lower left part of the dial, a small DeWitt logo gently floats across the sky.
The Golden Afternoon is a purely feminine 39 mm timepiece housing an automatic calibre with 42 hours power reserve. A classical feature of most DeWitt watches, the imperial columns were redesigned for the Golden Afternoon collection and illustrate feminine finesse. They can also be seen as twelve little doors opening up onto a beautiful garden, just as the many doors that Alice faced down in the Rabbit hole. As for the crown, it was also redesigned into softer shapes and is decorated with a blue sapphire or a ruby cabochon. A golden pin buckle, polished and with a fine engraving of the DeWitt logo provides additional finesse to the finishing.
Movement Self-winding (ETA 2892)
Functions Hours, minutes, seconds
References Soft diamond setting (rose gold): GA.AU.001 Soft diamond setting (white gold): GA.AU.003 Medium diamond setting: GA.AU.004 Full diamond setting: GA.AU.002
Power reserve 42 hours
Rotor DeWitt’s design
Vibrations 28’800 A/h
Balance 3-armed, made in Glucydur
Escapement 510 angle of lift
Jewelling 21 jewels
Case Round-shaped, adorned with slender feminine imperial columns on the flanks
Material 18-carat white or rose gold
Diameter 39 mm
Total thickness 9,28 mm
Crown 18-carat white or rose gold polished crown adorned with a blue sapphire or a ruby cabochon
Case back Engraved and secured with screws
Dial Mother-of-pearl background sky with mother of pearl flowers of different sizes and tonalities pouring out of the centre and dispatched across the dial.
Hands Hours and Minutes: refined little sculptures in the shape of angel wings. Seconds: thin and elegant and topped with a small flame.
Wristband Alligator leather or satin in different colour tonalities
Buckle 18-carat white or rose gold pin buckle, polished and engraved with the DeWitt logo.
Water-resistance 30 meters