Editors Pick New Releases Watches

Introducing: Artisans de Genève Zinal Project

Artisans de Genève Zinal Project

This personalisation was requested by a private client, Artisans de Genève is not affiliated nor authorized by Rolex SA.

We’ve seen a lot of unique custom Rolexes over the years, be they blacked-out, draped in funky colours or even skeletonised. But even in the crowded world of high-end bespoke watch projects, the latest from Artisans de Genève is a standout. A sapphire-dialled Daytona? Yes please.

The Zinal Project as it’s called takes its design inspiration from the glacier of the same name, a 7km stretch of slowly-shifting ice in Switzerland’s Pennine Alps. To imitate the crystal clear ice, Artisans de Genève opted for both a sapphire glass bezel and, for the first time ever, a matching sapphire dial.

Artisans de Genève Zinal Project

Both parts are entirely hand-finished, requiring ridiculous man hours and expertise to achieve. Better yet, they present a flawless view of the skeletonised movement inside, offering the kind of light and transparency we’ve never seen in any Rolex before. Completed with polarised counters and flame-blued hands, it’s a nice balance of readability and horological exhibitionism.

Artisans de Genève Zinal Project

The calibre 4130 automatic movement itself has been overhauled, with the usual automatic winding system stripped out and replaced with an internally-developed barrel boasting a 72-hour power reserve. That of course as well as the painstakingly-precise skeletonization and immaculate finishing.

Artisans de Genève Zinal Project

The case is far more pared-back in satin-finished stainless steel, but with the original Daytona pushers replaced with MK “Millerighe” versions for a more rugged look and feel, nicely suited to the mountains. The whole thing is finished on a transparent rubber strap to round off the icy look.

Artisans de Genève Zinal Project
Artisans de Genève Zinal Project

Once again Artisans De Genève has created a one-off Daytona that Rolex purists will likely decry as the end times, but that, let’s be honest, is incredibly cool. Whoever ordered this bad boy is going to be one happy customer.

Price & Specs:

Model: Artisans de Genève Zinal Project (Base: Rolex® 116520)
Case/Dial: 40mm diameter x 12.2mm thickness, stainless steel
Water Resistance: 100m (10 bar)
Movement: Calibre 4130 (modified), skeletonized, sandblasted, beveled by hand, automatic
Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 72h (3 days)
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, chronograph
Strap: Rubber B® transparent vulcanised rubber
Price/availability: On request

More details at Artisans De Genève.

Leave a Comment



About the author

Sam Kessler

Legend has it that Sam’s first word was ‘escapement’ and, while he might have started that legend himself, he’s been in the watch world long enough that it makes little difference. As the editor of Oracle Time, he’s our leading man for all things horological – even if he does love yellow dials to a worrying degree. Owns a Pogue; doesn’t own an Oyster Perpetual. Yet.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter?