Precious stones, coloured stones. Grain setting, snow setting, baguette setting, invisible setting. Refined decorations, and sophisticated techniques… with a savoir-faire that sublimates the timepieces made by the greatest watch brands, Salanitro is today an internationally recognized label of quality, trust and creativity level in the field of horological gem-setting.
Pierre Salanitro, the founder of the eponymous firm, has built a business in Geneva, Switzerland, that is now a leader in its field, originating some the most beautiful and exclusive watch and jewelry creations for the most prestigious brands in the world.
For more than thirty years, Pierre Salanitro has consistently lived up to the highest standards of craftsmanship, respect for tradition and innovation, service and a sense of responsibility towards his clientele, combined with confident independence and a strong family spirit. He is first and foremost driven by a relentless desire to create, to renew himself and to explore uncharted territories.
S by Salanitro… Sparkled by Salanitro
Characterized by the quality that best defines Pierre Salanitro, the S by Salanitro brand is in his image: creative and innovative!
Today, S by Salanitro steps into the light. A brand that sets itself apart by creating exceptional objects, by designing, producing and illuminating unexpected objects, with a strong and unique identity, in the world of luxury.
To make objects sparkle, glow, radiate, dazzle, and, depending on the object, to light a fire within…the sources of inspiration, the possibilities beyond the realm of watchmaking are infinite!
A keen aesthetic and cultural sensitivity, deep knowledge of materials and precious stones, exceptional savoir-faire in the Métiers d’Art of jewelry creation in high watchmaking, S by Salanitro is synonymous for surprise through dazzling and original creations.
With each new object, the teams at S by Salanitro bring all their knowledge and virtuosity to bear on the creation of an exceptional final product, one that lives up to the highest standards of connoisseurs and lovers of objects of rare refinement.
Each creation sparks an ambitious project, sometimes involving a prestigious collaboration, always calling on several crafts to bring forth a brilliant work of art that combines technical prowess, age-old mastery of materials and techniques, and contemporary inspiration.
While fine horology is where it all began and remains the home turf of the brand’s founder, S by Salanitro sets out to new horizons, to live out his passion for unique and precious objects, an unquenchable source of emotion.
Today marks the launch of an inaugural collection, the first waypoint of a process of reflection and maturation that began three years ago; because a collection, dedicated to rarity and because of its precious character, is built with time.
Birth of a collection
The idea of this collection was born from observation, from a fascination with unique and exceptional objects. It happened on a business trip to Asia. Pierre Salanitro has just arrived at his hotel when he sees an old friend. Pierre is exhausted and all he wants to do is go up to his room and get a good night’s sleep. But his friend insists: why not join him and his friends for dinner, it so happens, in the hotel’s restaurant. Gone is the tiredness. Pure serendipity as the conversation suddenly turns to Koi, a species of carp venerated in Japan, and the tradition of breeding them for beauty contests.
Bred for their aesthetics, Koi are emblematic of the country and a coveted export, sometimes worth more than their weight in gold. When a Koi wins a competition, its owner will celebrate this event by offering a gift to their close friends. Aware of Pierre’s profession, one of the guests turns to him and commissions him to make a reproduction of his champion Koi in lacquer and precious stones. The sake contributing to a festive atmosphere, Pierre Salanitro takes up the challenge.
This first commission – a unique, precious, personal, original and singular creation – became the embryo of a broader vision that would inhabit Pierre Salanitro for many years: that of creating objects that are both exceptional and intimate, combining aesthetic sensitivity and exceptional savoir-faire.
Then, Pierre Salanitro approaches the ECAL, the internationally renowned art and design school located in Lausanne, and proposes a collaboration: 14 student-designers are mobilized around a creative project with only one constraint – anything but watchmaking! The theme: originality with stones.
“The Masks” – expression of the Métiers d’Art
Six projects in particular retain Pierre Salanitro’s interest. One of them revolves around masks. The concept, the potential and the originality of the theme of the mask immediately capture Pierre’s attention: each mask is envisaged as a work of art.
Each mask has a name, an identity and a history. While the collection draws its inspiration from the masks of ancient civilizations, it is, from the outset, envisaged as resolutely contemporary; a modern reinterpretation of an ancestral object.
Pierre Salanitro assembles his teams to brief on the project and the designers quickly get to work. The first of the series is inspired by an original Aztec mask entitled: the Warrior.
At the end of the 19th century, Europe’s great powers, Great Britain and France in particular, had conquered a colonial empire in Africa, Asia and Oceania. The colonizers discovered the indigenous art, which, of course, was at the antipodes of any references in European art. Reflexively, the ‘dominant’ powers looked down on these cultural manifestations, condescendingly them calling ‘primitive’ or ‘tribal’.
Today, more aptly understood as expressions of ‘Primal Art’ (said to define all ancient artistic productions of non-Western origin), ancient masks are elevated and recognized as true artistic creations, and exhibited in the most prestigious museums around the world.
Masks quickly captured the imagination of great European artists such as Paul Gauguin (1848-1903), Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), Henri Matisse (1869-1954), Constantin Brancusi (1876-1957), Emil Nolde (1867-1956), Amadeo Modigliani (1884-1920) and so many others(!), who were seduced by the simplicity of these treasures from Oceania and Africa, and by their contrasting colors. Through these masks they discovered that it was possible to free themselves from the shackles of realism in the representation of characters and objects. Distortion as a pathway to abstraction!
Beyond this initial infatuation, Primal Art would exert a profound and lasting influence on the artistic production of the 20th century, be it in painting or sculpture; for the mask, by definition, refers us to the notion of mystery, of concealing one’s visage, and, in a broader sense, the distinctive signs that testify to one’s identity.
The mask: a bridge between the self and the world
A symbol of duality, the mask is the wall, the shield that guards the self against the surrounding reality. In sacred universes, it signifies temporary hospitality to the Gods. Thus, it grants the human being a direct line to the beyond, a connection with the spirits.
The mask, as an object, holds a particular fascination: it is turned both inward and outward at the same time; It allows a constant oscillation between the within and the without; yet something always seems to escape. It hides, veils, covers, deceives, manipulates – just as it protects and transforms.
Masks have a function. They take part in the social game, are associated with initiatory and religious rites. They are a mirror held up to our face, beyond ages and borders, daring us to ask ourselves the universal questions about the mystery of birth, life and death, about the relationship between the visible and invisible world, between the human and the divine.
The Warrior of Malinaltepec
The first creation of S by Salanitro is inspired by the emblematic mask of Malinaltepec discovered in 1921 in southwest Mexico.
In some civilizations, masks have a magical dimension. This is notably the case of this famous hardstone mask. Dating tests carried out in 2008 confirmed that the object, whose authenticity had been disputed since its discovery in 1921, originated in the period when the city of Teotihuacán was at its peak, that is to say between 300 and 500 CE.
The precise initial function of the mask is uncertain – perhaps it was part of a funerary sculpture or architecture? Be that as it may, the mask was reused several centuries later, during the Postclassic period (900-1521 CE). The exceptional mosaic decoration is from this latter period. In addition to the tesserae of turquoise, amazonite, obsidian and mother-of-pearl that cover the face, there is also a necklace of 55 pearls.
The mask would have been interred with a man – or a woman – of high rank. Beyond their aesthetic aspect, the colored patterns of the mask have a special significance: they evoke Chalchiuhtlicue, the goddess of water and fertility.
According to ancient beliefs, the addition of divine features to a funeral mask, in essence giving the deceased the face of a deity, ensured safe passage into the celestial world. We now better understand the meaning of the word Teotihuacan in Nahuatl: “The city where men are transformed into gods”.
War was an important subject in ancient cultures who often depicted the God of War as a skeleton with colored stripes painted on the skull. Usually, the God of War was the patron of warriors who then painted their faces in the same way to pay homage and become gods themselves on the battlefield.
The art of stone setting embraces the art of engraving
Beyond the powers with which it has been invested, a mask is designed to hide the face or to be worn on the forehead. Its shape is linked to its function. But how can it be reduced to the point where it can fit into the narrow space of a box, without losing its evocative energy? What material should be used to render the particular patina, the impact of time? And above all, how to remain faithful to the spirit of these masks, and not risk betraying them, perhaps once too often?
All these questions became riddles wrapped in enigmas as the project progressed. From the initial idea to its realization, great effort was expended, and many unsuccessful attempts were made. And then, at the end of this long road, came the solution thanks to the sweat and passion that Pierre Salanitro and his team put into this project.
Throughout this journey, Pierre patiently questioned the work, pushed ever the research further, imagining new techniques, blending tradition and advanced technology, in a collaborative process, continually pressing onward as he was rarely satisfied with the first result.
The initial challenge was to succeed in faithfully reproducing the mask in miniature. A first model was made in resin on the workshop’s 3D printer. Then followed a life-size model before launching into a final version in gilt silver, a material also known by its French term, vermeil.
For the Warrior, the first piece in the mask collection, the technique chosen was that of a channel setting coupled with engraving. The stones are held by claws shaped with the finest chisel. The edges, cut back to visually free up the stone, are raised or lowered towards the base, a technique Salanitro’s teams master to perfection.
Once the prototype has been defined and the first model generated, the engraver is able to exercise all their art, subtly working the reliefs, the bumps and the hollows, chiseling the asperities, in order to reproduce all the effects of the material. It takes all the savoir-faire of the master craftsperson to render the contours of the openworked face, giving it an ultra-contemporary yet timeless expression.
Engraving holds a particular charm. It consists in bringing a scene, a pattern to life by cutting into the material to obtain a play of reliefs and untouched areas, and emphasize aspects of the artistic creation.
Here, the engraver reinterprets the history and the theme of war with the help of their chisels, attentive to the constraints of geometry and symmetry that leave no room for error. A millimeter too far, too deep or not enough, and the work is no longer in balance.
From the outset, Pierre Salanitro’s intention was clear: the mask collection is to be resolutely contemporary, a foundational creation of S by Salanitro, to befirmly anchored in the brand’s DNA.
As to the material: gilt silver is an alliance of materials, also known under its French name – vermeil. An emblematic choice, as in France, the ‘vermeil’ anniversary stands for the 45-year mark of a marriage. A material, thus, that evokes a lasting bond for a collection whose goal is to defy time.
The Warrior by S by Salanitro comprises 214 white diamonds and 2 rubies, one on the forehead and one on the chin – two luminous points that refer to the divine aspect of the face.
Adorning an object with precious stones and diamonds is not simply a final act to increase the value of an object, it is from the very beginning an integral part of the conception behind object, ultimately dictating its shape.
Each mask comes in a black presentation case created by the best sheath makers in Geneva. A mount is included, allowing the mask to be displayed on a wall. The mask can also be presented in its open box, as in a bespoke showcase, adding a tasteful decorative touch to the owner’s interior.
As unique pieces in their life-size format, the masks in the collection evoke infinite diversity. Aztec, African, Japanese… all civilizations become a source of inspiration. Smaller models bearing the effigy of the larger ones will be produced in exclusive limited series.
On a parallel track with the production of a maximum of 25 masks per year by S by Salanitro, the brand’s founder, Pierre Salanitro, offers personalized creations as part of a truly bespoke experience. The choice of materials, gemstones, setting techniques (pavé, seed or pearl), the number of stones…everything is possible when savoir-faire enhances creativity.
Backgammon, between authenticity and modernity
The second object presented by the brand S by Salanitro is a backgammon set.
Mesopotamia, Egypt, Persia or India? The origins of this game may be mysterious, but it is as popular as ever. Legend has it that emissaries of a Hindu dynasty were sent to Persia with a chess set to test the latter people’s intellectual abilities.
Not only did the Persians figure out how to play the game, they sent the emissaries back with a game of their own – whose object and rules, the legend goes on to say, took twelve years to elucidate.
Backgammon was born! Very quickly, this game became popular in several countries under different names: diagramismos for the Greeks, tavla for the Turks, tablero in Spain, tavola reale in Italy, and tric-trac for the French, most probably because of the sounds produced by moving the stones quickly up and down the wedges, often hitting the wooden casing. It was the English who called it backgammon.
In addition to being a tactical game, some populations ascribe a symbolic and mystical character to it. Persian astrologers of the 3rd century BCE predicted the fate of rulers through backgammon. The board represents the sky, while the movements of the stars are reflected in the movements of the stones.
Several Roman emperors are said to have been great adepts: Claudius supposedly dedicated a book to it, Nero and Commodus have gambled away fortunes, Zeno is said to have written an epigram about his repeated failures at the game, and two murals in Pompeii depict scenes from the game. The spread of backgammon throughout Europe and the Middle East occurred simultaneously with the return from the Crusades in the 12th century. The game was very popular in aristocratic circles and was known as royal tables.
A thousand-year-old game of chance
Backgammon is a game of luck and strategy for two players, requiring each to roll a pair of dice to move their stones (or checkers) around a board according to a set of rules. The object is to get all the checkers in one place and then remove them from the board. The first to ‘bear out’ all of their checkers wins.
Backgammon is a footrace, a delicate balance between risk-taking and caution. The double preoccupation of advancing one’s checkers as quickly as possible, while slowing down the opponent’s progress, brings to the game this richness of attitudes and techniques, allowing intrepid players, as well as the cautious or calculating sort, to express themselves and take great pleasure in it. With each roll of the dice, players must choose from a variety of options to move their checkers, anticipate their opponent’s re-actions. Players can raise the stakes during the game. As in chess, there is a repertoire of basic tactics and openings.
The objective of a backgammon game is to get all your checkers off the board. At the beginning of the game, the checkers are placed on the board in a prescribed manner. They must be moved in a certain direction, according to the dice roll. On their way out, they may be blocked by the opponent’s pieces. Relaxation, concentration and self-confidence are all qualities that allow one to better manage the surge of adrenaline generated by your opponent’s game.
An Haute Couture backgammon set with black diamonds and blue sapphires
Synonymous with savoir-vivre, backgammon is both a tactical game and a pleasant pastime. Pierre Salanitro proposes a unique object, made from Swiss wood species and manufactured in an uncompromising Haute Couture spirit.
Backgammon is played on a board showing 24 arrows or wedges, also called points, of alternating colors. The alternating colors serve to facilitate counting when moving the checkers. Each of the two players has 15 checkers of a specific color that he moves from arrow to arrow according to the roll of two dice. The game board is made of leather and wood, both patinaed to offer the best quality of play. Opening this luxurious box reveals an incredible work of art.
Truly unique, this luxury backgammon with its elegant design and the exceptional quality of its materials is handcrafted in Switzerland by the best craftsmen, masters of their art, with the greatest attention to detail. For the finishing touch, Pierre Salanitro has availed himself of the best sheath makers and leather craftspeople.
Thirty checkers (15 in vibrant blue and 15 in anthracite) and two dice accompany the board, which is also made of noble materials. A third, larger die, called the cube, is a 6-sided die with the powers of 2, i.e. 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64. It is used to raise the stakes of the game in progress. At the beginning of each game, the cube is said to be in the center, i.e. equidistant from the two players, on the bar or on the side of the board; this means that the stake of the game is one point. As long as the cube remains in the center, each player can access it. To raise the stakes of a game, a player must wait for their turn and double before rolling the dice: the cube is presented to the opponent with the top side showing the value, starting with 2, and saying “I double” (depending on the language spoken).
The brand’s signature is in the detail: the checkers are set with black diamonds or blue sapphires along their periphery, as are the 24 points (the wedges) on the board. The dice cup, entirely finished in anthracite leather, bears the S by Salanitro logo; finally, the doubling cube is set with 137 black diamonds that make up the number on each side.
S by Salanitro plans to introduce 10 new backgammon sets per year; naturally the bespoke service will be available to the discerning particular wish. A personality is defined by the objects it collects and there is no doubt that this precious object is an exceptional gift, one to be passed down to future generations.
The Mirror, reflection of the soul
The third object presented by the new brand S by Salanitro is a mirror created in collaboration with renowned interior architect and designer Aline Erbeia, a long-time friend of Pierre Salanitro.
Aline Erbeia has always nurtured a creative fire. Full of imagination and enthusiasm, drawing has been her main means of expression since childhood.
A pure Genevan, Aline studied interior architecture and design in London and Milan where she had the privilege of studying with many prestigious professors. These stimulating experiences enabled her to develop her passion and her conceptual spirit.
Aline Erbeia opened her creative studio in 2009 and immediately had the opportunity to realize various projects in Geneva as well as abroad. They would reinforce her conviction that improving the immediate surroundings contributes to improving quality of life.
“For me, it is absolutely essential to make our home and our workplace an ideal space for making us happy, a true anchor point, a place to recharge, to find a balance, but also place that inspires and stimulates because our home is a reflection of who we are. As such it must be considered as an extension of ourselves and our selves,” confides Aline Erbeia.
The conceptual layout and decoration, the search for the best atmosphere, furniture design and lighting allow her to live her passion to the fullest. She especially appreciates the possibility of conceiving architecture on the intimate scale of daily life, playing with spaces, light, and colors in order to create moods that reflect her clients, their personalities, and their desires.
With her brand The Precious Energy, this young dynamic woman creates personalized art and decorative objects, such as mirrors, made of crystals and stones with beneficial and soothing properties.
From first sketch to final product, and with an infinite choice of materials in-between, she combines serenity and aestheticism. What could be more natural than to join S by Salanitro and, together, design truly exceptional objects?
Pierre Salanitro and Aline Erbeia are long-time friends. “The moment we began talking about a potential collaboration, we knew it was a natural fit. Our passions and professions are complementary: inspiration, direction, realization, we work together in close concert and are on the same wavelength creatively,” says Pierre.
Symbol of truth, the mirror invites to discover the hidden meaning of things
The first collaboration between S by Salanitro and Aline Erbeia would of course be a mirror. With its reflective surface, the mirror is charged with rich, complex and ambivalent symbolism. As a gateway between the world of seeing and the world of being, the mirror both is both fascinating and disconcerting. It returns our own image, one that can be either faithful, illusory or unexpected. It exposes, without judgment, the qualities and imperfections of the beholder.
The symbol of wisdom and knowledge, the mirror is associated with magic and divination in various legends and in different traditions. Often, mirrors speak and tell the truth, as for example that of the evil queen in Snow White (a well-known tale by the Brothers Grimm based on a Germanic myth, 1812).
In inviting us to discover the hidden meaning of things, the mirror also reflects our spiritual progress, the state of our consciousness.
Only the noblest of materials
The mirror presented by S by Salanitro is mounted on lacquered wood and the art is composed of 1,277 precious and semi-precious stones. Their arrangement represents a skull and crossbones, a universal motif of deep and diverse meaning.
350 hours of meticulous work went into positioning each stone on the reflective surface. Each is bonded to the mirror with an advanced adhesive, a polymer-based agent that is stronger, more flexible and more impact resistant than any other form of adhesive.
The artwork is spectacular, consisting of 24 different types of gemstones, each with a special meaning:
- Malachite (22), the stone of introspection, said to absorb negative, toxic energies
- Black and pink rhodonite (8), the stone of compassion that reinforces self-esteem after a trauma
- Red jasper (130), the stone of regeneration symbolizing stability and strength in everyday life
- Unakite jasper (2), the stone of well-being which encourages reunion, peace and facilitates rebirth
- Red tiger’s eye (14), the stone of passion and stimulation that helps to undertake great projects with energy and enthusiasm
- Rhodonite (11), the stone of love for maintaining energy and concentration throughout the day
- Rose quartz (168), the stone of love, which conveys peace, love and friendship
- Tiger’s eye (33), the stone of protection which promotes perseverance and protects from evil
- Fluorite (52), the stone of appeasement, which brings intellectual clarity and ease of concentration, whilst abating disorder and instability
- Amethyst (149), the stone of wisdom that brings temperance and balances excesses of all kinds
- Red agate (32), the stone of strength which prolongs longevity
- Black obsidian (143), the stone of power and protection, strongly connected to Earth and nature
- Flower agate (9), the stone of growth and manifestation, the bridge between our emotions and reality, leading us on the path of self-fulfillment
- Chrysocolla (32), the stone of communication, encouraging calm, peace and tranquility
- Green aventurine (37), the stone of introspection, for prosperity and protection
- Lapis lazuli (103), the stone of comfort that brings renewed confidence and encourages one to take control of one’s life
- Lilac lepidolite (41), the stone of transition, symbol of serenity and self-confidence
- Red leopard skin (2), the stone of regeneration which brings peace and serenity in times of stress
- Sodalite (6), the stone of truth that brings order and calm to the mind
- Blue chalcedony (134), the stone of the speaker, which favors brotherly love and good will
- Strawberry quartz (76), the stone of love, which benefits your life in general
- Amazonite (49), the stone of harmony which relaxes and calms the body
- Labradorite (2), the stone of transformation and change, which sharpens intuition
- Quartz (20), the stone that brings a multitude of health benefits
The mirror speaks to us and sends us messages of peace, serenity and harmony through the stones that compose it. Of generous dimensions (120 x 16 cm), the object is designed to sublimate the wall, be it in a high-ceilinged townhouse or an ultramodern villa, because it adapts to all interiors. Ultra-contemporary, it brings as much life as it reflects.
A hymn to life
With this first mirror, S by Salanitro offers us an exquisite object inspired by Mexican skulls known as calaveras. These human skulls are linked to the Festival of the Dead celebrated every year on November 1st and 2nd. During this celebration, they are used as a ritualistic, decorative element.
Far from macabre, the festival invites Mexicans to remember their dead with festive meals and activities such as building altars: in Mexico, the dead also have their own special day to be celebrated just like the living. While Mexican skulls might seem menacing, they actually represent happiness in the afterlife. The Day of the Dead is usually a huge, boisterous and colorful party, full of flowers and food, celebrating life and immortalizing in a joyful spirit those who have left this world.
Consistent with all creations presented by S by Salanitro, personalization is naturally available here as well. Size, shape, color, number of stones… Every aspect can be made bespoke to give an even more exceptional character to an already extraordinary object. Choice is limited only by the imagination of the owner-to-be, who becomes the guardian of a truly unique creation.
S by Salanitro plans to present 10 new mirrors inspired by different cultures each year.
If today S by Salanitro is born with three exceptional objects in its cradle, they are but a preview of the creative horizons Pierre Salanitro and his brand are set to explore. Be prepared for objects from all cultures around the world, but also everyday objects, made precious by the inspiration of S by Salanitro – there are no limits to innovation and creativity!
About S by Salanitro
Creativity, innovation and excellence at work: S by Salanitro is a brand that sets itself apart by creating exceptional objects, designing and producing unexpected products with a strong and unique identity in the luxury world. Born from a keen aesthetic and cultural sensitivity, a deep knowledge of materials and precious stones and an exceptional savoir-faire in the Métiers d’Art of jewelry creation in the domain of Haute Horlogerie, S by Salanitro is a Swiss brand based in Geneva created by Pierre Salanitro that aims to surprise through dazzling and original creations. With each object, the teams put all their knowledge and virtuosity at the service of an exceptional final product, corresponding to the highest standards of connoisseurs and lovers of rare refinements. Initiating ambitious projects, sometimes through prestigious collaborations, each creation combines several skills to give birth to a dazzling work of art blending technical prowess, age-old mastery and contemporary inspiration. While fine watchmaking is the original core business of its founder, S by Salanitro sets out to new horizons, driven by his passion for unique and precious objects, an unquenchable source of emotion.