S by Salanitro presents second precious mask collection

May 2024

S by Salanitro presents second precious mask collection

The latest series of emblematic masks brings the spotlight to three new countries: Japan, Gabon, and Indonesia. Each a contemporary reinterpretation, bewitching and fascinating in its symbolism, they dazzle with diamonds and coloured stones, showcasing technical prowess and artistic flair.


recious stones, coloured stones, grain settings, snow settings, baguette settings, invisible settings, refined decorations… With sophisticated techniques and peerless savoir-faire that sublimate the timepieces of the greatest watch brands, Salanitro today is an internationally recognised label of quality, confidence and creativity in the field of gem-set watches.

Its founder, Pierre Salanitro built a company in Geneva, Switzerland, combining artistic flair with the highest standards of craftsmanship. It is now a leader in its field, producing the finest and most exclusive watch and jewellery creations on offer at the world’s most prestigious retailers.

For over thirty years, Pierre Salanitro has consistently upheld the values of excellence in craftsmanship, respect for tradition and innovation, service and a sense of responsibility towards his customers, as well as independence and a family spirit. But above all, he is driven by a tireless desire to create, explore and push boundaries.

Characterised by the quality that best defines Pierre Salanitro, the S by Salanitro brand reflects his image: creative and innovative.

From the outset, S by Salanitro, the brand created in Geneva in 2013, has distinguished itself by imagining, designing and creating exceptional objects, and giving them a strong and singular identity in the world of luxury through a unique sparkle. Indeed, beyond the realm of horology, the sources of inspiration are infinite for achieving – and realising – a sparkle, shimmering, shining, incomparable lights depending on the object – and always outside watchmaking.

While haute horlogerie has traditionally been the founder’s original core business, S by Salanitro explores new horizons. Here, his passion for unique and precious objects as source of emotion is given free rein. Today, in 2023, he proudly presents the first collection, the fruit of a project that has matured over a period of three years – as a collection defined by rarity requires time to grow.

Among the objects that keep Pierre Salanitro wondering about unimagined possibilities is the mask. That is because the concept, the potential and the originality of the mask theme has always held a particular fascination for him, not least when it is envisaged as a work of art.

Here, each mask has its own name, identity and history. While the collection draws its inspiration from the masks of ancient civilisations, it is, from the outset, envisaged as resolutely contemporary – a modern reinterpretation of an ancestral object.

The mask, as an object, has always been mysteriously compelling. For it turns both towards the self and to the other, outward and inward. It allows for a constant oscillation between inside and outside. Both as projection and mirror, across ages, borders and cultures, it sparks universal questions about the mystery of birth, life and death, about the relationship between the world that is visible and the one that is invisible, between the human and the divine.

Pierre Salanitro’s vision was distinct from the outset: to unveil a mask collection that is thoroughly modern, embodying the essence of S by Salanitro. Embedding precious stones into an object goes beyond merely enhancing its value; it is a fundamental part of the object’s concept, affecting its appearance and shape, and ultimately defining its essence and character.

Regarding the material for the mask, silver gilt – gold-plated silver also known by the French word vermeil – was the natural choice. This decision is symbolic: in France, where this material was first created, the Noces de Vermeil marks 45 years of marriage longevity. What could be more fitting for a collection that aims to transcend time?

Following the inaugural Collection I of three masks presented in 2023, S by Salanitro turns its attention this year to three emblematic masks from Japan, Gabon, and Indonesia, respectively. Sublimated by the expertise of setters and engravers who combine technical mastery with artistic sensibility, each mask, crafted in vermeil, is brought to life with myriad diamonds and coloured stones.

Each piece measures approximately 20 cm in height and comes in a presentation box made by Geneva’s finest casemakers. The mask can also be displayed on the wall, thanks to the mount provided.

In Japan, the sacred fox wields mysterious magical powers. Tales and legends speak of its ability to take human form. Its polymorphic abilities are so profound that it can even transform itself into objects or other living beings. Its powers grow with age and wisdom.

An inseparable symbol of Japanese popular culture, the kitsune mask (狐) symbolises the fox god. A supernatural spirit, its origins trace back to the era of samurai warriors, geishas and ninjas. Enveloped in fantasy and mythology, and intertwined with numerous urban legends, the fox, alongside the torii gates, cherry blossoms, and the katana sword, stands as a quintessential symbol of Japanese culture. Given Japan’s incredibly rich history of masks, the existence of the kitsune mask as a tangible artifact holds a significance far beyond being merely a legendary object.

Connecting with the forces of the beyond in African lore… This S by Salanitro creation offers a contemporary reinterpretation of a mask from the Ngil secret society in Gabon, symbolising authority, power, and the purifying force of fire.

Recognisable by its heart-shaped face, exaggeratedly elongated with a bulging forehead and long, slender nose, the Fang society wore such a mask of justice as part of the ritual of identifying those guilty of witchcraft, among other things. Forming a militia, commissioned and funded by patrons, the society would move from village to village in response to unexplained deaths or suspicions of bewitchment. The ritual primarily aimed to intimidate villagers with bad intentions or those who secretly kept forbidden ‘fetishes,’ notably by having members wearing the mask surging out of the darkness at nightfall.

Marked by its heart-shaped face, dramatically elongated with a pronounced forehead and a slender, elongated nose, the Ngil mask was worn by the Fang society in a ritual to identify those ‘guilty’ of witchcraft, among other accusations. Operating as a militia, under the commission and financial support of patrons, they went from village to village, especially in cases of unexplained deaths or allegations of sorcery. The ritual’s intent was to instil fear in those harbouring malevolent intentions or secretly possessing prohibited ‘fetishes.’ This was achieved most strikingly by members donning the mask, emerging from the shadows at dusk.

That masks have a magical dimension is a trait observed in cultures around the world and across the ages. This is still true today, as seen with the famous mask from Barong theatre, a cornerstone of Balinese culture.

Barong, a creature born in Balinese mythology, is the lord of the forest and the leader of the Forces of Good. With immense spiritual power to ward off evil, Barong is a benevolent deity whom the Balinese invoke in times of trouble. The mask that represents this spirit is considered the most sacred in the island’s traditions. ’Barong’ also refers to one of Bali’s four iconic dances, which dramatises the eternal battle between Barong and his nemesis, Rangda. While Barong symbolises good, Rangda embodies evil, depicted as a demon queen and the incarnation of Calon Arang, a legendary witch who brought drought and epidemics to ancient Java during King Airlangga’s reign in the tenth century. When villagers attempted to confront her, she turned their attacks back upon them. It was at this critical juncture that Barong intervened, being the sole force capable of temporarily repelling her.