A tsuba is the hand guard of a traditional Japanese sword. “These eventually became elaborate pieces of art – far beyond their practical use,” says engraver Kees Engelbarts, whose fascination with Japanese handcrafts led him to use the Japanese metal alloying technique called mokume gane as the first one in watchmaking. It has now also led him to dedicate a watch to the tsuba theme, inspired in particular by a piece by Japanese swordsmith Hamano Masanobu.
While you hear very often that watches are “mechanical art,” in this case the overused description makes sense: here mechanical art (Benzinger’s unique movement embellishment) meets conventional art in the form of the dial embellished with an oil-on-canvas painting by French painter Léon Zanella.
Over the last 12 months we have published an unusually high number of articles about drummers, the timekeepers in nearly every musical band or group. Actually, it kind of stands to reason that drummers would particularly like watches – even if they can’t (or shouldn’t!) wear them while playing – as both fields have extreme time-keeping functionality.
A visit to Dallas, Texas gifted me with a surprise: I came across a very large painting simply entitled ‘Watch’ at the Dallas Museum of Art. Further inquiry into its painter, Gerald Murphy, revealed a fun historical anecdote and a bit of a mystery. Why did Murphy paint a giant Cubist impression of two watches in 1925, and which watches were they?
I have been involved in the watch world for 26 years; my first visit to Baselworld was in 1991. The massive fair halls have undergone two major reconstructive changes during this long period, in addition to several smaller updates. The last major reconstruction was finished in 2013. In no way, though, was I prepared for how the complex looks and feels when Art Basel is on compared to how I know it during the hustle and bustle of Baselworld.
“It’s a tent,” Audemars Piguet CEO François-Henry Bennahmias jokingly explained during Art Basel at the opening of Robin Meier’s installation “Synchronicity,” pointing to the large, soft structure barely discernible behind him in the dark room. It did indeed look like a tent. A tent encompassing the most unusual type of art installation I had ever seen. Welcome to the world of synchronous firefly flashes and grasshopper chirps in the name of art.
Auction house Sotheby’s will stage an auction in New York on June 11, 2015 featuring items from a private collection of musical automata within its sale of important watches. The auction pieces, mainly made for export to royalty throughout Europe, Turkey, India, and China, are headed up by a singing bird scent flask made by Pierre Jaquet-Droz in 1785.
The long-awaited recent release of the ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ trailer delights me to no end (it is also nice to see that Ben Affleck might actually turn out be a decent Batman; the few seconds of him in the trailer were shockingly good in my opinion). Without further ado, I’d like to call to memory a few timepieces that have commemorated Batman in recent history by Jaeger-LeCoultre, Romain Jerome, and Montegrappa.
Many have heard of the famous Fabergé eggs. But why are they so famous? The answer surely lies in where the eggs came from (and, no, they didn’t come from the Easter bunny). Celebrating its “rebirth” at Baselworld 2015, Fabergé introduced the first egg of the new era as a unique pieceand is calling the incredible Pearl Egg “the first egg created in the ‘imperial class’ since 1917.”
Manufacture Royale’s most controversial, and undoubtedly most incredible, piece is the highly complicated Opera, which features a minute repeater, tourbillon, and, most anachronistically, a hinged telescoping case. Basically, it’s big, it’s bold, and it rocks. And like the opera (theater), the Opera (watch) is not for everybody. But those that like it love it. I love it.