If you ask us, we wholeheartedly believe there has been a new genre of art forming over the past twenty years within the very exclusive world of independent horology. That said, it's more about motion and machines as the medium but nevertheless, there are some important collaborations that have occurred with watch brands and famous artists & illustrators. Here are a few highlights...
Ikepod produced a few artist series. The first with Jeff Koons (above left), 'Cannonball' Edition, produced in a very limited edition with their now iconic look by famed designer Marc Newson. On the right is their unique collaboration of the Ikepod Horizon with graffiti artist turned painter. sculptor. designer KAWS.
Movado produced an custom series a few years back with artist Kenny Scharf. Scharf took the iconic Nathan George Horwitt-designed, Bauhaus-inspired Museum Watch and illustrated the dials with his signature aesthetic. There are six watches in all that were produced in extremely limited runs.
Op-Art pioneer Victor Vasarely designed a seemingly large variety of watches with Bulova in the 80's called the 'Artist's Watch.' Produced in limited editions, the watches featured the forced perspectives of two dimension transforming into three.
"During the 1960’s and 70’s his optical images became part of the popular culture, having a deep impact on architecture, computer science, fashion, and the way we now look at things in general. Even though he achieved great fame he insisted on making his art accessible to everyone. His motto was “Art for all”. The breakthrough brought by his “kinetic” visual experiments transformed the flat surface into a world of unending possibilities, book marking an era in the history of art and foreshadowing a new global reality shaped by programming and the Internet itself". via Vasarely.com
Time your fifteen minutes of fame with the "Times5 Watch" by Andy Warhol for Movado (above). Only 250 were made and feature five separate watches as links in one bracelet. The dials show pictures of skyscrapers in New York City, taken originally by Andy Warhol back in the 80s. Blackened steel cases, Swiss ETA Calibres, red hands. Saphire crystals, case back signed and numbered by Andy Warhol. Originally sold in 1987 and showing up occasionally at watch auctions around the world in the tens of thousands.
Got more than a million dollars to spare for a watch? Either way, check out the Greubel Forsey Art Piece 1, an artistic co-creation by watchmaking team of Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey with sculptor Willard Wigan. The first watch to feature a nano-sculpture by Wigan set into a dedicated gallery seen through a miniature microscope set into the watch.
Willard Wigan’s sculpture in Art Piece 1 is complemented by a sublime 30° inclined double tourbillion. When Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey first encountered Willard Wigan’s nano-sculpture installations in the eye of a needle or on the head of a pin, they found that they shared the same language of the ‘miniaturist’. (see Wigan's Golden Harley below)
One of the most amazing aspects of Wigan's method requires him to "enter a meditative state in which his heartbeat is slowed, allowing him to reduce hand tremors and sculpt between pulse beats. Even the reverberation caused by outside traffic can affect Willard’s work. Consequently, he often works through the night when there is minimal disruption". via WillardWigan.
"The Golden Harley" by Willard Wigan (above)
Last but not least, a collection of limited edition artist series from London watchmaker Mr. Jones Watches who teams up with artists, illustrators and designers of all types. They create kinetic timepieces that equally showcase tongue in cheek humor to harsh realities of life to profound concepts that are quite poetic. Some collections can be as limited to 30 pieces assembled in London to editions of 100. All of these and more can be seen at the Mr. Jones Watch Collection at Watches.com
Know of any artist series watches we should include for Part II of this feature, contact us!