Watchmaking at the highest levels requires the passion and creativity of an artist along with the desire to do something more. Much like the philanthropist who funds a personal vision or belief for what it can become, watchmakers motivate themselves and their clientele to pursue a greater purpose. This creative energy culminates in some spectacular timepieces that push the traditional boundaries of design. Sometimes the finest expression of time well spent is manifested in the art that is created.
Metiers d’Art “Wave” by Blancpain
This watch is truly a work of philanthropic art on several different levels. The depiction of the “Great Wave” is inspired by a Japanese woodblock print by the artist Hokusai. It is engraved onto white gold which is then treated by a technique called rokusho patina, whereby the engraving is placed in rokusho salts which provide a certain treatment to the metal. That engraving is then placed on Mexican silver obsidian which is a volcanic rock with a plethora of shades and color tones. In addition to the multi-level creation techniques, Blancpain has a history of funding the study and exploration of the oceans around the globe.
Feldmar Watch Company, Los Angeles
Celebration Skull by Fiona Kruger
Inspired by the “Day of the Dead” holiday, this is one of the most colorful and unique timepieces that could adorn one’s wrist. The skull-shaped case houses a three-layer dial that displays the time and date along with an artistic array of bright colors that soften the tone of the piece. A yellow leather band adds to the whimsical nature of the watch, but the exhibition case back along with the visible motion of the movement signifies that this is a truly sophisticated timepiece. The outline of the skull’s exterior, ears, nose, and mouth are coated in superluminova, creating quite a surprise when the lights are extinguished.
Reverso Classic Medium by Jaeger-LeCoultre
JLC continues to fund and support many causes as a brand. One of its current endeavors is the restoration and preservation of the Scuola Grande di San Rocco in Venice. By simply drawing a heart of any size or shape in their digital guestbook located in Venice, the company makes a donation to the restoration efforts of this incredible structure and the collection of paintings that it houses. The brand’s most iconic watch is the Reverso Classic, which is currently on display with a hand engraved heart adorning the reverse side of the caseback. JLC’s custom engraving program is the finest in the industry and the Reverso case is the perfect canvas for expressing nearly anything you can imagine.
Polacheck’s Jewelers, Calabasas
Pershing Samba Madeira by Parmigiani
Using a centuries-old wood making technique called marquetry, Parmigiani has focused on creating an artistic tribute to the guitar and Brazilian samba music. The dial consists of hundreds of hand carved, painted wood pieces which display a guitar adorned with the colors of Brazil. The sound hole of the guitar is actually the watch’s rotating tourbillon cage, giving the impression that the guitar is always playing. The hand wound movement is housed in a titanium case with an 18ct rose gold bezel that perfectly contrasts with the gorgeous blend of navy blue, green, and yellow accents representing the colors of Brazil.
David Orgell, Beverly Hills
RM 68-01 Tourbillon Kongo by Richard Mille
In one of the truly unique brand ambassador partnerships in any industry, French graffiti artist Cyril Kongo has teamed up with Richard Mille to produce thirty completely distinctive timepieces. Each one is hand-painted by the world famous graffiti artist, whose work has elevated the genre to new heights. Tiny spray painting tools were created specifically for the task, so that he could apply his vision and techniques to even the smallest microscopic sections of the watch. The movement’s baseplate and bridges each have their own color schemes depicting the wild brushstrokes and splashed paint reminiscent of the street art genre.
Richard Mille, Beverly Hills