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Month: November 2013

Six Small Words: Aesthetic

Aesthetic  /esˈTHetik/: Concerned with beauty or the appreciation of beauty.

There was, if I remember correctly**, a slightly disparaging statement that Dr George Daniels made about 19th and 20th Century Swiss movements in his book Watchmaking. His premise was that English “gentlemen” – the wearers of fine timepieces at that time – appreciated timekeeping over beauty. English movements were designed to keep good time and therefore there was, perhaps, no need to cover up their (technical) shortcomings with superfluous finissage.

However, finissage has now become synonymous with luxury or certainly with haute horology; the quality of the finish on a watch is almost directly proportional to the price (although this often seems to be on a log scale). A friend and watchmaker told me that, while discussing finishing on a recent visit to Switzerland, he heard of parts being beveled and polished by hand; they could only be considered suitable for inclusion in the watch if they were no visible defects under a 20x loupe. In effect, the watchmaker was asking for flawless work and one assumes that the price will be inline with the cost of flawless diamonds, i.e. astronomical.

Atom Heart Mother (Part Two of Two)

Earlier, I wrote about the innards of the Hoptroff No. 10 Atomic Pocket Watch; this post is about the dial and complications of the watch – the dark side of the moon**. Perhaps.

If you take a look at the photograph below, you might recognise the Space Travellers’ watch, which sold last year for £1,329,250. I’ve probably committed horological sacrilege by even comparing these two pocket watches, let alone over-laying them, but I think there are some very obvious likenesses between Dr Daniels’ 1982 meisterwerk and the Hoptroff No. 10. Obviously, they are both cased in gold and even share many of the same complications, but looking beyond the sidereal, past the moonphase, it’s the styling, the aesthetic that is so similar.