Looking at watches purely from the aspect of their purpose, they are meant to measure time. On the next level, when you think of them as a fashion item and accessory, they become a messenger of self-expression, matching your clothes or mood. As such, time pieces have taken various forms, colours and are ornamented in different ways.
Again one level higher, they are status symbols and design objects, where idea, exclusivity and rich decoration comes in various combinations. Gem stones and precious materials are often set on these pieces, raising not necessarily the moral, but the material value of the item.
Clearly, not every highly priced watch is artistically exceptional nor were watchmakers aiming for the technically impossible when designing and completing it, which is probably at the highest level on my list.
Having visited Aaron Becsei independent watchmaker in his workshop earlier this year I got thinking about the drive in these craftsmen to make something unique with their own two hands for years, and the drive in enthusiasts to wait years until their piece is born. It doesn’t have anything to do with rationalism; overused, but it is about passion.
Yet, I wanted to understand how an insider looks at a time piece. Therefore, I decided to sit once again next to Aaron at his workbench and listen to him explain.
In the following series of articles we will look under the dial with the loupe and see the details that are usually hidden from the eyes.
Watchmaking is an art, a mechanical art. And as a well known fact, art cannot be created with standardized production in factories. Of true pieces of art there are no series of hundreds and thousands on the market…
The independent watchmakers’ most essential work, which starts where mass production processes end: the hand finishing. In fine watchmaking even the most minute details should be perfectly finished, therefore Aaron usually works with magnifier.
Watchmakers of haute horlogerie are passionate about their pieces’ exquisite finishing. They put great attention to have the under-dial finishing as elaborated as the visible parts. The majority of the parts are hidden in the case, but a perfect watch starts and ends with perfect parts.
The cradle of fine watchmaking is Switzerland, no doubt. However, fine watchmaking is not about being Swiss but realizing that the real value of a timepiece is “hidden in the details”.
The articles of the series:
Uncomplicate complications – Entrée
Uncomplicate complications – Movements
Uncomplicate complications – Anglage
Uncomplicate complications – Geneva stripes
Uncomplicate complications – Finishing #1
Uncomplicate complications – Finishing #2
Uncomplicate complications – Tourbillon
Uncomplicate complications – Perpetual calendar
Uncomplicate complications – Power reserve indicator
Photo credits: Bexei.
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