Whimsy, pointlessness, playfulness: these are not adjectives one frequently hears used to describe haute horlogerie.
And yet these words accurately describe many watches or timekeepers worked throughout the long term. Since the start of horology, watch and clockmakers have been designing and making mechanisms displaying a less-than-genuine side, giving an outlet to their creativity and creating a feeling of playfulness.
It began with automatons; mechanisms designed to mirror living things or carry out foreordained coded guidelines. Probably the most famous examples were convoluted to such an extent that they looked like kids and composed with plume and pad (see Jaquet Droz’s Signing Machine: The Evolution Of Traditional Automata ).
Others resembled animals and copied biological cycles like assimilation. Seriously.
As time advanced, the mechanisms became smaller and were integrated into pocket watches and eventually wristwatches, all while expanding in extension and creativity. With current watches and the opportunity to create much more incredible and complex mechanisms, it is nothing unexpected that the practice of making whimsical watches is as solid as ever.
I personally appreciate a watch that, instead of zeroing in on chronometry or mechanical exceptionality, centers around creating an amusing and upbeat experience for the wearer. There are many great examples, with certain brands showing solid inclinations to create such pieces.
So here are a couple of my favorite whimsical timepieces.
Watches that move fantasy and romance
There are claims made by brands each year that their watches aimed at ladies are objects of desire and can transform the wearing time into a period of grand romance. While this may be valid for a few, it usually comes down to a marketing strategy designed to impact people to treat themselves to something special.
But at times a line of watches comes along that is for sure brimming with caprice and displays of romance. The best examples of these come from the Van Cleef & Arpels Poetic Complications collection, which utilizes a variety of strategies and decoration to create watches that move wonder.
Even their generally romantic and fantastic pieces combine images of Paris and darlings around evening time. The Poetic Wish, which comes in both dusk and 12 PM renditions, displays a man or woman gazing out over the city of Paris in search of love.
The woman watches a kite fly by at nightfall while standing near the Eiffel Tower (the kite is a retrograde hand that displays the minutes) and as the hours pass she gradually walks around. The man catches a brief look at a falling star (also the retrograde moment hand) while he walks around an extension at midnight.
These watches create an association across the city and a whimsical story for the wearers to notice. Will they meet? Will they discover genuine love?
The answer comes in the Lady Arpels Pont des Amoureux watch, which finds the two darlings meeting on a scaffold, the two figures acting as retrograde hour and moment hands as they inch nearer together under the moonlight.
Clearly the romance of the pieces will contact any who witness their mechanical beauty – or will at the least move them to look at the remainder of the playful choices in the Poetic Complications line like the Lady Arpels Ballerine Enchantée or the Lady Arpels Ronde des Papillons (see Whimsy And Fancy: Van Cleef & Arpels Lady Arpels Ronde Des Papillons ).
Watches that transform love into a game
Perhaps looking for genuine affection under the Parisian sky is a little excessively committed for you, and you are searching for something a smidgen more nervy and honest? Well Christophe Claret has you covered.
Claret has created watches for blameless love and flirtation based on the youth game “He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not.” The Christopher Claret Margot is an exceptionally complicated watch designed in view of a woman’s playfulness (see Christophe Claret In Bloom: Introducing Margot, His First Ladies Watch for more).
Using the press button at 2 o’clock the wearer can gradually “pluck” the petals off the mechanical daisy in the middle, each time randomly changing the outcome of the phrase on the lower part of the dial. He may cherish you a little, a ton, passionately, madly, or not in any way. Obviously everybody will cross their fingers that it is one of the initial four, however the game should stay consistent with fleeting youthful love.
If you are hesitant to take the danger that he probably won’t adore you at all, Claret offers Marguerite , which lets the purchaser modify a mysterious message that will be revealed distinctly at the press of a catch. The casual spectator is as yet able to appreciate the butterflies fluttering around the dial highlighting the minutes and hours.
But we as a whole realize that it’s still some of the time amusing to play the game, accordingly the rear of the watch has a simple yes or no variant of “He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not,” which can be played with the winding rotor and a little flick of the watch. Sparkling rubies on the rotor help to decide the answer.
Sometimes we like to seek nature for our fun and playfulness, especially since animals play openly with no day responsibilities to impede them. Jaquet Droz is a leading maker of nature-based mechanical eccentricity. With a solid history in automatons, Jaquet Droz is remarkably ready to give a brief look into the animal world. The best example of this is the incredible Bird Repeater.
Beside boasting a flawless sounding repeater, it features an automaton animation that accompanies the repeating mechanism displaying the avian realm in real life: two adult birds feed their young, with the youthful birds trilling and straining to get at the food. Abruptly an egg blasts open and a third baby bird joins the family. The animation genuinely creates a feeling of life, and the repeating mechanism lends music to the occasion. There is even a waterfall in the background showing the passing of seconds.
If you want a more realistic bird sound, there is always the Jaquet Droz Charming Bird , which utilizes an exceptionally fascinating arrangement of howls and crystal cylinders to make rather realistic bird chirps.
If birds aren’t your thing then Jaquet Droz can offer playful flora in the Lady 8 Flower , which features an animated bloom that opens up to reveal a dazzling diamond or ruby briolette. In the event that the refined elegance of Jaquet Droz isn’t your thing either, Richard Mille may present with its own variant of the sprouting bloom nestled inside a tourbillon.
The Richard Mille RM 19-02 Tourbillon Fleur is an exceptionally complicated mechanism featuring a magnolia blossom opening like clockwork, or on demand via a press button at 9 o’clock. The magnolia gradually opens and “blossoms” for ten seconds while the flying tourbillon underneath ascends to meet the daylight. The bloom stays open for ten seconds prior to taking another ten to close, all to start again five minutes later. It really features the cycles of nature, albeit on a significantly more compressed scale (see SIHH 2015 Photo Essay: Richard Mille ).
Movies, games, and something naughty. Gracious my!
Looking for something completely different?
Wonderboy watchmaker Konstantin Chaykin enters the fray with a fabulously fun film feature called the Cinema (see W hy Independent Russian Watchmaker Konstantin Chaykin Is A Movie Star ).
It makes for a playful addition to your wrist by featuring a 20-second miniature film based on a 1879 innovation called the zoopraxiscope by Eadweard Muybridge.
By squeezing a screen release button at 9 o’clock, a 12 frame-per-second animation of a galloping horse flashes to life. The integration of a particularly fun, non-time-related or watch-explicit mechanism is a fantastic way to make sure your watch isn’t mistaken as exhausting or predictable.
An stunningly better way to kick up the fun and caprice meter is to just add games to wristwatches. There are in excess of a couple of complicated watches that have had mechanical games added to them from any semblance of Azimuth, Franck Muller, and Girard Perregaux, however nobody can depose the ruler of watch games, Christophe Claret.
Creating watches featuring completely working casino games like poker, baccarat, blackjack, dice, and roulette (truly), Claret has clearly perceived that watches are objects to be appreciated and to move caprice. Having games constructed directly in is a virtuoso move (see Christophe Claret: Poker Face ).
If these are simply not restless enough, at that point maybe suggestive themed watches are suited to your tastes? Many brands and watchmakers have created provocative automatons in watches for at least the last couple hundreds of years. They usually feature carved figures engaging in passionate acts, mainly determined by a repeater mechanism. Not for the pretentious or faint of heart, these pieces are certainly playful and in excess of somewhat naughty. We’ll leave further disclosure of those up to individual discretion.
It isn’t astonishing when talking about mechanical creations proposed for play and pointlessness that clock automatons come into the image. The cuckoo clock is probably the best example from history of clockmakers creating a compellingly fun way to be alerted to the time.
Chiming timekeepers had been around for some time before somebody had the grand idea to add figures, however cuckoo clocks are probably the inception of time sensitive automatons utilized for indication or alarm. Their set of experiences goes all the way back to the early part of the seventeenth century with a solid time of creation through to the present day. People wherever love the whimsical nature of the cuckoo clock, and it has roused countless artists and designers for a large number of reasons.
The result is, obviously, that others made their own automatons and pushed the boundaries significantly further. Quite possibly the most spectastical examples was simply released by Parmigiani as the Fleurier Hippologia (see Equus Forma Mechanica: The Parmigiani Fleurier Hippologia ).
It comprises a pair of ponies, mother and foal, running and cantering around a Lalique cabinet lodging the automaton, clock development, and mechanical alarm. The two ponies move in various ways because of various gaits, making the design and development of the Hippologia mechanism significantly more complicated from the outset.
The designing and craftsmanship that went into the Hippologia is awesome, however the impact of watching the gracefully running ponies is totally satisfying and the ideal development of the whimsical automaton in a timepiece.
Too much caprice, is it possible?
How can I top such a culminating piece?
How about by showing you what happens when eccentricity gains out of power and you simply have excessively. I realize you are figuring, “How might you have a lot eccentricity?” It’s possible.
When designing and ambition meet, it very well may be something beautiful and marvels can be realized. Yet, when ambition overreaches the innovation by a little piece, great expectations can be raised and dashed all in the same conversation. A couple of years ago an incredible idea was acquainted with the Harry Winston Opus arrangement (see The Harry Winston Opus Series: A Complete Overview From Opus 1 Through Opus 13 ).
This arrangement always draws out the best in watchmakers, and this was the same for the Opus 11. Denis Giguet, designer of the Opus 11, created a development that overstepped the laws of physical science and maxed out the scale for whimsy.
The Harry Winston Opus 11 featured a detonating display that shattered and whirled in chaos prior to getting back to an organized display of the current time. It was greatly imagined and a joy to behold.
But it experienced one fatal flaw: it flew excessively near the sun in search of ultimate eccentricity. It looked to be the most whimsical and fun time display at any point created and it prevailing in those goals. In any case, the dream was only a little unattainable; designing and materials weren’t capable just yet.
The watch is as yet not yet underway as testing and refinement proceeds, a possible pause that may last a while. As new creation methods become available and the venture gets life breathed back into it, the Opus 11 will stand ready to become the most whimsical watch in presence, on the off chance that not by sheer awesomeness, by the power of steadiness and will behind it for these many years.
Whimsy and horology
It almost appears to be that with all these great examples and the huge number of pieces I haven’t examined that the idea of caprice and play is alive and well in the horological business. Most watch enthusiasts will probably still zero in on traditional horology avenues, however the individuals who see the prospects of triviality will keep on yearning for additional pieces like the ones discussed.
It really makes your day somewhat more brilliant to peer down at your wrist and have something mechanical whose lone goal is to make you smile or chuckle simply a little piece all the more consistently. Be it butterflies, blossoms, ponies, Parisian sweethearts, or miniaturized casino games, there is always a place for eccentricity in our lives, and now you know there are watches that can help you find it.
Stay whimsical, my friends.
This article was first distributed on August 28, 2016 at My Favorite Whimsical Watches – And Then Some .
You may also enjoy:
The Retrograde: One Of My Favorite Complications
Face Off: Arabic Numerals Vs. Roman Numerals, The (Roman) Empire Strikes Back
Which Rolex Movement Takes The Top Spot? A Watchmaker’s Comparison Of Rolex Calibers 3135 And 3235, And Which Is Better?
Watch Design: Originality, Similarity, Or Imitation?