Art Piece 1 (2013)

Adore Gems & Timepieces - - FEA­TURE -

The first wrist­watch with in­te­grated mi­cro-sculp­ture

Price: More than US$1.5 mil­lion

Imag­ine a cre­ation so small that it can lit­er­ally pass through the eye of a nee­dle. Then pair it with Greubel Forsey’s iconic Dou­ble Tour­bil­lon 30°, an­other work of mi­crome­chan­ics with its one-minute cage in­clined at 30 de­grees ro­tat­ing within a sec­ond ex­te­rior four-minute cage. The re­sult is the one-of-a-kind Art Piece 1, a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween the in­de­pen­dent watch­maker and English artist, Wil­lard Wi­gan, who makes the world’s small­est sculp­tures. Known for mak­ing nano art un­der a mi­cro­scope, Wi­gan crafts scenes and fig­urines — ev­ery­thing from Cin­derella and the Statue of Lib­erty, to Michelan­gelo’s David — from gold, hair or di­a­monds in­side the eye of a nee­dle. His creations re­quire enor­mous amounts of time and are so small that he has learnt to con­trol his breath to sculpt be­tween his heart­beats. The Art Piece 1 in­cor­po­rates a built-in op­ti­cal­grade mi­cro­scope — the watch­maker’s most chal­leng­ing tech­ni­cal con­tri­bu­tion to this de­sign — which en­ables the owner to ad­mire Wi­gan’s tiny fig­ure mounted in­side: A three­masted sail­ing ship called Golden Sails, whose hull and sails were crafted from ex­tremely thinned gold. Up­ping the chal­lenge, the watch­maker also en­deav­oured to en­sure there would be enough nat­u­ral light fil­ter­ing through to view the art­work with­out ar­ti­fi­cial il­lu­mi­na­tion. With two small hands dis­creetly dis­play­ing the time be­hind a sil­vered shut­ter only when a pusher is pressed, the mo­ti­va­tion be­hind the watch is un­doubt­edly artis­tic.

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