Thursday, March 22, 2012

Sculpting Timepieces by French Artist André Chéca

André Chéca - Christophe Claret Movement - 2009
Although I haven't heard much from André Chéca since 2009, his watch designs are still raising an eyebrow or two.  As time moves on and new timepieces flood the market, André Chéca's designs remain conspicuous in their uniqueness.  As to their aesthetics, I feel no necessity for justification. Beauty is a personal perception.

My favorite timepiece is the  2009 furry green rock watch which looks like it has grown in an exotic garden rather than crafted in a workshop. But this watch is not a mere novelty with a cheap movement, on the contrary, the watch is actually of exceptional watch making quality and design utilizing first class materials.  The movement is the work of a highly regarded watchmaker – Christophe Claret.  The beautiful skeletonized dial incorporates a tourbillon requiring great watch making expertise. The inner bezel is paved with exquisite high quality hand picked diamonds. The green mossy looking watch case is oxidized bronze and the strap is green dyed mink fur. The watch - a unique piece - was displayed at 2009's Belles Montres.

Romain Jerome Titanic and Moon Series 2009
 Basel World 2009, Romain Jerome unveiled a curious looking timepiece  designed by André Chéca.  The timepiece was part of a new Titanic and Moon series which used unconventional materials to create one of a kind timepieces incorporating unique materials.  This timepiece actually comprises of salvaged oxidized steel from the Titanic as a material for some of the watch components.  The watch represents a battered artifact lodged at the bottom of the ocean discovered centuries later surrounded by remnants of a ship wreck.  Looking at this watch, one could imagine it recovered from a chest resting on the bottom of the ocean. The case is bronze André Chéca - This watch has Yvan Arpa of Artya written all over it - and indeed back in 2008, Yvan Arpa was the CEO of Romain Jerome. 

André Chéca Belles Montres 2008
André Chéca Kaar Ours 2009
In 2008, an André Chéca creation was unveiled at the Belles Montres international watch fair in Paris. The watch has André Chéca’s signature  beaten bezel, creating a look of decedent chocolate covered in gold foil paper.   The hands are overly bold pointing to large numbers beneath which the dial is decorated with a remarkable fish net pattern.

In the last watch - The Kaar Ours, André Chéca creates a timepiece, which seems to resemble the crude stone instruments used by cave dwellers in a by gone era or an ancient tablet. The “sculpture of time” is a  bronze casing which protects a hand chiseled movement visible via a sapphire crystal case back. The band is gulachet or stingray skin.  The movement is not set in stone, and is visible via a Sapphire crystal case back.

André Chéca (Born May 23rd, 1951)  studied the art of watchmaking at the Ecole d’Horlogerie de Marseille (1967-1970) graduating first in his class. He learned the art of engraving by hand. He sees his work as pieces of art, which serves the function of displaying the time. 

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