Luxury watchmaker Christopher Ward is a British-based company that utilises the finest in Swiss precision and manufacturing. In keeping with the time/heritage-theme of this issue, they wanted to see how an artist would respond to the intricacy and detailed mechanism of their C9 – 5 Day Automatic watch. So, here, Day-z considers, in both words and drawings, the traditional watch in the modern day.
To the average Joe, at first glance this is just an ordinary watch, a mechanical device used to tell the time. I am no fine watch expert, so I guess my first question is about the relevance of the traditional wristwatch as we enter the era of wearable tech and smart watches, and whether ‘old-style’ watches will continue to be desirable.
Although wristwatches were worn almost exclusively by women until the early 20th century (while men tended to use pocket-watches), nowadays it is men who constitute the main demographic of the market, with wristwatches worn as displays of wealth, status and taste. Certainly, when I slipped the C9 – 5 Day Automatic watch on, and then wore it for a while, it made me feel empowered. As I clicked down the strap and looked at my wrist I immediately felt I belonged to a clandestine community of specialists who, on seeing my wrist, might say, “that’s a woman who knows what she wants.” I felt this more than I would with a more obvious item of ‘bling’ jewellery. It was like I could show off intelligence, opulence and style, but in a sophisticated and modest way, which is, of course, a characteristic British trait in itself – to be almost apologetic for any accomplishment.
The first thing that stood out to me was the C9 – 5 Day Automatic’s understated beauty. The mechanics, the intricacies, and the way they all fit together with a stylish subtlety, instantly made me appreciate the craftsmanship involved. In a way, it reminded me of painstakingly perfecting the details in a pencil drawing with subtle strokes that culminate to produce an image with an impact while revealing the evidence of it’s making. It is the craftsmanship or, in my case, craftwomanship, that truly interests me, the acute knowledge of a particular subject or object and its creation.
However, for me, the drawing I wanted to make was of the back of the watch. As I stared into the intricate miniature mechanics ticking and turning within the ornate skeleton case, I could hardly believe they were all functional: they looked more like flickering jewels. The mechanism’s hypnotic movements – like watching a pendulum swinging to and fro – transfixed me. That’s why I drew the watch as though it was hanging before your eyes; slowly entrancing you the longer you gaze at it.
I think as long as people continue to push the boundaries with their expertise in their craft, both in terms of design and functionality, then these watches will continue to stand the test of time.