This past year made (some) things quite simple: stay at my desk and work. One fact from 2020 was that being shut away from each other did not dim the watch community’s enthusiasm, or the industry’s output. Over the past tumultuous twelve months my own output was tried and tested, but I am very satisfied looking at the results. This year saw more illustrations and more use of colour than ever before. Many images went beyond depictions of solitary watches, transforming them into complex machines in diverse environments. I hope you will enjoy the selection of highlights below.
The year began with this depiction of the Greubel Forsey Signature 1 done in the style of a Poya cutout. The distinct architecture of the Signature 1 made it a perfect setting to show the traditional Alpine custom of the alpaufzug where cattle are brought to graze on pastures at higher elevations. While the illustration uses black marker on white paper, I made sure that it would be possible to create the same image as a true Poya cutout using cutting tools and black paper.
Before COVID-19 locked down the world, I was asked to create a poster for the second RedBar Global Meetup. This year it was to take place in London and promised to be a very exciting weekend. I used a photo of a vintage IWC Mark XI taken by Atom Moore as a reference, and transformed it into a pub typical of the London GTGs. Unfortunately but unsurprisingly the in-person event was postponed however Kathleen and the team put on a great virtual event. You can read and see more about it here.
Without a doubt the most ambitious drawings this year were the MING teaser illustrations. I provided three illustrations each for the launches of the 27.01, the 18.01 H41, and the MING 2020 concept set. Like the quartet of illustrations I drew for the brand last year, I tapped into classic sci-fi aesthetics for these teasers. Each subsequent launch provided new themes and challenges, but they paved the way for many subsequent illustrations. I am happy to report that there will be more MING drawings for 2021. You can see all the teasers on the MING Instagram page.
A 1016 in front of the Matterhorn, what else is there to say.
The Ochs und junior Moon phase is a highly customisable, highly accurate moon phase watch depicted here as a giant and perhaps ancient machine hidden in a vast jungle. This drawing holds a special place for me as it provided an opportunity to learn from one of my favourite illustrators: Mœbius (Jean Giraud).
Most of the watches in this highlight list have been transformed or transported to foreign scenarios in some way, however there are a few that simply shine as they are. This is the case with a piece from a young watchmaker, Remy Cools. Mr Cools’ debut watch is the Tourbillon souscription, a stunning example of old meeting new. It was a pleasure to draw this piece and like many in the watch community, I will be following Mr Cools’ future work with enthusiastic attention.
Sooner or later this list had to include a Speedmaster drawing. This one was made once I had gotten a handle on drawing planets after the MING 27.01 launch. The illustration riffs on Ed White performing the first American spacewalk including the detail of his lost glove.
Taking things in a more interstellar direction from the Ed White, this illustration was my take on the Czapek & Cie Orion Nebula, a special edition in their Antarctique collection. The unique hand varnished dial makes up the nebula backdrop while the spaceship is made from Czapek’s Calibre SXH5, a micro rotor movement with dark angular bridges. This illustration required the use and combination of some new colours, and capturing the soft shapes of the nebula was a massive challenge, but it is hard to get any reward without first taking a risk.
You can find many more of 2020’s commissioned illustrations in the highlights section on my Instagram profile.