Artists have been inspired by the sky since the dawn of time; from the clouds and birds soaring, to human ascent and even the outer reaches of what we know—and can further imagine. Gravity-defying limitlessness propels the imagination, and it's no different within the watch world. The following three pieces seen at Baselworld 2014 pay homage to that which exists above. Whether it's using a feather or Boeing metal, these beautiful creations deliver more than just time. They're a glimpse at something up, up and away but kept firmly on the wrist.
Corum: Heritage Artisans Feather Watch
Plumasserie (better known as feather art) requires tremendous patience, care and a masterful hand. With Swiss watchmaker Corum's two new Heritage Artisans Feather Watch limited editions, a peacock feather setting dazzles on the dial. Each feather is hand-selected, cleaned, steam-stabilized and re-cut. It's then placed atop the brass dial and glued and, in one version, framed by 120 round-cut diamonds. The overall watch shape is a throwback to the brand's '70s editions, but the plumage within conveys more than past grandeur. It's a very rare experience to see a peacock in flight; equally rare are the skill-sets required to compose these exquisite automatic timepieces.
Bremont: Boeing Model 247
The two versions of British luxury watch brand Bremont's Boeing series are the direct result of extensive access and research within the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) in Sheffield, UK—the aerospace company’s material and manufacturing technology center. Both models are graced with airplane inspired detail work, from the crown and dial to the seconds hand. The Bremont Boeing Model 247 (the collaboration's chronograph model) was named after the first Boeing twin-engine commercial aircraft and showcase two subdials; further reflecting this inspiration. However, it's the materials that demonstrate the most flight-inspired innovation. Each watch comes in iterations crafted from Boeing aviation-grade titanium—durable, light and fit for an airplane. With this Boeing partnership, Bremont has taken watchmaking into the stratosphere.
Jacob & Co.: Astronomia Tourbillon
A few months after sharing our admiration for watches inspired by the solar system, Jacob & Co. has debuted a prototype for their wildly inventive Astronomia Tourbillon, of which just nine will be made. The watch features a three-axis tourbillon balanced opposite a skeletonized dial, further in opposition to a detailed globe next to a one-carat diamond representing the sun. This cross-like complication circles the center of the watch. Ever in movement, it sits atop a dark blue aventurine and rose gold case, giving a sparkling vision of the night sky. It's as far out as you can go in the experimental watch-making world, and appropriately draws influence from reaches of our surrounding skies.
Additional reporting by Evan Orensten, images courtesy of respective brands