Artful New Book Pre-Launches at Baselworld
Previewed to Great Acclaim
A book like this one has really never been seen before in the world of watchmaking: a non-commercial opus focusing on art on three fronts: the artistry of independent mechanical watchmaking with little or no commercial background, the artistry of creating an eminently enjoyable text with no marketing behind it, and the artistry of visuals created to express the rare stories of twelve unique watchmakers.
The atmospheric look and feel of 12 Faces of Time: Horological Virtuosos will delight both the reader of well-written, artistic books and the connoisseur of timepieces created by independent masters of timekeeping. This book is slated for release in the fall of 2009, but its pulsing energy is at this time already tangible in the horological world thanks in great part to a pre-launch party held on March 27 at Baselworld.
Leonid Khankin, owner and creative director of Swiss-American watch company Ernst Benz, threw the well-attended party to introduce his brand’s Instrument Series and simultaneously celebrate the high art of watchmaking as it is depicted in 12 Faces of Time: Horological Virtuosos. Khankin thus had the opportunity to honor some of his horological heroes while presenting them with the rare chance to step into the spotlight. Though the names of many of the watchmakers featured in 12 Faces of Time: Horological Virtuosos are spoken throughout the halls of Baselworld—and indeed the hills and valleys of Switzerland—with hushed reverence, these men rarely find the glamorous limelight they would be so deserving of with their handmade form of artistry. Khankin’s generous gesture allowed them not only interaction with the world’s elite watch press attending the party, but also the chance to preview 12 Faces of Time: Horological Virtuosos via video stream.
Sipping cocktails provided by Patrón tequila, seven of the book’s watchmakers in attendance spent the evening chatting with the press, inspecting Ernst Benz’s oversized pilot’s watches, and interacting with one another as they seldom get the chance to do. Philippe Dufour, Vianney Halter, Roger Smith, Kari Voutilainen, Felix Baumgartner, Beat Haldimann and Thomas Prescher visibly enjoyed the relaxed ambience and attention lavished upon them by the guests. The watchmakers featured in the book not able to make the evening were François-Paul Journe, Dr. Ludwig Oechslin, Paul Gerber, Volker Vyskocil, and Kenji Shiohara.
Embodying the animated yin-yang that is modern mechanical watchmaking, these twelve faces of time represent very different corners of the highest level of watchmaking: individual—and individualistic—styles of this timeless mechanical art. 12 Faces of Time: Horological Virtuosos will allow readers to see well-known horological figures such as François-Paul Journe, Vianney Halter, and Philippe Dufour as they’ve never been seen before and to gain unique insight into major independent horologists Kari Voutilainen, Felix Baumgartner, Thomas Prescher, Volker Vyskocil, Paul Gerber, Beat Haldimann, Roger Smith, and Dr. Ludwig Oechslin. Readers will certainly also enjoy learning about Kenji Shiohara, the innovator who founded a mini-department for high watchmaking within Japan’s gargantuan Seiko Corporation.
International watch journalist Elizabeth Doerr’s expertise and standing in the field of watchmaking is unique: over the course of a twenty-year career, she has written for magazines all over the world, authored and coauthored books on watches, been a member of several international juries, and is the senior editor of Wristwatch Annual, a yearly overview of mechanical watches.
Photographer Ralf Baumgarten has a varied repertoire of themes: his first book on the subject of watchmaking, UhrMenschen, received a Red Dot design award in 2005; in 2007 he spent time portraying a valley in Switzerland; and in 2008 he captured faces of camels in Dubai for a forthcoming desert-themed project. His artful photography has been featured in publications and exhibitions in a number of countries—the latter including La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland’s International Museum of Horology.
Precise details on retail price and publication date will follow soon.