(by Elizabeth Doerr, Freelance Journalist for Watches)
(left to right): Leonid Khankin (owner and creative director Ernst Benz), Elizabeth Doerr and Philippe Dufour enjoy the Baselworld party on March 27, 2009.
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?¢Ç¨Ñ¢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?¢Ç¨Äùand indeed the hills and valleys of Switzerland?¢Ç¨Äùwith hushed reverence, these men rarely find the glamorous limelight they would be so deserving of with their handmade form of artistry. Khankin?¢Ç¨Ñ¢s generous gesture allowed them not only interaction with the world?¢Ç¨Ñ¢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 Patr?É¬?n tequila, seven of the book?¢Ç¨Ñ¢s watchmakers in attendance spent the evening chatting with the press, inspecting Ernst Benz?¢Ç¨Ñ¢s oversized pilot?¢Ç¨Ñ¢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 Fran?É¬ßois-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?¢Ç¨Äùand individualistic?¢Ç¨Äùstyles of this timeless mechanical art. 12 FACES OF TIME: HOROLOGICAL VIRTUOSOS will allow readers to see well-known horological figures such as Fran?É¬ßois-Paul Journe, Vianney Halter, and Philippe Dufour as they?¢Ç¨Ñ¢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?¢Ç¨Ñ¢s gargantuan Seiko Corporation.
(left to right): Leonid Khankin (owner and creative director Ernst Benz), Elizabeth Doerr, Kari Voutilainen, Ralf Baumgarten and Roger Smith look forward to the arrival of 12 FACES OF TIME: HOROLOGICAL VIRTUOSOS.
Ever since he was a young child, Robert-Jan was drawn to watches, even though it were digital Casio and quartz Swatch models at the time. In the mid-1990s, his interest increased when he started to read about mechanical watches in... read more