The Lab

360 Degrees Of Bodyart And Watchmaking

Posted on April 16, 2010 by Linde Werdelin

Once again, I have been playing around with the camera. One thing is showing beautiful pictures of a watch, but with a 360-degree video, you are able to give a view of the watch from all sides. This week I have for you a video of the Oktopus Tattoo, which was also presented as a novelty at BaselWorld.

This watch is very special to me. I must say it has been very interesting, extremely difficult, and amazingly fun to work on. With this watch, we wanted to do something out of the ordinary… something you would not expect from a luxury watch brand. My idea was to challenge the boundaries of high precision craftsmanship in watch making by combining it with the artistic skills and traditions from tattooing.

Essentially, we took the Oktopus case and tried pushing the design further… what was technically possible to do with the case engravings, and how could the artistic language of the tattoo artist be transformed into a watch design. We also changed the design of the hands, which is inspired by the tentacles of an octopus. Additionally, we added the exclusive movement cal. 1150 from Frederic Piguet. To give a more exotic look of the watch and make it stand out in a crowd, we also added orange SuperLuminova on the dial and hands.

We tested laser engraving, acid etching and stamping for the tattoos on the steel case. However, the result was not satisfying. The depth and shadows of the artistic piece did not come out the right way and the engravings were very shallow. We thereby set out to try the engravings with a 5-axis CNC milling machine, like the ones being used for complicated watch case manufacturing. By using CNC milling for the case engravings, we were able to preserve the artistic qualities of the tattoo artist’s drawings, which was very important for us. After numerous adjustments like milling speed, different milling depths in order to achieve the three dimensional effects of the tattoo, and different sizes of drills, we finally ended up with a perfect result.

In addition to the Oktopus Tattoo, we have decorated the case of our diving instrument The Reef with tattoo engravings also done by Henning Jørgensen from Royal Tattoo. An interesting drawing (as shown below) has been adapted for the color display screen of our instrument. The watch and instrument together is really an amazing set, which combines fine watch making, artistic tattooing craftsmanship and modern technology. Keep following us for more information on this instrument later on…

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