Though Greubel Forsey is only a nine-year-old watchmaking company, they have built a name for themselves in the luxury watch industry in a short time. Greubel Forsey have created some of the most in-demand and high-end watches, each one more complicated than the last. The latest project for Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey started back in 2009, when they began what they foresaw to be the start of a rewarding but long-term project. The watchmaking team wanted to be truly unique, and so they launched a collaboration with leading contemporary artists to fuse the art of watchmaking with that of visual art.
Greubel and Forsey met up with artist Willard Wigan, who is famous for creating the smallest sculptures in the world, small enough to fit inside the eye of a needle. Truly dedicated to his work, Birmingham artist Wigan creates microscopic sculptures and works to slow his heartbeats to avoid hand tremors. Greubel and Forsey have already created fantastically complicated watches that often feature multiple tourbillons, but now they will be able to boast that their new project, named Art Piece 1, will have a microscopic sculpture inside. The sculptures for this piece will be attached to a rotating hemispherical structure on the side of the dial for the viewing of multiple sculptures. The artwork can be seen inside the timepiece when it is held up to the eye facing sideways. Art Piece 1 will feature a tiny optical lens fitted in the crown to allow full appreciation of the sculptures. Only with the use of a magnifying lens, can the nano-nature of Wigan’s micro sculptures be appreciated. The lens in Art Piece 1 has a 23x magnification and its creation was a complicated technical feat in itself. Another challenge that Greubel Forsey and Wigan had was designing the piece to ensure there was enough natural light to even view the sculptures clearly. In a comment made about the project in 2012, Greubel Forsey stated, “Currently a work in progress, Art Piece 1 will feature a micro-sculpture that can be fully appreciated through specially created optics. The finished creation will be a veritable tour de force in terms of art, innovation, architecture and technical complexity.”
Greubel Forsey have also decided to include their new invention of the Double Tourbillon inclined 30° in the Art Piece 1. Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey showcased a prototype of the Art Piece 1 project at the annual FIAC contemporary art fair in Paris. Greubel was noted as saying that these works are so unique and time-consuming to produce, that he expects to produce only one or two of the one-of-a-kind watches every year. This exquisite combination work of art and timepiece will be on the expensive side due to its spectacular nature, with prices estimated to be around $5 million Swiss Francs or about $5.4 million in American dollars. Still in the prototype stage, full completion of Art Piece 1 is not anticipated until the end of 2013.
The Greubel Forsey Art Piece 1 will have a striking blue dial, as well as a blued leather strap outlined in stainless steel. Though the finished product is not yet ready, it is clear that the objective to produce a unique piece previously unimaginable in the fields of art and horological work has been achieved.