When some first asked me a few years ago why I loved watches, I pointed out a few key reasons to explain my fascination with the small machines. The first reason was that I enjoyed the mechanical, functional nature of timepieces. The second reason was that I was beckoned by the rarity of some watches and how collecting unique watches appealed to my personality. Last, I pointed out that timepieces were mostly intrinsically artistic. Not only are skilled watchmakers able to produce aesthetically beautiful watches, but also those that artistically use a set of necessary elements to indicate information and look good in the process.
So over time, I’ve met many people who have identified with these three elements as well, but what is great is how each collector or watch lover seems to manifest their appreciation of watches in a special way. Let’s take the South Korean artist who prefers to go by the name Eerune. As a professional illustrator, he combines his design skills with many of the watches he loves, for a unique, almost pop art visual presentation of aesthetic and story.
aBlogtoWatch took the opportunity to interview Eerune, soon after making his watch fan art public. You can see that he has been inspired by Omega, Rolex, TAG Heuer, Panerai, IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Bell & Ross, and Breitling for starters. I look forward to seeing where his art may take him. Eerune also happens to operate the design studio SUBURB201. His watch art website is apieceoftimepiece.com.
Eerune’s self portrait
aBlogtoWatch (ABTW): Watches are tools, but they are also art. How did you discover the artistic side to timepieces and how do they inspire your own art?
Eerune: Clocks themselves have human-like aesthetics to them. I love the charm and feel that watches have. From one watch to another, I feel that each watch has their own unique story to tell, which is very fascinating. I understand the appeal of watches, and I want to express that through my illustrations. Because of that the A Piece of Timepiece project began.
ABTW: You take watches you like and create compositions that seem like a combination between pop art and graphic design. How would you describe your style? How do you create these?
Eerune: I studied graphic design as an illustrator and was heavily influenced by pop art. My work seems to reflect that style. I see people look at my work, and I hope that they’re interested in them–of course, they can see my love for watches, but also–see how I recreate them in the most attractive way to those who feel the same way I do. I tried to make the images as simple as possible. In short, I try to express it in a powerful and minimalist-like manner. My work exists only as images online, but will be available for print soon. In that case, the nature of my work should be a little clearer when seen in first-hand in person.
One thing that is particularly neat about the X1 series watches, however, is that no matter how outlandish each layout gets, it still carries Bell & Ross’ core layout language; that square 45mm case, screwed together at each of the four corners. Although this DNA does carry through to the Bell & Ross Watch Vintage Br 123 Black Replica BR-X1 Skeleton Tourbillon Sapphire, were it not for the case signatures, this one may be confused for something apart from a Bell & Ross watch, because the primary timekeeping cues (the hour and minute hands) have been shrunken to the upper 12:00 region of this dial. While this does give plenty of opportunity to enjoy the flying tourbillon’s movement against most of the clear, negative space from the sapphire, it does detract somewhat from overall utility and legibility in comparison with all the brand’s pilot and tool watches — something that other Experimental offerings have maintained.The steely gray lines of the 3Hz manually-wound BR-CAL.288 movement structure cast a nicely skeletonized, industrial comparison against each of the translucent elements on the watch – even the strap is translucent rubber, which should make for some intriguing wrist shots. Part of this idea, besides the novelty itself of a totally transparent scenario, is that the motion as well as the screws holding the case together are observable from about every angle. The only region of the watch that isn’t completely see-through is that the massive mainspring barrel itself, that provides 100 hours of power reserve, and is tucked conveniently behind the luminous hour and minute hands at 12:00, preserving some level of legibility for timekeeping.In keeping with the more exclusive traditions of this Experimental collection, just eight portions of the Bell & Ross BR-X1 Skeleton Tourbillon Sapphire have been generated. But this particular piece is now the most expensive of all of the X1 offerings – even beating out the BR-X1 Chronograph Tourbillon Rose Gold Diamond variant by a healthy margin – with an asking price for your Bell & Ross BR-X1 Skeleton Tourbillon Sapphire of $385,000.
ABTW: What was the first watch you decided to emulate in your personal style? Why did you choose that one?
Eerune: The Omega Speedmaster was the first watch I worked on. Omega’s “Dark Side of the Moon” was a tribute to space exploration and going to the moon, and that was my main influence for “A Piece of Timepiece.” This year, IWC will release a new version of the Aquatimer. I really like the design and I am looking forward to the release of it. The nice clock figure yields a very noticeable representation of Jacques-Yves Cousteau, and my project related to it should be ready fairly soon.