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Never the twain shall meet….
Authored by: Sean  

We are talking about art and technology and how they seem to live in two separate worlds – perhaps even where one is unaware of the other one’s existence. For instance, would you really look at the technique rather than the art that has gone into the making of the Mona Lisa? Oh yes, if you were an artist, you would be intrigued by the pyramid design and the aerial perspective that Leonardo da Vinci used.

But even with respect to this decidedly famous piece of art, did you know that technology played a huge role in finding out all sorts of hidden layers? This was thanks to the work done by Pascal Cotte, a French engineer. Take a look at the exhibit on the secrets of Mona Lisa.

Now, I must admit I am not a hugely techie person. So to me, The Mona Lisa will always remain a magnum opus created by a man whose hands could work a smile into the corner of a mouth.

For the art-oriented person, technology can mean a lack of human emotions. Think about it. Today, you can create music, art, movies, embroidered clothes and even an entire concert with the use of machines and automation and other thingamajigs.

Since I write for a watch company, I cannot help but turn to the world of watches and try and see where art and technology exist. The other day I was moved to another dimension of thought altogether when I came upon the world of Jaquet Droz watches.

How can one call them watches? What a limiting, limited term this is for creations which are sculptures, paintings and a musical composition all rolled into one. The tradition of its association with mechanical birds can be seen in the magnificent Petite Heure Minute Relief Seasons. Look at the video of this watch too and you will find yourself watching it with bated breath!

Oh how I can wax eloquent on the art of watches! But obviously, when you are paying a sumptuous sum for your watch, you would like it to work flawlessly is it not? So yes, there is massive technology that has gone into the making of watches such as the Rolex President.

There is also superlative technology being used by enamelists or enamellers like Anita Porchet (who creates the paillonée dials for Jaquet Droz) and Miklos Merczel who works with Jaeger LeCoultre.

So we cannot really ignore technology now can we? But tell me honestly, would you really, truly, sincerely consider smartwatches beautiful in the real sense of the term? You would say “yes” if you were a tech aficionado!

In the world of smartwatches, there is the Emopulse Smile smartwatch and a host of others like Pebble. In visual appeal – you cannot really look at them and sigh in pleasure. But you sure can do so when you look at the staggering number of things they can do.

Take the Tissot Sea Touch. Not a particularly beautiful looking watch. But it is all about superlative function. 200M water resistance, touch the glass and you activate a whole bunch of functions such as divers’ logbook and so on. Or even the Openworked Royal Oak by Audemars Piguet. At first glance it seems like a jumble of gears and parts. Sacrilege? Look closer and you will find marvels such as 38 jewels, 239 parts and glare proof sapphire crystal. The company talks about the art of openworking in this video!

So I guess I must not be black and white when it comes to art and technology in the world of watches. There is actually beauty in both and nothing ever really is ugly in horology! So yes, both of these thought processes come together in a mighty confluence in the creation of watches. And there the twain shall meet….

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