The Greubel Forsey Art Piece 1: a collaboration between a sculptor and watchmakers.
Willard Wigan creator of the smallest sculptures in the world teamed up with Greubel and Forsey to create this unique piece. Currently a work in progress it is expected to be completed at the end of the year.
Birmingham artist Willard Wigan creates microscopic sculptures and works between heartbeats to avoid hand tremors . He often exhibits his sculptures presented in the eye of a needle and in the past he has made works from rice, sugar, carbon fibre, gold and nylon.
Often just a few millimeters across he has to be very careful when working, “Once, I inhaled Alice in Wonderland,” he said. His journey into the world of nano-sculpture started as a child when he began making furniture for ants.
In 2009 to mark the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama he created tiny sculptures of Obama’s family. Taking months to create the piece, a powerful microscope that magnifies the object 400 times is needed to see the detail clearly.
Since his sculptures are so tiny he has had to develop his own specialist tools, for the Obama sculpture he used a hair from a dead fly to paint it.
For an idea of the scale of his work imagine the size of full stop in a newspaper and you are getting closer to the scale but still not quite there in terms of tininess.
To view more of his work (fortunately not actual size) visit his website
Greubel and Forsey
Greubel and Forsey create fantastically complicated watches such as the amazing GMT and they often feature multiple tourbillons.
After they saw some of Willard Wigan’s work they decided to ask him to collaborate. The sculptures are attached to a rotating hemispherical structure on the left and can be seen through a tiny optical lens fitted in the crown.
The Art Piece 1 also features a tiny microscope housed in the caseband to allow full appreciation of the sculpture. It has a 23x magnification and its creation was a technical feat in itself. Another challenge was designing the watch to make sure there was enough natural light for the sculpture to be viewed clearly.
The Art Piece 1 is intended to be the start of a number of collaboration they intend to make with artists.
Below is a video about the collaboration on this watch.