About a decade ago after a huge sabbatical (which lasted 20-years), I began painting again. Originally, I trained as an illustrator and so my compositions were relatively small. Primarily, this was because it suited my highly detailed style and so they be could easily be posted to clients nationwide (United Kingdom). The new artworks were of portraits and flowers on a much larger scale and the medium was oil (rather than gouache previously used in illustration). This renewed enthusiasm in fine art also made me appreciate different style and especially abstract art because of the vibrant use of colour. Interestingly watch brands have also adopted this strategy with some exciting results. Here are four timepieces (including my own ‘Polaris’) that perfectly highlight this point.

Paolo Mathai Horology ‘Polaris’

Sometimes as a writer it is hard to appreciate the challenges brand encounter when creating timepieces. Ultimately, that inspired me to design and manufacture my own watch called the ‘Polaris’. My original concept was based on renowned industrial designer George Nelson’s clock. His iconic design uses muted colours for the globes but I wanted to inject much more colour. In collaboration with acclaimed jet engineer (watchmaker) Frank Heydrich we decided to use semi-precious stones to achieve the desired effect. As virtually every element of the watch is custom made (including the 3D printed titanium case) the process was long but exceedingly rewarding.

Schwarz-Etienne ‘Ode to the 70’s

Recently my good friend and editor of Escapement Magazine Angus Davies reviewed Schwarz-Etienne ‘Ode to the 70’s. I am a huge admirer of the brand and love the overall concept of this timepiece that magically captures the era. Features like the multi-coloured psychedelic Grand feu enamel with champlevé technique are absolutely extraordinary. I love the Micro-rotor with “Peace & love” logo and exposed flying tourbillon carriage (positioned at 1 o’clock). This entire splendour is encapsulated in a luxurious 18-karat white gold case measuring 44mm x 14.46mm.

Tockr Hydro Dipped Air Defender Series

I am a huge admirer of what Austin Ivey, Sophy Rindler and Serge Aebischer have achieved with micro brand Tockr. For that reason, I included their distinctive C47-Wing in my recently released ‘Independent Watchmakers’ book. Recently the company has changed gears and unveiled a collection called the Hydro Dipped Air Defender series. Essentially, by using patented graphic transfer technique patterns can be seamlessly applied to the stainless steel case. The results are very exciting and the possibilities are endless. Within the range, my personal favourite is the Tie Die version.


No one could possibly dispute the impact Hautlence has made on the watch industry. Certainly, their watches are well beyond most people’s budgets and reserved for only serious collectors. A few years ago they unveiled a very unusual timepiece called the Primary Vortex. Incredibly this watch was co-designed by former soccer player turned actor Eric Cantona. What makes it so special is the use of 6 different colour sapphire crystal panels (red ruby, blue spinel, yellow corundum) in Mondrian type layout. This perfectly frames the 3-dimensional movement and retrograde time display.