For years and years I have been obsessed with the songs of Stevie Wonder. In my opinion his most creative period was the 1970’s and especially his association with Malcolm Cecil and Robert Margouleff. These two musicians together formed a group called Tonto’s (The Original New Timbral Orchestra) Expanding Head Band and created the world’s largest synthesizer. After hearing their ground breaking 1971 album Zero Time Stevie Wonder relocated to New York to work with them. Certainly this experimental partnership was fruitful and exponentially raised his profile. At the time Stevie Wonder didn’t have a record deal (as he had recently terminated his contract with Motown) and was funding this project himself. Ultimately he took a really huge risk and it paid off in a massive way. The reason I mention this is because a lot of watchmakers have adopted this approach. In fact many have walked away from lucrative careers to follow their passions.
Back in November a Romanian watchmaker called Augustin Matei approached me. He had originally contacted me via Facebook to ask if I would be interested in writing about his watches. Ideally I would have loved to see some of his timepieces in the metal but that was simply not practical because they are made to order. Nevertheless he has supplied some beautiful images, which I feel capture the essence of his timepieces.
A few weeks ago I published an in depth article featuring Augustin Matei’s Admiral Watch. This timepiece has many notable characteristics and shows an extraordinary level of skill. The Gargoyle watch has a slightly larger diameter and measures 46mm (excluding the crown). I feel these proportions will predominantly appeal to a masculine audience. Based on other similar size watches I have tested (RPaige, Frank Heydrich, Antoine Tavan 1805) I would imagine it would sit comfortably on the wrist. Therefore the timepiece should be a practical option to wear for most occasions.
Aesthetically the Gargoyle watch has a very distinctive and gothic appearance. Certainly Augustin Matei’s passion for art is very evident in the overall design. As with the Admiral Watch the façade of this timepiece has a high quality illustrative feel. Elements like the etched glass/textured dial and engraved aluminum gargoyle sculpture are totally unique. Other features include a discreet aluminum chapter ring, Cathedral style hands and an ornate crown.
Beneath the refined exterior lies a Swiss made Unitas 6497-1 hand-winding movement. The caliber comprises 17-jewels and oscillates at a frequency of 18,000 vibrations per hour. This mechanism is perfectly showcased through the sapphire crystal exhibition case back. Functionally the Gargoyle features hours, minutes and small seconds. The watch also has a power reserve of approximately 40-hours and is water resistant to a depth of 30 metres.