Hands-on with the ArtyA Son of Sound was an experience with one of the more interesting watches from one of the more interesting brands at Baselworld 2013. We first debuted the Son of Sound guitar-style watch here. Certainly polarizing, the Son of Sound is a further effort by ArtyAs Yvan Arpa to connect with the rock and rollers his brand does so well with. While still in prototype form, the piece turned out to be quite interesting.
As I said, the Son of Sound watches seen here are not finished. The movements don't 100% work and the cases are still rough. Why? Well brands literally scramble to put together a lot of their 2013 product, hours before Baselworld each year. That isn't because they are procrastinators, but more because suppliers often wait until the last minute to get them what they need. Nevertheless, ArtyA has proven that a guitar-style timepiece is more than viable.
Yvan Arpa is a sort of rock and roller himself. Around his neck is a jewelry-style pistol (with tiny moving parts like the hammer), and biker style rings line his fingers. More artistic than aggressive, it is all part of his brand persona. He at least looks like he is having a very good time with his work. Most brand people meet you in a suit to present a dive watch - it just never feels particularly genuine. With Yvan, you get a more authentic brand experience.
The large Son of Sound watch looks like the head of a guitar, and will come in a few versions. We got to checkout this version with the chronograph movement and hours on the moving disc. It isn't exactly the easiest watch in the world to read, but it does offer the look and feel of a guitar or other musical instrument. Whether you are a musician or not, just looking at the Son of Sound makes you smile. It just has a charming "cool" appearance that offers the type of novelty you want in a 'novelty item.' I am curious to know what actual musicians, especially guitarists, feel about the Son of Sound.
One of the most interesting elements of the Son of Sound collection is that they all have wood dials. ArtyA showed me a selection of some of the woods available. They can try to match the wood to people's color tastes or even their favorite guitars. Or maybe just their floors or furniture. Even the Union Jack dial is made from wood marquetry, which is individual pieces of wood arranged in a way to create the design. Given ArtyA's willingness to customize, there is really no limit to what types of dials are available on these guitar-like timepieces.
The cases are in steel, but ArtyA has informed me that titanium and 18k gold models will be available as well. The straps are one of the best parts and are likely just as varied in options as the dials are. ArtyA has some weird looking straps, but they never fail to impress me with selection or innovation in the design department. The Son of Sound watches are large, but I can't say that they aren't comfortable.
Inside the ArtyA Son of Sound watch is a Swiss Concepto mechanical automatic movement built on a base ETA Valjoux 7750 I believe. There is a normal minute hand and a disc for the hours that gets easier to read as you get used to it. There is also a 12 hour chronograph and the date. The four bass guitar style strings are merely decorative of course. Each of the tuning knob-style crowns will be functional for either the chronograph or for setting the time. It would be a bit irritating to have them be merely visual.
The Son of Sound watch fits into the larger "Son of..." collection within ArtyA after the Son of a Gun and the Son of Earth family of watches. As we've said before this is an uncharacteristically clean product for the brand, but they realize that to survive and market properly they can't really do the "all piece unique" model. They need distinct product families and along with the Son of a Gun, the Son of Sound is a good next step. An interesting watch which will be sorely needed by the well-funded rock star in your life. www.artya.com