I'll be really frank that I have no idea who or what Zep is. I mean I know a bit more now after researching and writing this article, but seeing his little smoke plume-haired character for the first time was a novel experience. I guess it is a Swiss/European thing. What... Tin Tin makes it international but Titeuf and Asterix are Euro only? Having said that, I do love cartoons and comics of all varieties. Something about hand-drawn things that really appeal to me.
Zep is the pseudonym of an artist who draws and writer a comic strip series known as Titeuf and is Swiss. I swear, I was not even sure the Swiss were capable of comics and humor until I saw this. Though it is all in French so I don't know what type of humor it is. Can anyone out there comment? I hear he is pretty popular.
Zep's real name is Philippe Chappuis, and recently worked with Jaeger-LeCoultre on this one-of-a-kind Zep watch. I think it is pretty cool.. Zep designed the dial and caseback engraving. There is also a special trick to the dial that I don't recall seeing before. See that think above the crown? That is actually a small wheel the you turn to close a metal curtain over the dial to hide or reveal it. I think that is pretty cool.
Jaeger-LeCoultre has been experimenting with these mini metal curtains. Another watch of theirs (much higher-end) that also uses a curtain is this Reverso Repetition a Rideau watch. Though on that watch the curtain was external and was used to activate the minute repeater. In this case it is to hide the fact that the wear of the Reverso by Zep watch is a comics fan. Go into a business meeting and just turns the wheel a bit to hide all that. Not sure why though as I think the dial Zep created is quite attractive.
Like the scene in Charlie Chaplin's famous Modern Times, Zep's signature character is drawn stuck in gears. Though this time it isn't some industrial machine but rather a Jaeger-LeCoultre movement. Come to think of it, this is the first ever cartoon watch movement I have ever seen. Note the floating letters that spell out "Reverso."
The dial is done in enamel and looks very pretty. Jaeger-LeCoultre used an 18k rose gold case to frame the art. This item is also apparently part of their larger 80th anniversary of the Reverso watch celebration. Sadly there will only be one such Reverso by Zep watch. Wish it was a limited edition at least. The watch will be offered via auction at the Artcurial auction house in Paris on November 29, 2011. So if you want it, you know where to go and bid.