June 11, 2011
by Ariel Adams
Here is another artful creation from Angular Momentum that has caught my eye. Using beautiful Damascus steel, the La Boulle Classic Damascus watch combines the unique type of metal work with Angular Momentum’s common disc display dial and case. The dial is purely minimalistic. A black sapphire crystal has a window opening to a white color disc. There is a line applied to the window so that you can read the time. The disc moves once around the dial each 12 hours. It may not be the most precise way of reading the time, but it does give way to a world of possibilities when it comes to what to do with the rest of the dial. Sometimes, Angular Momentum dresses the dial up with verre églomis painting on the back of the sapphire crystal. Sometimes, you simply have a watch design where the case and dial together make for an artistic statement. The latter design concept helps to frame the La Boulle Classic Damascus watch.
What does that mean, exactly? An art watch versus a standard watch> Or a fashion watch for that matter? To me, an art watch is more interested in making an artistic statement. It isn’t trying to bolster your outfit like a fashion watch, nor is it necessarily interested in being a precise instrument like a standard watch is. It is a machine that tells the time and is meant to be visually interesting. Whether you like a given art watch or not is another story. As it is with all art, they are made by an artist – often for the artist. Not specifically meant for broad appeal. Enjoying an art watch is a very personal experience and it takes the right type of person to invest in one.
Angular Momentum makes a lot of art watches and I find this one quite interesting. It comes in a large 49mm wide Damascus steel case. This is a special type of folded steel that, when polished, reveals wonderful designs. This type of Damascus steel has what is called a “Scandinavian Bluetongue” pattern. This isn’t merely a design placed on the metal, the design is a part of the metal. The singular case is sandwiched with two sapphire crystals, showcases boulle-style lugs, and is matched to a leather strap.
Inside the watch is a Swiss automatic mechanical movement. Nothing fancy, but Angular Momentum spent a lot of time adding perlage polish to the movement surfaces. While there is a bit of Cotes de Geneve on the automatic rotor, it feels, for the most part, naked. Overall the timepiece is interesting. Perhaps not keen for daily wear, but certainly and artistic statement.