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Artya Watches For 2017 Continue To Celebrate Weird Art

Artya Watches For 2017 Continue To Celebrate Weird Art Hands-On

Yvan Arpa is a watch industry soldier. In the almost 10 years I've known him, the projects and brands that he has worked with vary almost as much as the often crazy designs his own Artya brand is known for presenting. There is a charming lack of total organization to his work and company strategy, and in some ways, his agility as a business man and artist has allowed him to persist relatively well in a once proud industry now marked by uncertainly, instability, and crippling rigidity. Arpa exists within the watch industry as much as he exists outside of it, viewing it from the side – despite the fact that as a Geneva resident he is quite literally situated in the heart of the where Swiss luxury timepieces are made. Inside all of the watches are Swiss mechanical movements – many of which are modified in-house by Artya.

Artya Watches For 2017 Continue To Celebrate Weird Art Hands-On

All images by Ariel Adams

Artya Watches For 2017 Continue To Celebrate Weird Art Hands-On

In 2017 Yvan's biggest problem is not one that you might expect. His frustration is that given sanctions on Russia, many of his regular customers are unable to purchase his products as they quite literally can't get money outside of their country. Yvan Arpa is proud of the fact that many of his more avant-garde watches – with their macabre, ironic sense of humor appeal to clients in Russia and surrounding territories. The Swiss "rock & roll" watch designer and artist is unique in his ability to meld classic design sensibility with aesthetics he himself refers to as "crazy." In an industry where shock value is as important as classicism, his polarizing designs are just what some clients want.

A note that I'll run through some of the 2017 Artya releases here, but check out the massive gallery for a lot more images.

Artya Watches For 2017 Continue To Celebrate Weird Art Hands-On

Artya Watches For 2017 Continue To Celebrate Weird Art Hands-On

Artya watches start at about 4,400 CHF, and go up to astronomic tourbillon prices. The brand once only made "piece unique" models (two of which are shown above), with the implication that each timepiece was totally original. Since then, Arpa's brand has seemingly mixed small series productions with piece unique models. Timepieces will bullets, blood, and skulls seem to be perpetually popular with his crowd.

Artya Watches For 2017 Continue To Celebrate Weird Art Hands-On

Artya Watches For 2017 Continue To Celebrate Weird Art Hands-On

Arpa's aesthetic isn't all about blood and guts – even though there is a celebration of chaos in many of his designs. Among the new "Son of" collections (that started with Son of a Gun) for 2017 is the Son of Sea. These are watches with seaweed on the dials – as part of a long line of such concepts, which also includes dials with butterfly wings, spiders, tobacco, and human blood. The Son of Sea watches – each piece uniques, with the blue PVD-coated 44mm wide steel cases cost 7,900 CHF, unless you opt for the 137,000 CHF Son of Sea Tourbillon model. These aren't to my personal taste as I prefer a bit more symmetrical structure in my timepiece designs, though I appreciate the novelty and know that Artya will have its share of takers.

Artya Watches For 2017 Continue To Celebrate Weird Art Hands-On

Artya Watches For 2017 Continue To Celebrate Weird Art Hands-On

Artya Son of a Gun watches are probably Arpa's most popular collection. The Son of a Gun family is currently segmented into 10 different product families – each with their own take on placing parts of actual bullets on the dial of a watch. The Son of a Gun Russian Roulette are perhaps the most popular. A spinning disc made to look like a six barrel gun chamber of a revolver has the one hole filled with the rear of an actual bullet. This disc spins freely, and of course the visual effect is akin to what I imagine spinning the chambers during a game of Russian roulette might be like – albeit safer. Also in 44mm wide cases, the Son of a Gun Russian Roulette watches come in a host of styles starting at 7,700 CHF and going up from there. One new model is the 17,900 CHF version in a transparent resin case that has more bullets set inside of it.

Artya Watches For 2017 Continue To Celebrate Weird Art Hands-On

Artya Watches For 2017 Continue To Celebrate Weird Art Hands-On

For 2017 the pièce de résistance in the Son of a Gun collection is the Son of a Gun Big Skull. Easily one of the most "metal" watches I've seen in a long, long time, the Son of a Gun Big Skull starts with a "Son of a Gun Werewolf Collection" dial, that has two sterling silver bullets on it, and here actual blood. The 47mm wide watch case bracelet is a string of carved skulls in silver, and over the dial is an opening and closing sterling silver skull cover. Easily the most wild watch I put on my wrist at Baselworld 2017, this piece unique costs 20,900 CHF.

Artya Watches For 2017 Continue To Celebrate Weird Art Hands-On

Artya Watches For 2017 Continue To Celebrate Weird Art Hands-On

Not all of the 2017 Artya watches represented the more brash side of Yvan Arpa. There was a considerable amount of more classic art – much of which was in beautiful form. If you like skulls on your watch dial but prefer something a bit less aggressive, there is the also piece unique Mother of Pearls Skull watch in the Son of Art collection within Artya. This attractive piece has an artistic skull produced with mother of pearl inlay against a black lacquer dial using a special "Ott-Cjill" technique. Containing an automatic movement, the 44mm wide case is black PVD-coated steel with "ArtyOr" gold inserts on the side and a matching gold crown. Price is 12,900 CHF.

Artya Watches For 2017 Continue To Celebrate Weird Art Hands-On

Artya Watches For 2017 Continue To Celebrate Weird Art Hands-On

Other Artya Son of Art collection watches contain the various piece unique Neo-Renaissance models with various cases and dials hand-engraved by a master engraver from Belgium. These are my favorite models out of the new 2017 Artya watches given my own personal tastes – and because I just happen to currently really be into these types of engraved designs. Artya has a few of these, and each focuses on decorative patterns or includes a subject such as a skull or a lion. These Son of Art Neo-Renaissance watches are priced at 24,900 CHF.

Artya Watches For 2017 Continue To Celebrate Weird Art Hands-On

Artya Watches For 2017 Continue To Celebrate Weird Art Hands-On

You can spend 23,900 CHF on a Son of Gears Shams collection watch in a steel case set with a fair number of large diamonds, but this is also one of Artya's entry-level collections. The Son of Gears Shams watch is a simple take on a skeletonized manually-wound mechanical movement – though done in an Artya-manner. I quite like them. The movement skeletonization is spirited, and the overall combination of colors and styles is attractive. These are actually among the most conservative watches produced by Artya these days, and employ the brand's standard 44mm wide steel case. Prices start at 4,400 CHF, go up to 5,400 CHF in PVD black, 6,400 CHF with a chocolate gold color, 12,900 CHF in a two-tone steel and gold case, and 7,400 CHF for a Son of Gears Shams collection watch with a hand-engraved bezel.

Artya Watches For 2017 Continue To Celebrate Weird Art Hands-On

Artya Watches For 2017 Continue To Celebrate Weird Art Hands-On

Artya, as an "art watch" maker will never be as affected by the ups and downs of the watch industry as larger brands. The boutique nature of the company, along with their lower production numbers means that they will intentionally remain small, which is likely how Yvan Arpa likes it. The strange, and sometimes totally uncanny sense of design and theme in the watches will be an inevitable draw to the right rare types of people around the world. As long as these individuals can find Artya, Yvan Arpa can find an artistic outlet.

About the Author

Fueled by an unshakable love for horology and a general curiosity for intricate things, Ariel Adams founded aBlogtoWatch in 2007 as a means of sharing his passion. Since then, ABTW has become the highest trafficked blog on luxury timepieces, and Ariel has become a contributor to other online publications such as Forbes, Departures and Tech Crunch, to name just a few. His conversational writing style and inclusive attitude brings a wider appreciation for watches the world over, and that's just the way he likes it.

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  • John Stevens

    This should be fun !

  • Luciano

    Very restricted. They need a collaboration with Bamford

    • IG

      … or Kravitz Design!!!

      • Berndt Norten


  • IG

    Why everything is Son of a… ? Can’t they make stuff to stand on its own without referencing a father?

    • Thomas

      I imagine some big league lawyer wearing this while negotiating a billion dollar settlement, wooing the disputing party with his style and class.

      • IG

        I rather imagine some district attorney wearing this while asking for death penalty.

  • Thomas

    Oh god

  • IanE

    Hieronymus Bosch comes to mind :

    • IG

      Bosch is rolling in his grave…

  • Marius

    Goth bling.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    Absolutely horrendous..

  • GavinW

    Bet you would meet an interesting bunch of clients at a Aryta watch launch, compared to Omega, Rolex….

  • Framlucasse

    The engraved lion, skull, lys, griffon and skeleton are not bad. Peculiar, but not bad. The rest of it is… not my taste to say the least.

  • Out of all of that, there is maybe one watch I’d even wear. His sanctioned clientele says a lot about the level of taste involved here.

    • Ulysses31

      His nouveau-riche clientele have no taste.

  • Mark1884

    A collection of expensive tasteless watches. All powered by a Swiss $20 movement. Who would wear some of this stuff?? Drug dealers or Rock & Roller types?? (Russian gangsters)
    Really, bullets and blood (not known if human or animal) That is just disgusting.
    Truly some of the dumbest, gross, no class watches I have seen.
    Mach 3+ PASS

  • Andre Braz

    I like only the skeleton. Others I pass….

  • Yan Fin

    Can we have just an average Kickstarter crap Sponsored post instead?

  • Tea Hound

    God these are awful.

  • SuperStrapper

    Shine on, you crazy diamond.

  • Terance Hill

    Well fellow bloggers it’s been a hell of a week. There sure have been some really interesting pieces to say the least. Take all the watches that were presented today and consider them as being in your collection how would be summarized.
    a . Wealth
    b . Poor taste
    c . Batshit crazy
    d . All of the above
    And just a footnote
    I thoroughly enjoyed my birthday.;-)
    3 G’s well spent .LOL

    • DanW94

      So you decided to buy the Fendi?

      • Terance Hill

        Sorry I forget to ask her, her name .

    • Berndt Norten

      Tell me more
      Tell me more


    whoa, well I thought of another one, a coffin that opens up and there a watch inside it. or better yet a coffin where you can dump all of these aberrations in it and then toss the whole package down below.

  • Pete Pete

    I’d rather chop my hands off.

    • Omegaboy

      Hand me the knife when you’re done. Er, you won’t be able to, will you? Sorry.

    • Berndt Norten

      I’d rather stick needles in my eyes

  • Jerry Mathers

    Better hope you’re current on your tetanus and hepatitis shots if you buy one.

  • “Weird Art” Boy, you sure got that titled correctly……..

  • SwissMatic

    For boys who desperately want to become men.

  • Ulysses31

    Great skill, when misused, leads to all this nonsense. Steve Jobs needed Wozniak, and Artya needs… well, anyone with some design sense to mitigate his relentless, crass aesthetic stupidity.

  • Ranchracer

    Somehow I don’t think ABTW readers are his target audience! LOL

    • Omegaboy

      Heroin addicts can’t afford them, though.

      • IG

        In Hollywood they can.

  • Omegaboy

    Forget for a minute that these watches are, to most people probably, ridiculously ugly. What I’d like to know is, what’s this obsession with death and sadness? There are a zillion other themes available for decorating a watch – clouds, bugs, musical instruments, screws, you name it. For me, a watch on my wrist is this small cache of joy I can glance at throughout the day. Putting skulls or blood on a watch is antithetical to the happiness I get from them.

    In other words, these watches are garbage, and a couple are evil. Crap.

    • commentator bob

      It is supposed to seem tough and edgy. Imagine the following in a bad Russian accent: “All I know is death, so I wear death on my wrist.”

      But really these are posh, unpractical, delicate fashion watches that show the wearer is a soft poser.

      A basic model G-Shock, SKX-007, Sinn etc. shows more toughness.

  • Marius
  • wolverbilly

    These guys know that Fury Road was just a movie, right? I mean, they aren’t really blasting across the Outback looking for timepieces.

  • joe Shmoe

    is this what you wear when you’re signing checks with your sylvester stallone pen monstrosity?

  • TheChuphta

    Needs a date window.

  • blansky

    Mad Max meets basement dwelling anarchist.

  • Andrew Hughes

    I thought this was one of your April Fools spoofs… Wearing skull bead bracelets with your watch is bad enough… this is a whole new level. Ariel, I dare you to wear one to Basel World.

  • 200 Fathoms

    I foresee nightmares this evening.

  • Lurch

    If El Chapo weren’t in prison, he would be buying one of these for himself and one for General Noriega, his cell mate.

  • eRZé

    Son of a b&%#$! I don’t think I could pull the trigger on any of these.

    • Coert Welman

      I like my puns intended.

  • Pete L

    Absolutely bonkers and probably best suited to Russian villains but at least they are a bit different!

  • Ayreonaut

    This is what happens when you take Jean-Claude Biver too literally about watches being art. And if by “art” you mean high-school fantasy doodles.

  • MrJKLFoams

    This is madness!!! Madness huh this is ARTYA!!!

  • shanekleinpeter
  • Mike Darwin Brown

    i’m sure there is a costumer……..from the underworld! Happy Halloween!