Mr Jones Watches has been producing watches with a philosophy that they should do more than tell time, that they should also be examples of great creative design and art. Something new we want to share with you is our unique take on the cloisonné dial, the new Mr Jones Whoomm and Mr Jones Wildstyle watches. I’ve always loved and admired the pieces created by the big Swiss houses in the ‘40s and ‘50s, and I wanted to apply the traditional cloisonné technique to a contemporary design. I always thought it was curious that these vintage pieces had such extraordinary craftsmanship with such pedestrian subject matter!
When I produced the first series of Mr Jones Watches back in 2007, I didn’t really know very much about the history of watches – my interest was in the design and exploring new ways to represent the time. Over the years, my knowledge and fascination with the traditions of watchmaking has grown in tandem with our development as a brand.
For the past few years, we’ve brought more of the production of our watches in-house. Since 2014, all of the limited edition runs that we produce are printed and assembled in our London workshop (for example, our Super Mario World watch). I feel that we’ve mastered the printing processes that we use for our main collection, but we’re constantly looking for new ways to challenge ourselves.
In the summer of 2015, we took our first tentative steps into the world of enamel dials. It’s been a very steep learning curve, as cloisonné is an unforgiving technique: a few seconds too long in the kiln can ruin many hours of work. Over the months, we’ve developed our skills, each step along the way has required patience and perseverance to gain control of the processes needed to create a dial.
For the first cloisonné dials that we’ve released I wanted to contrast the ephemeral nature of the subject matter with the permanence of the medium: Mr Jones Whoomm captures the exuberance and energy of classic post-war American comics. For this design, we didn’t use any colour – the beauty of the dial is all in the individual pieces of silver wire and the hours of skill that have gone into shaping them.
Mr Jones Wildstyle is inspired by the graffiti form of the same name, which is characterised by a complex interlocking of letter forms and shapes. This design was a real challenge to capture in the tiny space on the watch dial and took many attempts to perfect. The watch allows us to display our skills at blending colour and rendering the dynamic shapes in the cloisonné wire.
These two watches use techniques that are too complicated for our regular production: each dial is a miniature labour of love that represents many, many hours of concentration and skilled work. I think these watches are great representations of our brand: they combine a respect for tradition with our unconventional approach to watchmaking. We produced a short film to tell the story of how we make these dials which you can watch here.