The Reason

The dial of this Kees Engelbarts watch depicts a scene, inspired by a Tsuba with a Hawk and Sparrow, from Hamano Masanobu, circa 1836 (late EDO). A Tsuba is the hand guard mounted on a Japanese sword. These Tsuba eventually became elaborate pieces of art - far beyond their practical use. This is a unique time piece and has both technical as well as artistic value from the execution of the case through to the dial.


KeesEng_TheNakedWatchMaker-31.jpg

The watch has a 950-platinum case and a rebuilt vintage AS 690, 8-day power reserve, movement. The movement has been decorated with mokume gane (explained below) of white-gold and silver in a star-like shape. The screws are hand-polished, beveled and heat-blued.

The eye of the hawk that is in yellow gold with a silver center.

I have photographed the watch being dismantled after all the components have been made but before cleaning, final servicing, adjustments and retouches are to be made.

The branch is made of mokume gane of pink gold/shakudo. The leaves are in green gold .    (Image by Guy Lucas de Peslouan).

The dial depicts a scene, inspired by a Tsuba with a Hawk and Sparrow, (boths sides of the Tsauba are different), from Hamano Masanobu, circa 1836 (late EDO).  

The hawk's feet are in yellow-gold and the claws made of silver.   The base plate, on which the scene is mounted, is white-gold/silver mokume gane and has been treated with nitric acid. This acid will attack the silver and leave the white-gold unharmed and this accentuates the vertical shape structure and creates a relief.

Mokume-gane (木目金 Mokumegane) is a Japanese metalworking procedure which produces a mixed-metal laminate with distinctive layered patterns. Mokume gane translates closely to "wood grain metal" or "wood eye metal", describing the way the metal takes on the appearance of natural wood grain


Below, the original Tsuba used as inspiration for the dial.

The meaning that lies behind the scene is of the hawk that has all the power looking at the sparrow and free to decide if he wants to kill and eat it or not...


Dismantling the movement

KeesEng_TheNakedWatchMaker-76.jpg

Movement, a vintage hand-wound AS 690, 8 days power reserve, 17 jewels, 18'000 BPM with pusher at 2 o'clock position for time-setting.


The fixation of the strap on the head of the watch is complex, the strap is tailored to fit the form of the central case and has a brass section fitted into it which in-turn slides into the shoulders of the watch. 

The strap, exterior black alligator leather, interior black shark leather, solid platinum 950 buckle. Total weight 301 grams.


Case. Platinum 950, matte finish, 49 mm x 16mm, sapphire crystal both sides with double anti-reflection treatment, protrusion at 5 o'clock position to accommodate the main-spring barrel.



Multiple views of the finished watch

KeesEng_TheNakedWatchMaker-8.jpg

Early images from the making of the watch


To learn more about Kees Engelbarts click on www.kees.ch