WATCHMAKING IS AN INHERENTLY artistic endeavour, because above all else, a watch is an object of self-expression. And every part of a watch’s journey – from its creation to its life on the wrist of its owner – is imbued with some form of personality.

The crafting of a watch requires immense artistry and precision. Calibres must be skilfully set to the finest degree, engravings and finishes require an experienced hand, and the miniscule nature of most watches adds another element of difficulty. Then, once purchased, a watch becomes an integral part of its new owner’s personal style, a vehicle for the expression of personality that unapologetically says this is what I like and this is who I am.

In many ways, the degree of self-expression involved in making and wearing a watch rivals that of an artist’s painting. After all, horology is in itself an artform. Although, while most all horological creations have artistic merit, they aren’t created equal – some watches are just more artistic than others. Swatch understands this better than most – and its creations invariably skew towards the artistic side of the spectrum.

Swatch has a long history with the world of art. In the past, the Swiss watchmakers have collaborated with everyone from emerging artists pushing the boundaries to celebrated savants at the peak of their powers on producing signature timepieces. Swatch’s interest in art isn’t limited to the individual either, previously working with such iconic institutions as the Louvre, New York’s Museum of Modern Art and Rome’s Museum of 21st Century Arts on reimagined artworks to be worn on the wrist. The Maison even founded the Swatch Art Peace Hotel in Shanghai, an artist residency where creative minds can live and work. And now, Swatch is turning its attention to the United Kingdom’s Tate Galleries.

As part of its Art Journey series, Swatch is releasing a capsule collection in collaboration with the Tate Galleries. The new range features watches inspired by the works of seven famous artists, with the signature styles of Henri Matisse, Louise Bourgeois, J. M. W. Turner, Marc Chagall, Joan Miró, Fernand Léger, and Wilhelmina Barns-Graham all forming part of the collection.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Swatch and collaborating with a like-minded organisation to create a series of watches that bring Tate’s rich and diverse collection to an ever-wider audience,” said Hamish Anderson, CEO of Tate Enterprises.

The styles of the selected artists have been reinterpreted and adapted to suit the dial of a Swatch timepiece. The result needs to be seen to be believed. Let there be no mistake, the watches of the new collection are wearable masterpieces and reincarnations of artistic heritage.

Just as art allows an artist to express themselves, Swatch and the Tate’s collection allow its wearers to do the same. With seven different offerings to choose from, each watch represents a different style, allowing wearers to rep their favourite artist. Take a look at some of the collection’s highlights below.

Henri Matisse’s Snail

French visual artist Henri Matisse cut a revolutionary figure in the art world of the early 20th century. The architect of fauvism – a bold painting style which utilises vibrant colours and free-flowing brushwork – Matisse was one of the world’s most popular artists throughout his expansive career which lasted more than 50 years. His most famous work, simply titled ‘The Snail’, is the chosen artwork for this Swatch collaboration, with the iconic image sprawled across the dial and further elements adorning to the strap.

Joan Miró’s Women and Bird in the Moonlight

Barcelona-born painter, sculptor and ceramicist Joan Miró harnessed a highly distinctive surrealist style in his work. Evocative shapes and bright colours were the hallmarks of the Spaniard’s pieces, which typically held deep symbolic meaning and reflected Catalan identity. The new Miró-inspired watch reimagines one of the artist’s best works, highlighting abstract elements and featuring a purposeful placement of the artwork across the dial. It’s also hard to miss those indexes printed on the glass, which add depth to this work of art.

JMW Turner’s Scarlet Sunset

The most renowned of all British painters, JMW Turner is one of the most influential artists of all time. Known as the father of modern art, Turner mastered expressive colouring in paintings of vast landscapes and majestic – and often violent – seas. Fittingly, light and colour are the focus of his reinterpreted Swatch watch, with the use of a calendar wheel allowing the sun at the centre of the dial to change colour over a repeating 14-day period.

If you’ve recently strolled past a Swatch store and have been met by a vibrant insurgence of colour, that’s because the Swatch x Tate Gallery Collection is already available in Swatch stores worldwide. The timepieces are also available on from March 21st.


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