Ukrainian artist Valery Danevich gained acclaim a few years ago after the watch world was introduced to his unique craft: wooden timepieces. His first wooden watch was the result of a personal experiment by Danevich, who normally worked as cabinetmaker in the furniture business; Danevich wanted to give it a try and see what would happen.
But the work so fascinated him that just a few years later, he had made his first wooden tourbillon, and in 2014 was accepted as a member of the Académie Horlogère des Créateurs Indépendants (AHCI). Russian watchmaker Konstantin Chaykin became his patron, German nationals appeared as investors, and with their support, Danevich continued to cultivate his talent.
To be a part of the AHCI, you need to move forward constantly and produce something new. So after creating a wooden tourbillon, Danevich decided apply his skills to the production of pieces for a wider range of collectors, and he set to work making models based on common metal mechanisms. This allowed Danevich to reduce the price of his creations from 100,000 euros to 30,000 euros. For that price, a buyer receives a timepiece in a wooden case with a marquetry-decorated dial. The motif may be personalized – a trained woodcarver, Danevich can decorate his timepieces with almost any miniature.
This year, Danevich brought examples of his work to the BaselWorld fair, and I must admit they look simply great in real life. The dials are created using fine wood. The hands are made of mammoth tusks and mother-of-pearl. For cases he uses tree burls and decorative plates with carved gilded patterns.
As a basic caliber Danevich selected a common metal mechanism. For example, the timepiece depicting Switzerland’s famous Château de Chillon on the dial houses an elementary ETA 6498-1 caliber with hour, minute and small seconds functions. The mechanism is skeletonized by hand, and its bridges decorated with inlays made from timber. Mechanisms can also be ordered with pearl inlays, which looks quite interesting.
Leather straps are available, but Danevich manufactures models with wooden bracelets as well.
For more information, please visit Valery Danevich’s website. Photo credit: Chronoscope.ru for Haute Time Russia.