The Temple of the Dawn, interpreted impressionistically on the most sophisticated ochs und junior: Ludwig Oechslin’s day/night. A client in Thailand gave us the opportunity to manufacture this very personal watch.
However, we leave the stage of this blogpost to Bernadette Sommer. It is only thanks to her art and skill that we can realize such unique pieces.
Bea Weinmann documented Bernadette Sommer’s work photographically on the day that she incorporated the Temple of the Dawn into the landscape.
Color pigments are the basis for all picture elements, and brushes are the instruments.
Bernadette Sommer works in her light-flooded atelier in Willisau, Switzerland. Having started out as porcelain painter, she has specialized in ceramic restorations and fine art miniature painting for 18 years now.
“My clients appreciate my precision, enthusiasm for historical research and my meticulousness in terms of color.”
Bernadette Sommer makes all colors used in her pieces herself. With a small spatula she mixes a luminous yellow pigment into a binding agent, adds umbra green and perfects the shade with a little white.
When she is working on a task like this, Bernadette Sommer forgets the world around her for hours at a time. The telescope-loupe system tunnels and focuses her view to the essential, to the size of a dial, to the horizon fan of a day/night.
The template is a photorealistic mock-up created by our photoshop expert Andy Jossi – just as for the perpetual calendar we manufactured for a Californian client. A large image of the template complete with the slightly offset horizon fans; as well as two smaller images 1:1 – one showing the complete watch, the other the individual parts. The concentration is at its peak. A small slip, a mistake – and the work of many hours would be ruined.
The picture is built up layer by layer. Bernadette Sommer applies the tiniest brush strokes to add element after element. The sky, the water of the river, and finally, the temple.
Her brushes have been specially made for miniature painting; the artist therefore takes great care of them.
Painting an image on a simple dial of a wrist watch is a challenge already. But doing this on one with several movable elements that need to fit precisely together in terms of height and must line up perfectly in terms of the subject shown – that is a different level of complexity, entirely.
Titanium white, iron oxide black, ultramarine, smalt, yellow, red-orange, ochre yellow, ochre red, umbra green, brown earth: thus the color palette. Four parts, each painted by hand and ready for assembly in Lucerne.
Kevin Hoffmann finished the delicate parts for this piece of art. The assembly required the utmost care, a mistake at this stage, too, would be fatal; with the tiniest adjustments of the individually manufactured parts and a corresponding test phase, another unique ochs und junior watch sees the day. An individual watch that is truly the only one of its kind – and has now found its home in Bangkok.
We are looking forward to the next idea that takes us in a similar direction.
Manufacturing the parts: Helfenstein Mechanik AG, Alpnach
Painting the parts: Bernadette Sommer, Willisau
Assembling the watch: Kevin Hoffmann, ochs und junior AG
Project management: Beat Weinmann