By Steve Huyton
Muse Swiss Art Watches isn’t just a generic watch brand that creates mediocre time instruments. Their watches are more of an artistic statement powered by a mechanical heart. Essentially, the overall concept of Muse Swiss Art Watches is functional time instruments that also have a decorative appearance.
Within the Muse Swiss Art range, there are 37mm and 44mm models — all with distinctive titanium hexagonal cases. All of the watches are exquisite but my personal favorite is the AKYLON 44 Aventurine. So, I borrowed it for a few days to wear and try it out. And now, from first-hand experience, I can appreciate the concept and the innovative design. I was captivated by the geometric display, which effectively makes reading time like poetry in motion.
I absolutely love the polished dark blue glittering Aventurine dial. This stone is renowned for being one luckiest stones in the world of crystal healing and also has a beautiful aesthetic. Time is displayed by three independent overlapping (rhodium plated) geometric decorative patterned discs (hours, minutes, seconds) that are reminiscent of a contemporary art installation. This feature is present on all models and synonymous with the overall concept.
Over the years I have seen many decorative watches normally powered by quartz movements. However, there are not too many that are equipped with mechanical movements and certainly not at affordable prices. That is why all of Muse Swiss Art Watches are pretty special. Beneath the artist facades are Swiss-made decorated (circular graining, “côtes circulaires”) self-winding movements, which are visible through the sapphire case back.
The Calibre MU 01 comprises 25-jewels and oscillates at a frequency of 21,600 vibrations per hour (3Hz). As a perfect finale, the timepieces are presented on 22mm hand-stitched Karung (water snake) strap with matching titanium “Muse” engraved pin buckle.
The people behind Muse Swiss Art Watches
It was around two years ago that I received a press release from a company called Muse Swiss Art Watches. At the time they were just about to launch a collection of distinctive watches on crowdfunding website Kickstarter. Their plans seemed very ambitious and I was intrigued (skeptical) to see if they would actually materialize.
Prior to establishing Muse Swiss Art Watches Frédéric Leuba Rosa and Pascal Robert worked in the corporate sector (Richemont and Swatch respectively). This structured environment gave them a solid commercial grounding that would be crucial for the success of their microbrand.
Essentially, they have combined their love of contemporary modern art and fine watchmaking to produce something extra special. When I recently spoke to Pascal he wanted to convey that Muse has created a “living” timepiece that changes its appearance with the passing of time. Essentially it is much more than just a watch; it is also a “work of art in movement.”
From the outset, Frédéric Leuba Rosa and Pascal Robert had a clear vision of what they wanted to accomplish. However, as I alluded to before their plans seemed very ambitious, especially at the price point they mentioned (2,980 – 3,790 CHF). When I spoke with Pascal he outlined the challenges involved in realizing a project of this magnitude. Primarily they had to find reliable suppliers in Switzerland who could manufacture complex components at realistic prices. The main advantage that Frédéric and Pascal have (over other brands) is a watch engineering background. Therefore, they would have specialist contacts in the industry to draw on.
When I first started writing about horology approximately eight years ago, I was amazed at the advancements in watch design. I remember visiting several boutiques in Sydney to test pieces by ‘Haute Horlogerie’ watchmakers like De Bethune, Greubel Forsey, MB & F and Urwerk. These futuristic pieces chartered a new and exciting chapter for the watch industry. However, due to micromechanical engineering, exclusivity and luxurious materials used, they are beyond most people’s budgets. Fortunately, these artisans have inspired other smaller brands to create Avant-Garde timepieces at more accessible prices. With all of the different dial options — against a highly unusual case shape — Muse Swiss Art Watches is a great example of creativity and affordability.