In 2007, Mocafico presented a series of 12, large format, 105x105cm photographs of high-end, hand-finished watch movements at Hamiltons Gallery in London, England. From beautifully understated movements, like François-Paul Journe’s Chronomètre Souverain, to the almost incomprehensibly complex work of manufactures such as Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, Audemars Piguet, and Lange & Söhne, Mocafico masterfully captured these tiny dream machines with a clarity of form that not even my best watchmaker’s loupe could match.
Although I have had the good pleasure of visiting London on several occasions, to take in the sights (and sounds) of countless horological marvels, sadly, I was not able to make it to see Mocafico’s “Movement” gallery during its month-long exhibition in the early summer of 2007. I was disappointed, once again, when I missed out on acquiring the subsequently published book, featuring 1/3 scale images of the exhibit works and numerous extras, when it launched for sale on Amazon and other online book retailers later that year. So, when I saw that there was one copy left available at a Canadian retailer later this year, I jumped at the opportunity to get it.
The package that arrived was larger than I had anticipated and the book equally so. The standard sized ballpoint pen in the image to the right will grant you a good idea of just how generous Steidl was in proportioning the pages of Movement. Time stood still as I turned each page and soaked in the detail of each movement; my eyes dancing a ballet over the intricacies of every mechanism. I was ecstatic when I turned the page onto the fifth movement – aptly numbered with the Roman numeral “V” – and saw the handiwork of one of my favourite living watchmakers, the Finnish master, Kari Voutilainen. I did not anticipate for a second that I would see his work draped among titans. So you can imagine how my excitement went through the roof when I turned the page onto movement XXII and came upon another of his masterworks, this time from my all time favourite of the watches he has created to date: Masterpiece Number 7. Mocafico had opted to photograph the dial side of Masterpiece 7, so there was no trademark “Voutilainen” stamped anywhere to give it away, but the tell-tale minute snail (pictured at the top of this post) assured me it was his work beyond a shadow of a doubt and the movement details in the back of the book confirmed it for me. This image alone, to me, was well worth having taken the time to track down a copy of Mocafico’s work.
An image of Philippe Dufour’s immaculate craftsmanship, in any variety, would have been icing on the cake, but it seems Mocafico was not able to access any of his highly sought after pieces during the span of this project. Nevertheless, the book, with its 37 documented calibres, is a beautiful tribute to the artisans, craftsmen, and design engineers, who have poured their immeasurable talent and abilities into the perpetuation of watchmaking as a craft. My heartfelt thanks to Mocafico, for pouring his own talent into making this project a reality. It is a beautiful book and a fantastic conversation piece for my coffee-table.
Where to Find More Beautiful Imagery
To sample some more eye-candy from the book, check out Mitch Greenblatt’s post at Watchismo.
For even more beautiful imagery and insight into the lives of independent watchmakers like Kari Voutilainen and Philippe Dufour, I highly recommend Michael Clerizo’s recently published Masters of Contemporary Watchmaking.