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The Model 1920: A Sketch of our next watch

Montana Watch Company, Montana Watches, Montana Watch

Preliminary sketch of the Model 1920

For the first time ever we are sharing the creative process of designing and building a new model at the Montana Watch Company.  Over the next few posts you will see the entire process of designing and manufacturing a watch here in the USA.

Jeffrey recently created this sketch of the brand new Model 1920 that will be released in August.  He painstakenly chooses a font for the numbers and individually places them on the dial until he thinks that are in the exact spot.  Once he is satisfied with the dial design he sends it out to the dial manufacturer, here in America, and they create the pieces for him to work with.  Once he is happy with the design of the case and lugs he starts to work with our engineer/machinist Paul which is perhaps the hardest part of creating a new watch.  Each case and lug system comes with a unique set of problems to be solved, in this case they had to figure out how to manufacture a square lug from a round piece of stock and fit the lug onto a round watch seamlessly. The first prototype is being manufactured as I write this brief introduction.  Follow this post and see a video of the cases being manufactured in Manhattan, MT in a few days.

Every couple of years Jeffrey introduces a new watch model because he loves the design of different eras and enjoys creating a new piece with his spin on the era.  Many of our clients are collectors and enjoy collecting watches from different time periods.  He also loves the challenge of creating something from scratch and solving the various technical problems that inevitably occur when designing a case.

More to come…..

If you would like to be a part of that mailing list please send a note to Catherine at info@montanawatch.com, or leave a comment here, so you can be informed of our upcoming projects and events.

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Gotham Blog & Montana Watch Company

Our women’s Bridger Field Watches was featured on Gotham‘s blog.  Our first tie on the site.

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The First Collaborative Piece between Seth Minkin & Jeffrey Nashan: Manju

American Watch

Bridger Field Watch created by The Montana Watch Company. First Collaboration piece with Seth Minkin

Seth Minkin

Original painting Manju by Seth Minkin

(I posted these photos as large as possible so you could see the details of both renditions of Manju.)

The client’s choice of accentuating texture and color by contrasting the satin stainless steel case with the copper dial, lugs and crown was a very unique and attractive choice with a truly distinctive look.
The process of creating such a piece is time consuming but definitely rewarding.  It started with Jeffrey superimposing the painting on the dial in Photoshop in order to show Alex and Seth how the engraving was going to be composed.  Once Seth and Alex approved the positioning of “Manju” (the subject) the design and the dial blank  were sent to our engraver who intricately rendered Seth’s painting onto a space about 1/50 of the scale of the painting.  The dial is just about an inch wide, each mark on the dial was made with a hand-held graver tool, adding form and shading by way of tiny lines and dots in the copper .  After many hours of engraving the final piece was sent back to Jeffrey where he took over the process again.  He turned each of the dial markers on a small lathe and riveted them to small pierces in the dial one at a time.  A mistake at any time during this process means restarting from scratch.  In order to get the satin finish on the case Jeffrey first polished the case on a buffing wheel and then finished it with a series of abrasive cloths until the finish is right .  The lugs are then bent and laser welded to the case.  At this point with all of the pieces on the bench in our studio in Livingston, Montana, Jeffrey begins assembly of the watch, including disassembling and recalibrating the ETA cal. 2824 movement according to his specifications.  Once the piece was assembled, timed, and photographed it was packaged into our custom made boxes and sent out to Alex.

Thank you Seth for introducing us to Alex and being so interesting to get to know and work with.  We are looking forward to meeting you and seeing your art in person at your show next month in Boston.   Alex, thank you for having faith in our ability to create a unique timepiece that you and your family will wear and enjoy for many years.

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The First Collaborative Piece: Manju

Manju by Seth Minkin

Manju by Seth minkin

I asked Seth Minkin to tell us a bit about how he approached the challenge of rendering Manju.  “The story behind the Manju portrait is similar to most pet portraits that I do- People love their pets! My friend Alex also happens to be a big pug fan in general. Four or five years ago, He requested that I meet Manju and discuss the commission. Upon meeting her, I could tell instantly that I would have no problem creating a great painting. She had so much personality and such a great look. Sometimes, a client can request a subject that may be challenging from my perspective because my end goal is always to create bold and exciting art. I like these challenges.”

 

Tomorrow we will host the watch that Alex commissioned Jeffrey to create.

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An Interview with Seth Minkin: Part III

5) Where so you see the relationship going in the future? What kind of interesting paths do you see opening up in front of the two of you?

This collaboration is a very special one and this type of project hasn’t been undertaken by a luxury brand before, so I feel that this gives us a unique edge.  The ability to represent art as an element of style in this way is truly special and, for discerning clients who have “seen it all,” this process guarantees that their final product will be one of a kind.  Jeff and I have a great working relationship and we are both really excited about the potential of this collaboration.  Ultimately, we both do what we do because we have a deep passion for creating beautiful pieces and working with interesting, worldly people who have an appreciation for what we do.  In working together, we have the opportunity to broaden our artistic visions.  For example, we have been kicking around the idea of creating a watch based on an image of a watch face that I create.  It would be my interpretation of a dial, painted on canvas, which would then go back to Jeff for his reinterpretation.  The ability to work with someone in this manner is especially exciting to both of us, as we are discovering how to work within each other’s area of expertise while pushing the boundaries of our own skill set.  In this sense, we can truly be creative without limits and produce incredible pieces that are sure to impress and inspire.

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An Interview With Seth Minkin: Part II

3) What interests you in the process of collaborating with The Montana Watch Company?

I really love watches, as do many of my clients and the potential to have my images be reinterpreted by other artisans is something I find to be very cool.  I also think that there is a great synergy between Jeff and I in the sense that we both appreciate each other’s work and there is a great deal of mutual respect between us.  I really enjoy the possibility of having a hand at the overall look and design of the time pieces themselves and, for me, it is exciting to take a huge painting that hangs on the wall and transform its imagery into something that a client has on them at all times.  This collaboration also adds a little bit of the practical for my clients.  It’s wearable art; the watch is a timepiece, as well as being beautiful; it’s another form of expressing their own passions and style.  And, most importantly, it takes the concept of customization, personalization and uniqueness to a whole other level.  The process of taking the subject of one’s commissioned art work and having that further interpreted in a timepiece is certainly as unique and personal as it gets.  For many of my clients who are not artistically inclined, this provides the opportunity to demonstrate their own style and also take part in the overall creative process.

4) A couple of your clients are commissioning you and Jeffrey to do pieces.  Can you tell us how a client goes about getting a piece made?

My clients have been very excited to hear about this collaboration, since many of them are also watch aficionados.  It just feels like a natural fit between what Jeff and I both do, even though this concept is wholly unique and hasn’t been done before.  The process of commissioning a watch starts with a client’s fascination towards a particular painting.  I work with Jeff to put together mock ups of different case styles and renderings in a variety of metals to give the client an idea of what the final product will look like.  From this point, Jeff handles the details of the actual watches, from assisting the clients in selecting which metals and adornments they would like to use, to choosing a band and many of the other aesthetic options that are available.  He and I go back and forth on some of these details, such as the way the image fits in the dial, placement of signatures, etc.  It is truly a joint effort in the way we work together and both of us have input throughout the process.  Of course, we both work for our clients and their input is of the utmost importance.  In the end, the final product is an heirloom quality timepiece with artistic integrity that meets with the client’s seal of approval.

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An Interview With Seth Minkin: Part 1

Seth Minkin and Jeffrey have just started a collaboration, where Seth’s paintings are artfully rendered onto the dials of Jeffrey’s watches.  I sent Seth a few questions about their collaboration and will be sharing his responses over the next few days.  We will have some photographs of their first completed piece on the final day of the interview.

1.)   Your studio is in an office building which is highly unusual for an artist. Can you talk about how you came to be in this situation and how you have collaborated with the firm?

I was initially introduced to this company through the CEO.  I met up with him while I still lived in San Francisco and he asked me for some ideas about the art in his office.  He was toying with the idea of having a mural of some sort painted on the wall of the office, but wasn’t sure this was the right approach, since the company was growing and they didn’t know how long they would be in the space.  We went back and forth quite a bit and, in the end, decided on two large paintings that were related to the company’s brand.  A few years later, I moved to Boston and the company had moved into a phenomenal new space.  They had just received a multi-million dollar round of funding and were in hyper growth mode.  They invited me to sit in on a project they had called “90 Days,” which was basically a collaboration between me, a writer and the rest of the team at the company.  The goal of the project was to expose what was going on within the company in relation to getting such a large injection of capital in an open, interesting and transparent way.  The framework for the project became a blog, which was based on a painting called “The Bento Box” which I created for the company.  Every day, a new blog entry was posted that corresponded to a piece of the painting.  It started off on day 1 with the painting being black and white and, as entries were added to the blog, each piece was rendered in color.  It was a great opportunity to work with an incredible team of people and to really match visual art with great writing and intellectual capital.  At the conclusion of the project, the CEO asked me to stay on board and paint in the office space full time as a way of encouraging creativity in the company’s culture.  It has been a great symbiotic relationship.  I have filled their space with my art and, in turn, I have been able to work within an amazing environment with very smart and talented people who give me instant feedback on my work.

2.)   Have you ever done any other collaborations?

When a client commissions a piece, my process is usually very collaborative in the sense that, having actually selected a subject, they are likely to have an opinion on the details.  In many cases, the subjects of commissions are close to the heart of the client and are not necessarily images that I have worked with before.  Therefore, it really helps to have an open dialog with a client to be sure that we are heading in the same direction.  I have been fortunate to have worked with some extremely talented clients over the years who are very creative in their own right.  These kinds of opportunities have been great collaborations and have enabled me to produce works that would have never come to life had these individuals not approached me.

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Seth B. Minkin: His Work

We listed a brief introduction to Seth on our site awhile back and now that our first piece is almost complete I thought we should do a more in depth look at his work.   He and Jeffrey have started collaborating and we will be able to share some photographs of the first watch soon.  Check back in a few days and read more about Seth’s experience in this project…

Seth Minkin,

Biography:

I have always considered myself an artist, however, my path to success has been anything but typical. After completing my formal art education, I veered off the traditional path into the art world and, instead, have built up a cult following by learning from some of the brightest minds in the business world. Through these affiliations, I have garnered national attention for my paintings from the likes of CBS Sunday Morning, the Pentagon and several magazine publications including Entrepreneur and Fortune. In spite of the fact that I have been unrepresented throughout my career, my work has continued to increase in popularity and my paintings have become important components in the collections of many astute and prominent art lovers and organizations.

My work is as much about the act of painting itself as it is about the subjects I embrace. While my technique has become more refined over the years, my approach has always been the same; I look for what is special in everyday objects, people, animals, etc., and build on that, exaggerating and accentuating features that appeal to me with an almost baroque sensibility. My art is a celebration of the subjects I choose to work with and the process of creating each new painting.

Over the span of my career, I have sold hundreds of my pieces to clients in Boston, Miami, Belgium, London, France, Chicago, San Francisco, New York, Washington DC and Los Angeles.

education

B.S. Art; Skidmore College, 1993 M.F.A.; Tufts University, 1996

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Seth Minkin: An exciting collaboration

A few weeks ago Jeffrey contacted Seth Minkin on a reccomendation from Rosanna.  (Thank you Rosanna) Seth is an artist based out of Boston and passionately creates  simple compositions that are quirky, full of color and life and capture the essence of his subjects.  I love his work.  Jeffrey and Seth hit is off immediately and are already working on a couple of projects.  (Once we get the approval from the client on the first piece they are making I will share some preliminary sketches with you.)

Seth Minkin, Montana Watch Company

The wonderful thing about a successful collaboration is that the end product is not what any one of the collaborators initially had in mind.  The transference of ides and the give and take of information makes something better than what either person could do on their own.  I think this relationship, just like the one we have with John Banovich, is going to prove to be a successful collaboration and will take The Montana Watch Company in a direction that it has not been so far.

What I love about the watches Jeffrey makes is that they become a canvas for these artistic collaborations.  We were talking the other day about the commissioned piece he has started with Seth’s painting.  His painting was in a vertical format and looked perfect in the rectangular 1930 case.  Although each of Jeffrey’s design is beautiful on their own they can integrate other people’s paintings on their dials and become something completely different and even more beautiful.

Here are some of my favorite paintings of Seth’s for you to enjoy and envision on our watches.  Seth has a show coming up on July 12 at the Liberty Hotel is Boston where we will meet him and see his work in person.  (By the way the Liberty Hotel is a gorgeous hotel that was a prison in its past life.  Seth had told me it was fantastic and he was right.)

Seth Minkin, Montana Watch Company, American Watch

Seth Minkin, Montana Watch

Seth Minkin, Montana Watch Company, American Watches

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A custom made Model 1925/Banovich Collaboration

American Watch Company, Montana Watch Company

Our dear friend and fine artist, John Banovich, brought one his clients into our shop in Livingston, Montana.  She, her brother and husband looked at the selection of inventory and decided that she would like to work with Jeffrey to create a custom Model 1925 American timepiece.  The unique aspect of our company is that you can work with Jeffrey and create ANYTHING you want, well almost anything.  You can start with any of the watch models and create something that is one of a kind.  If you want to take it a step farther you can even collaborate with Jeffrey to design a unique case design that becomes your design forever.  But that is another blog entry.

Montana Watch Co.  Montan Watch Company, American Watch Manufacturer

Custom 1925 detail

Jeffrey’s client, I will call her Kathy as she does not want to share her personal information,  wanted to incorporate one of John’s paintings onto the dial of her watch.  She and John thought of some options and decided on this painting of a cheetah.  One of our engravers hand engraved the piece onto the dial.  The bulino engraving takes hours to complete, and if the artist makes one wrong cut the whole dial may have to be thrown away and the process begun again.  If you ever visit our store or see us as a show ask us to show you the piece on our IPad as we can zoom in and you can see the individual engraving marks that make up the face of the dial.  It is incredible to see how many marks make up the face of such a small canvas/dial.  When working with such an intricate dial design we typically use markers instead of numbers so as not to take away from the beauty of the design.  These were created with 22K white gold and give a subtle contrast to the image on the dial.

Kathy wanted the case to be just as special as the dial and had it made out of 18K rose gold because she loved the color of it precious metal.  She asked to have bright cut engraving with inlaid diamonds both on the side and the front of the case, with an overlay rope pattern on the front.  Another one of our engravers took the case and started creating something very unique, even for our company.  Our engraver Diane, painstakenly engraved the case, created the overlay rope design and then inlaid the pavé diamonds on the bezel of the watch and then on the cuts she had engraved on the side of the case.  This is the first time one of our clients placed diamonds in the cuts of the engraving and the effect is subtle and beautiful.  It is perfect for someone who wants an understated watch from a distance and then something magnificent up close.

Kathy recently sent the watch back to us to customize the strap with with our leather smith, Howard Knight.  He will be creating a gold applique on the strap, another first for our company and we will post some photos once the strap is created and placed on the watch.

We love working with people who have a vision of something they want to create.  Your vision coupled with Jeffrey’s horological skill and aesthetic opens the doors to endless possibilities.  If you would like to work with Jeffrey, call up Catherine or stop by our store and schedule an appointment so we can start working on your watch.

Specs:

18k rose gold case with western bright-cut engraving and pavé diamonds, 18 karat gold rope and 14 karat gold winding crown.  14 karat gold dial with bulino engraving and 22k white gold dial markers with a diamond at the 12 o’clock position.   American alligator strap finished with hand engraved buckle.

+ 32mmx44mm case

+ Swiss movement, ETA cal. 2895-2, self-winding

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