Prague’s W&F watch-making atelier today presents its first watches, which have been under development for almost two years. On this day, W&F Atelier also presents itself to the public.
Wei & Friends watch-making atelier’s leading figure and founder is young designer and watch-maker, Martin Weichert, whose dream was to design and personally make high quality yet reasonably-priced mechanical watches of original design with much of the work undertaken by hand. Today, his dream has become a reality with the introduction of the first two models from the Pure range, which marry 21st century clean curves with the making of selected parts by hand in accordance with traditions from centuries gone by.
A wide range of renowned watch brands offer unique limited editions which involve a high level of hand crafting, but most of them are priced at a level out of reach to the majority of admirers. W&F’s challenge was to introduce a watch to the market which would offer a similar experience while keeping prices at a reasonable level.
Attachment 355489The first collection features vitreous enamel dials, hand-wound movement, innovative case and complicated, hand-crafted hands. The watch designs come exclusively from the pen of Martin Weichert, atelier founder, who also personally makes all hand-made parts. The limited edition watches will be created in partnership with artists in various fields whose personal artistic expression will contribute to their great sense of originality. Other partners and friends contribute by offering consultation in the fields of technology, craft techniques and construction and technical innovations. The name of Wei & Friends Atelier pays tribute to them.
The Art of Less
Attachment 355488The atelier’s approach is expressed in the name Watchsculptures. It expresses the way of looking at a watch as an individual object of art. Inspiration for the artistic concept of the watches was found in the work of famous sculptors of the 20th century, such as Henry Moore. The atelier places emphasis on hand making all parts of its watches apart from the mechanism and case which are bespoke manufactured by the highest skilled firms in Switzerland and Germany. The other parts (hands, dial, lugs etc.) are handmade in the atelier using traditional methods inspired by watch-making ateliers of the 18th and 19th centuries. The hand making of the enamelled dials and the method of blueing the end sections of the hands guarantee that no two watches anywhere in the world will be exactly the same. In additional to an artistic approach, technical innovation has also played a major role. Whether it is in terms of the floating seating system for the sensitive internal parts of the watch (‘antishock’), or the innovative system for affixing the strap which allows for the use of standard straps of 20, 22 or 24mm or the clever illumination of the dial by reflected light, the design factors in a lot more than mere aesthetics.
Attachment 355490 Attachment 355491 Attachment 355493The Pure and Unique model ranges share the same steel case of 44 mm diameter and 12 mm height. A bold side profile, a subtly upsweeping face, each curve and surface is the result of more than forty separate case construction and design steps. The movement (mechanism) itself is a modified Eta 6498. Together with the dial and hands, it is set into the case with the use of an anti-shock system which absorbs much of the energy during bumps or falls of the watch onto the ground and protects not only the sensitive mechanism but also the fragile enamelled dial and complex hands from damage.
Attachment 355492Ateliers production is due to hand-made realization limited to just a few pieces per month. The Pure range is the basic model range. It comes in two configurations – with a pure white enamelled dial or with a structured black enamelled dial. Limited editions will be made also for the Unique range, each with only a small number of watches, as well as any special madeto-order single editions, using artistic enamelling techniques or expensive materials.