Timothy John is an Australian contemporary visual artist born in Adelaide in 1958. He has been exhibiting professionally since 1979. John’s work is represented by some of the finest galleries throughout his homeland of Australia and the rest of the world.
“Discovered” by leading Australian art entrepreneur, collector and gallerist, Kym Bonython, in the late 1970s, Timothy John has gone on to be a respected member of the Australian art scene, with contributions on a local and national level. Timothy John designs for luxury brands and is well known in the art, design and luxury field.
So, to got in depth about Timothy’s artistic work, I decided to approach him to seek more information about his experiences in such collaboration and to understand further about the whole process of custom hand painting of this limited edition 10 pieces dial for Diavolo Del Mare. But before that, it’s an honour for me to introduce Timothy John through his self-introductionary of his passion to me as below :
“I admit I am not a miniaturist nor am I interested in creating perfect painstakingly detailed pieces with the use of magnifying lenses (I work in natural light with my normal eyesight), I do greatly admire the work of such artists, those that can paint in minute detail, it really is amazing, however I want my work on watch dials and pens (I also create unique pieces for Montegrappa) to have the passion and the emotion of my work on large canvases.
I want my dials to have the ‘soul’ of my larger works, I want you to see the process, the creative force behind the imagery… I want these pieces to be more than ‘slick’ decoration.”
About Timothy John’s Dial Painting Process :
I create my watch dials on blank metal discs, I hand prepare each disc by sanding and cleaning, over a period of several hours, then depending on the imagery I want to paint, I will lay down several layers of coloured oil paint pigments, then burnish and sand back with ultra fine wet sand paper, these layers need to be thoroughly dry before I proceed to the next stage, I do this until I get the desired depth of colour and surface texture.
Then I concentrate on the featured painted image for the dial. I use oil pigments, the same that I use in my works on canvas, as I am comfortable with them and their permanence is unquestionable, I use small sable brushes, but I have also been know to use my fingers and other instruments, to get the desired results…it is very similar to how I create my large works on canvas.
In the case of my skulls, I underpaint the skull structure, slowly building up the image with consecutive layering of oil paint, until I have reached the desired effects I want. Again, each of these painted layers needs to be thoroughly dry before I proceed to the next stage.
After I have completed the image, I leave it to dry for several days, I then hand burnish the entire dial by gently rubbing it by hand with glassine paper and finally with a pure silk cloth, then I leave for a few more days to “settle”, and then I seal the image with either a gloss or matte spray lacquer.
The finishing process can take anywhere between 7-14 days, and a completed dial takes approximately 1 month from concept to completion. At the end of the process I want to be able to hold the dial in my hand and feel a sense of beauty while at the same time a preciousness and a strength.
What is Timothy working on now…
Currently, he is collaborating with Boegli Watches Limited, a brand from Switzerland since 2000 was founded by Mr. Boegli who is aspired to create unique collections of musical wrist and pocket watches. One of Timothy’s on-going art project is the “The 4 Seasons featuring the music of Vivaldi” and he is currently into 3/4 of the season as shown below which are Winter, Autumn and Summer.
Next, I would like to thank Mr. William @ Regia Timepiece for the opportunity to be the 1st reviewer to write up about their latest model, Regia Diver (code name : Armour Fish). During our meet up, Mr. William was kind enough to showcase some of his other Regia models to me, and while doing so, 1 watch immediately caught my attention ! He says I have expensive taste, and maybe I do because that watch is the limited edition Diavolo Del Mare TJ2017 (Only 10 pieces are produced); a collaboration artwork between Regia‘s watch design and Timothy John‘s custom hand-painted dial. This is 1 of many Timothy’s watch collaboration, as he has done a few other projects before with Alessandro Baldieri, Montres Militaire, and many others. Let me start off with some photoshoots of the TJ2017 Green & their earlier version 2016 Brown Non-Limited Production :
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Diavolo Del Mare TJ 2017 Specifications
Let’s start off with the technical specifications. Always good to know what we are buying into, right ?
- Model: DIAVOLO DEL MARE TJ 2017
- Movement: NH35 automatic, self winding, hacking, 21600 bph
- Case Diameter: 44mm excluding the crown, lug to lug 54mm, height 13mm
- Case material: Brass
- Bezel: Fixed, 12 angle
- Crown: 7.35mm, Screw down, twin-seal
- Glass: Sapphire Crystal
- Dial colour : Timothy John painted dial
- Water-resistance: 10 ATM
- Buckle: solid brass
- Case back : Ion plated stainless steel screw-in with sapphire crystal
- Strap : 24mm width, 5mm thick
- Hands : Gold color
Because this is so very limited edition, and I really mean it because only 10 of these were produced, so it’s very rare that such reviews are available as these watches are usually bought by either art collectors or fans of Timothy John or people who appreciates art on wrist, rather than a time-telling product. When Mr. William gave me the green light to have a field test on it, I was so fortunate to check out Timothy’s skull work again because previously I saw his work on Alessandro Baldieri project, and I can safely say that I’m a huge fan of his artwork ! And to finally able to write about it and even had the chance to communicate with him, just makes this review even more delightful to prepare.
So, is this a watch or is this an art ? Imagine buying a large canvas paint work, but comes in a very small size. That’s how much detail of effort is required to produce such dial. To me, this is a watch worth of any watch collector because whenever I look at the time, my eyes are always star-struck by the artwork on it. I’m not saying that I have an eye for art, but when I look at the amount of effort and time spent for each dial (was told each dial takes up a month to complete !), it makes me appreciate the watch even more. Below is a close-up view of the dial without any photoshop, instagram tool or any other apps to beautify the picture. It’s plain photo taken through my Samsung S7 Edge…
Moving on next is the case. As you can see from the above, it’s made from brass material, which gives it a patina feel already from day 1. Around the bezel, It’s customized to engrave the model name and the collection details, which is TJ2017 (representing Timothy John for 2017). On the caseback, it’s a see-through sapphire glass showcasing the Seiko NH35 movement. Can’t comment on the straps as it was not the stock strap that would be included but at 24mm, it’s easy to get good quality straps out there in the market. Lastly, I’ll like to highlight again that there are 10 of these (different colour each) produced and at this very moment preparing this review, I was told there are 4 left ! So that means, it’s actually a very 1/1 limited edition version rather than 1/10 because every dial colour is different ! OMG ! For the price of US$925 listed on Regia’s website, I think this is truly value for money for art collectors and people who iconize skull work. So, let’s move on next to who’s behind the work of art then…
A Special Deal on The 2016 Brown version for MBWW
Well, I believe this is the last piece of the 2016 custom painted skull dial by the man himself, Timothy John and it was on a non-limited production. However, because I am such a nice guy, I manage to convince Mr. William to give a special price if any of my readers are interested for this last piece 2016 Brown. Just drop an e-mail to Mr. William ([email protected]) and mention “Microbrand Watch World“, and he’ll do a special deal for you ! So hurry, this is the last piece and you don’t want to be disappointed !