Watches: ArtyA Son of Gears Shams Collection

By Thierry Ané on March 12, 2015

For many watch enthusiasts, the mention of the Swiss brand ArtyA may bring back memories of highly creative and resolutely unique watch cases obtained by hitting the stainless steel with a high voltage to create the effect of lightning as well as some hand-engraved frames whose ruggedness was enhancing the hand-crafted, almost home-made, nature.

However artistic these creations may have been, one has to admit that even for someone who liked them when they were released, the appeal waned quickly and once you had amazed all your friends with the originality of your watch, you no longer felt like wearing it so much.

This has nothing to do with ArtyA: the same goes for virtually anything that ventures too much off the beaten track. We may be drawn to it at first, but conformity and classical tastes rapidly catch up and we end up being puzzled by why we appreciated it in the first place!

There is a fine line between original and innovative or plainly provocative and phony. Every big artist or fashion designer will tell you that in his early years he experimented, pushing the boundaries to the limits of kitsch and lack of taste, before being able to create more mature objects, innovative enough to showcase his personal style but refined enough to stand the test of time.

For me, this is exactly what ArtyA managed to do when they introduced a definitely more classical case while retaining some of the unexpected elements that are the trademarks of the brand and a perfect showcase of the founders’ vision. With a generous 44 mm diameter, this round case with a beautiful polished finish, slightly bevelled bezel and elegant lugs looks absolutely stunning with crown protectors and the ArtyOr lateral inserts.

Apart from the guitar-shaped pieces that remain at the heart of the Son of Sound line, every collection now offers stunning timepieces with this frame but still remarkable by their originality. This goes for the subversive Russian Roulette in the Son of a Gun line or the Classic models in the Son of Earth collection beautifully decorated by in-house artist Dominique Arpa-Cirpka, and now for the equally awesome Shams timepieces in the Son of Gears series.

This time around, the brand plays with the ancient art of skeletonising but as they put it, “giving it the full ArtyA treatment”! The manually-wound Swiss-made calibre with 52 hours of power reserve has been carefully hollowed-out to let the light go through and reveal the beauty of the mechanical parts. Unlike traditional skeleton models, though, the visual effect is extremely contemporary due to the skeletonising work itself and the surface treatments that have been selected.

There are six models in the line so far and they all cleverly play with appealing colour contrasts to tell a different story. Three stainless steel watches limited to 99 pieces each are available. The Silver Shams boasts an all-silver movement combined with golden facetted Dauphine hands for optimal legibility and blackened Artyor lateral inserts. Some of the movement’s parts of the Black Shams have been coated with black PVD while others retain the silver colour. For this model, the ArtyOr inserts have the same rose gold colour as the hours and minutes hands. Lastly, the Golden Shams features an entirely gold-coloured skeleton calibre and lateral inserts with steel facetted hands.

Two more 99-piece limited versions show the versatility of PVD coating as a decorative element even for the 44 mm case. The Dark Shams presents a beautiful black PVD case with brown lateral inserts and a gilt skeleton movement with contrasting silver hands. As the name implies, the coating of the Shams Choco’s case is chocolate brown with rose gold inserts and hands paired with a blackened skeleton work. Lastly, a unique piece entirely crafted in rose gold is also available. This Shams Gold also features a gold-coloured PVD movement with silver hands.

The Silver Shams, Black Shams, and Golden Shams retail for just CHF 4,400. The price tag of the Dark Shams is CHF 5,400 and one has to spend CHF 6,400 to own the Shams Choco. Being a unique piece with a case entirely crafted in rose gold, the Shams Gold is understandably more expensive and costs CHF 26,900.

Whatever model catches your attention, they all share the same contemporary aesthetics and refined elegance. With their very affordable price tags, they also emphasise the fact that one does not need to break the bank to wear a very fine watch that shows both your appreciation of traditional watchmaking and your taste for modern designs.

For more information please visit the ArtyA web site.