Keeping time is one of the oldest arts where function precedes form. Romanticized and fictionalized countless times in history, the ability to tell time is nowadays taken for granted, and even more so on a portable scale. Today, watchmaking is as much an art as it is a science. The three following watches are perfect examples of classical horology blending with modern aesthetics.

Konstantin Chaykin Joker

Creativity abound, Russian clockmaker Konstantin Chaykin defies the rules of tradition by making over-the-top pieces without sacrificing purpose. His now-iconic Joker is one of the most sought-after watches among enthusiasts. Built around the Swiss-made ETA 2824-2 automatic winding movement and a custom module, the Joker is an instantly recognizable limited-run bespoke timepiece made to each customer’s specifications.

Picture credit: Konstantin Chaykin

H. Moser & Cie. Swiss Icons

Never to shy away from controversy, watchmaking bad boys H. Moser & Cie. was determined to take a swipe at the industry with the Swiss Icons. The end result is a grotesque mish-mash of distinct characteristics that made other watches famous, such as the red-and-blue bezel from the Rolex GMT-Master II and the octogonal shape of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. True to H. Moser’s own slogan “Very rare”, there is only one in the world. And its whereabouts are, to this day, unknown.

Picture credit: HODINKEE

Ulysse Nardin Freak

What happens when everything known to watchmaking is overdone to outrageous proportions? The Freak by Ulysse Nardin might just be the answer to that question. In a true display of technological innovation, it is the very first watch to use silicon components. From its enormous hand-winding spring peeking out the casing’s backside, to the entire movement serving as the minute-hand, the Freak undoubtedly lives up to its name.

Picture Credit: Ulysse Nardin

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