The independent watchmaker Angular Momentum & Manu Propria has released another fine Metiers d’Art timekeeper. This time, the watch in question is featured with a miniature pigment painting that recreates Shepherdess, the rococo-styled original made by Jean-Honore Fragonard. The watch shows the current time in a relaxed manner with an aperture at the bottom of the dial. Like all of the watches of the manufacturer, the piece with a historic and manually-wound movement is made and painted by hand of Martin Pauli.
Angular Momentum & Manu Propria is an independent watchmaker from Bern who tends to release a modest number of timekeepers. The reason behind such small level of production is explained in the very name of the brand, or to be more precise, in its second part. Manu Propria is Latin for “my own hand” and it refers to the fact that all of the watches that the brand releases are made personally by the company’s founder Martin Pauli who in the course of the production relies on his hands and the use of hand-operated machines. The master artisan and watchmaker also stands behind the captivating miniature paintings that grace his products.
In this specific instance, Pauli opted to recreate the famed Shepherdess painting in honor of the upcoming Year of the Goat, as it is stated in the Chinese zodiac. It is a pigment painting placed on the underside of the sapphire crystal. Originally, the scene that depicts a shepherdess with one of the sheep from her flock was painted by a rococo artist, Jean-Honore Fragonard, in the late 18th century. The vivid-colored painting that, as the brand says “conveys an atmosphere of intimacy and veiled eroticism”, is one of the best known works of art of the French painter and printmaker.
It was clear that the manufacturer wanted to liberate most of the watch’s face for the intricate and beautiful product of miniature painting decorative technique. That is why the timepiece has no central hands, but it instead utilizes a digital time display. The time is shown in the manner that evokes Sousciption watches by Abraham-Louis Breguet. There is only an aperture that reveals a small section of the rotating hour disc made of solid chunk of polished mother-of-pearl. The hour disc with Arabic numerals is graduated in between the numerals to enable the reading of approximate minutes as well. This sort of time indication is quite common for the horological works of art that the Bernese watchmaker creates.
The functioning of Shepherdess 2015 – Year of the Goat timekeeper, on the other hand, is based on a historic movement made by Fabrique d’ebauches de Fontainmelon. Specifically, this time the movement is caliber FHF 96 with 17 jewels. It is a manually-wound movement that features anchor escapement with pallets. Its diameter is 11 ½ lignes (35.6 mm), while the thickness is 4.5 mm. It utilizes Incablcok shock-protection system as the guard from physical stress and it beats at the slow rate of 18,000 vph. It is also important to note that it has a power storage that lasts for two days. As for the decorations of the movement, Martin Pauli opted for the Geneva waves motif for the main-plate in the combination with blued screws, a crown wheel and ratchet wheels.
Angular Momentum & Manu Propria Shepherdess 2015 Year of the Sheep timepiece is placed inside a round 18 K red gold housing with the diameter of 41 mm. The case is attached to the wristlet with the means of peculiar looking horizontal lugs. The attachment itself is a black lacquered leather strap.