The Swiss-based Dutch artist Kees Englebarts has launched its latest unique timekeeper called Platinum Tsuba. The piece which is restricted to just a single copy depicts a lovely scene with a hawk and a sparrow which were created on a captivating dial. The entire face of the model is decorated with the use of an extremely laborious metalworking decorative technique which makes the material appear as natural wood since it replicates its natural patterns. It was originally developed to embellish the hand guards (which are called tsuba in Japanese) on traditional samurai swords. The artistic watch also features the same type of beautifications on its new-old-stock AS 690 mechanical caliber with a power storage of over an entire week. This work of art is placed in a large platinum housing.
The man who stands behind this captivating piece is Kees Engelbarts. He was initially a hand-engraver who subsequently visited Japan in order to study an ancient local decorative technique called mokume-gane. The procedure was first developed in Japan in the 17th century and it was at first used solely to decorate guards on katanas, but it later spread to various objects. Mokume-gane can be translated as ‘wood eye metal” or “wood grain metal” and it includes metal decorations that mimic the apperance of wood with natural grain.
Once Engelbarts mastered the technique he started cooperating with various watch-making brands in the creation of different watch components. At the turn of the century, the Dutchman decided to make his own brand so that his works of art would bear his own name. Since then, Engelbarts has been creating captivating pieces. Since the process of decoration takes very long and since it is done completely by hand by the master artisan himself, each of Engelbarts watches is made in a process which lasts several months. No wonder that the new model Platinum Tsuba is made in just a single piece.
As for the new watch, its face depicts an iconic scene seen on one of the best known and the prettiest examples of tsuba decorations. It is a hawk and a sparrow scene originally made by Hamano Masanobu in the mid 19th century. In its creation, Engelbarts used several noble metals.
The background for the scene was made with the use of the combination of white gold and silver which was subsequently treated with acid which alters the appearance of silver and gives that mokuma-gane look of wood grain to the surface. The branch on which the birds are sitting is made from the combination of pink gold and shakudo alloy (which consists mostly of copper with the added small percentage of gold).
Moreover, the hawk is made of rose gold with its claws made of yellow gold and silver which is the same mixture used for the creation of its claws. The leafs between the two birds are made of green gold, while the sparrow is made of bronze.
Each of the elements of the complex and mesmerizing scene were naturally made by hand and later on soldered and then engraved, once again by hand. Additionally, some parts are treated with chemicals for a patinated appearance.
The lovely dial, placed beneath a sapphire crystal with glare-proofed treatment is combined with a large platinum housing. The platinum case is 49 mm wide and 19 mm thick. It is round and slightly irregularly shaped since it includes an expansion at the lower right which was necessary because of the extraordinary large barrel of the movement. By the way, the movement used in this instance is NOS AS 690. These new-old-stock movements from the mid 20th century are exclusively used by Kees Engelbarts in his products. It is a hand-wound mechanical movement and it has an extremely opulent power reserve which lasts for around eight days.
Just like the lovely dial, the movement is also decorated with mokume-gane technique which can be seen on the back side of the housing which is made with a transparent sapphire section.
There is still no exact information regarding the price of the piece. However, considering the uniqueness, the lovely appearance, the materials and the personal hand performed work of Kees Engelbarts that were used in its making, there is no doubt that the price tag will astronomical and that the watch will be available solely to those watch and art aficionados with the deepest pockets.