Hearing about the participation of JC Biver Watches to Only Watch 2023, I grabbed the opportunity to ask Jean-Claude Biver and Pierre Biver a few questions. They answered together.
Participation in Luc Pettavino’s exceptional Only Watch Auction – a long-time desire or a moment’s impulse? What led to the participation?
JCB’s friendship with Luc Pettavino goes back to even before OnlyWatch and from the start he was a supporter of that amazing project! In 2009, we supported the auction by buying the Lot 28, the Patek Philippe Celestial, for nearly 1 million of USD. IN 2009, WE SUPPORTED THE AUCTION BY BUYING LOT 28, THE PATEK PHILIPPE CELESTIAL ref.5106, FOR NEARLY 1 MIO DOLLARS. For our brand, we met Luc in 2022 to discuss our participation and it was an opportunity we could not miss; because of the great cause it supports, and because it’s a great platform to go a little crazy on a unique watch!
A wristwatch where the classical time reading is obsolete – a poetical dream in which the time itself is irrelevant, but each moment counts: What is the message behind Catharsis?
Catharsis, just as the psychological term, is a way to purge ourselves from some of life’s great fears ; the passing of time and vastness of eternity!
The focus was on suppressing the traditional time reading to free the wearer from seeing hours and minutes pass by, and at the same time being able to chime it whenever pleased!
Absolute tranquillity – for me, the dial reminds me of a superb night on Geneva Lake’s shore with the moon just rising and the shy rays reflecting on the waves put in motion by a gentle breeze. Despite being tired, the calm of the scene kept me there for more than I could realise, and it is a dear memory… But is Catharsis destined to be freely interpreted, or it evoke a certain moment or feeling? And it also made me wonder – is the Moon rising or falling?
Catharsis was born out of a late-night conversation with an artist friend of mine. When we started working on it I felt like I wanted to design a dial that could represent the depth of the message this watch is trying to send. For me, it had to be a scene full of strength, but with a certain fragility at the same time, it needed to represent our finitude in comparison to the infinite and what best for that than nature? The sea, the moon and the stars! I will leave some mystery around it, and can’t wait to hear many interpretations.
Was there a technical or artistic consideration in choosing the dial’s materials? Like the opal insertion in obsidian…
Technique is at the service of art for us ! In this case, the specifications we gave our team was; « re-imagine Métiers d’arts on a very traditional scene ». From there onwards, we found the incredible setting that would become the sea, the mood was quite an obvious choice in meteorite, the sky is nod to our other pieces, and finally, the stars made of Australian Opal because of its incredible hues!
You opted to still give it a certain practicality by having an hour hand on the back of the watch:
- Is the movement reversed? Are we actually looking at the watchmaker’s side (in a gorgeous interpretation)?
The movement is sort of reversed, it is very similar to the series movement but has the hour gear train sent through to the back of the movement, over the bridges !
- Is the serpent hand bearing a special signification? Or was it just chosen for the unusual and now rarely met appearance? (I might be mistaken, but the last time these types of hands were in trend, it was the ‘90s)
It has a special Raison-D’être, but we want people to have their shot a finding it ! It’s never as fun if everything is brought to you so easily haha!
- Why not keep Catharsis, when it comes to evoking time, a singular sense experience only? Why still displaying the time?
To give birth to the idea of Catharsis, we NEED it to be a watch. It has no more meaning otherwise ! The fact it still keeps time and offers the wearer the possibility to access it whenever is the heart of the concept. If we suppressed time, wouldn’t we not have this thought process, to begin with? Interesting question!