In the years that I’ve been doing Monochrome, I’ve met many great people, with many fantastic ideas, and many impressive projects. One of them is Christian Bissener, who runs a great watch store in Luxemburg, selling some of the most desirable vintage watches (you should really have a look and visit), and he also represents some of our beloved independent watchmakers. Recently Christian launched a new collaboration with one of these independent watchmakers and the famous painter Leon Zanella, who make a one-off dial, hand-painted that is. And it’s for a good cause as well! So win win all round.
A part of the proceeds of every Benzinger by Zanella timepiece will go to a charity organization that supports families with children who suffer from a form of cancer; € 500 Euro to be precise. When you consider that these watches are entirely hand-made, the movements are skeletonized and engraved by hand, and there’s a choice of hands, indexes and more, then the retail price of € 12.900 Euro is very, very reasonable. Let me show you what Christian Bissener, Jochen Benzinger and Leon Zanella created as a first piece.
“Watches meet art” is the project’s byline, however these watches are already art, even without the hand-painted dial. However more about the Benzinger watches later, now first the dials. Every Benzinger by Zanella comprises a painting made by Léon Zanella as dial. The dial will be hand-painted with a miniaturized copy of one of Léon Zanella’s original paintings, and there’s a choice of 68 paintings to choose from.
The hour indexes will be printed onto the sapphire crystal, and so will the name ‘Benzinger’. Then there’s a choice of hands – Breguet style hands, or feuille (leaf) hands – and you can also choose whether you want a small second hand or not. Now the “art” that I referred to before is next on the menu, and are the numerous choices you can make for the movement’s engravings, skeletonizations, guilloche and various other treatments. Jochen Benzinger is known among collectors for his artisanal engraved movements, which are a piece of art, horological art that is.
So one way or another, this is not a watch that you just buy. The selection process of selection a painting (that is made to order) and selecting the numerous possibilities for a personalized movement, well, that will take a little while. So it might just be a good idea to start the ordering process soon, so Santa can bring you a nice watch. Of course, every watch will come with a ‘certificat d’originalité’ from Zanella. These highly exclusive and unique timepieces are only available through Christian Bissener’s boutique in Luxemburg (yes, you can contact Christian online or via phone) at a price of € 12.900 Euro.