This year, the CIA de-classified several documents, which revealed the purpose of Nevada’s Area 51. Though the US government claims the base was used for the U-2 spy plane program, meaning they remain tight-lipped about the alien bodies kept in cold storage, Grieb-Benzinger may have an inside source. A client requested a bespoke timepiece incorporating the Area 51 theme, and the end result causes us to wonder if maybe this client knows more than the CIA is willing to tell.
The client has a son who is an avid alien fan, so to fulfill this young man’s desire, Grieb & Benzinger created a dial filled with aliens against a diamond-set lunar surface. How did they conceive of these liquid metal, ruby eyed creatures; how did they craft so exact an appearance? The company wants us to believe that Hollywood was their inspiration, but then again, that is what the CIA would want them to say. Master goldsmith Albrecht Bolz brings science fiction to life in his three dimensional rendering, contained in an 18 K palladium white gold case. Since access to Area 51 is still restricted, there is much that we will never see, but this watch picks up where the CIA fell silent and shows how a talented watchmaker can craft a client’s vision, even if the details remain classified.
Turn the watch over, and you see the finishing for which the company is famous. Our solar system, perched on blackened bridges, make it seem that you are peering into space, maybe from the deck of your spaceship, instead of merely viewing the movement. We have seen Grieb & Benzinger’s skill in more traditional forms with their Shades of Grey or Black Tulip, and comparison will reveal exquisite skeletonization, guilloche and engraving common to them all. Using historical machines and tools, Grieb & Benzinger creates in-house movements and finishes all their movements by hand like the artisans of a bygone era; but here they reveal their joy in the craft as much as they do their skill.
When this twelve year old boy receives his one-of-a-kind custom watch (a huge thank you to Dad), fitted with an extra-short strap, he will have realized a dream. Isn’t that what owning a select watch is all about? We know he will be able to tell the time, show off the quirky dial to his fellow space nerds, and admire the solar system within the movement, but what is Grieb & Benzinger failing to mention? What else might this watch do – send secret communications? When the aliens arrive, we will have to ask them because no one here is talking.