Monochrome Watches
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Just Because

Turning Old Grandfather Clocks into New Works of Horological Art

Itay Noy, a creative mind with a different outlook, turns the grandfather clock around and makes it cool again.

| By Robin Nooy | 3 min read |

Modern watchmaking is a form of romantic mechanical art for the most part. It serves no real purpose any longer in terms of precision, but rather, it is something that captures the imagination and creative expression of many. And in a world where things continue to be digitalised, it’s often a welcome escape to fiddle around with gears, levers, racks and pinions. Even if that ever-present smartphone in our pocket keeps much better tine and can do so much more. But what if you flip this idea upside down? What if you embrace the digitalisation of technology and give a new spin to something that’s obsolete? What if you could reimagine something that’s very outdated and give it a new lease of life? Itay Noy, the hyper-creative indie watchmaker from Israel, has done just that with grandfather clocks a couple of years ago!

Fortune would have it that I stumbled on the spark that triggered this story on Instagram, the wonderous social media platform that brings the world to the palm of our hand. It is there where I noticed Itay Noy himself adjusting what appeared to be a grandfather clock. And I intentionally say “appeared to be” as it’s not actually a grandfather clock as we know it, but rather a new creative form of a grandfather clock. Itay Noy, working as an indie watchmaker for almost a quarter of a century now, is known for his unique way of rethinking and envisioning fun and practical complications and displays. We’ve seen it through watches like the Part Time, the Time Quarters and the Night Flight collection, and we can see that same free-thinking spirit in this range of, well, clocks.

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The whole concept of these clocks is ingeniously simple. Take what is old and, admittedly, outdated and unloved and make it fresh again. How? By finding a way to keep its soul intact but also giving it something more, something new. Itay took a set of mechanical clocks and immortalised their image on a white plaque, the smallest being 90cm by 70cm and the biggest measuring a whopping 250cm by 90cm. Behind the white face, with the imprint of a clock on it, sits a digital movement that is capable of doing exactly what each of the ten different clocks was able to do.

Tell time, obviously, but also chime when needed. This concept is pretty cool, and in my eyes, it turns this into something rather surprising. I am no fan of such clocks, although I fully understand their significance in watchmaking history, but this concept makes each one more than just a clock. It makes them attractive working pieces of art, blending something outdated with modern technology.

This idea is not something new, as Itay made these clocks when studying in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, where he obtained his Master’s Degree in Design. First presented at the Droog Gallery in Amsterdam, the clocks have been exhibited around the world. Currently, some are in Itay’s workshop in Tel Aviv, while others have been on display in the Palm Beach Gallery for about a month. Each is limited to 24 pieces, so yes, they are available if you’re interested!

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1 response

  1. Bleh, exactly what I don’t applaud. Make new grandfather clock designs or reproduce the old designs, but this is just a lazy attempt of being clever…and failing at it.
    I would welcome any attempts to create anything new even if not my favourite stuff, but him limiting these copy-paste pieces of printer-made junk to 24 pieces in an attempt to pretend they’re ‘rare’ and raise their price takes this to award-winning douchebaggery and I’m no longer neutral but I’m actually now against this nonsense. This is exactly what makes the world a WORSE place: using cheapening digitalisation and then taking away the only benefit it brings: cost-cutting and artificially reversing that effect in trying to grift for MORE money.


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