Monochrome Watches
An online magazine dedicated to fine watches

Miki Eleta at the MAD Gallery in Geneva – One More Week

| By Frank Geelen | 4 min read |

When we told you about the otherworldly kinetic sculptures from Miki Eleta (read more here), we had no clue that he was going to expose his creations at the MAD Gallery. So imagine my amazement when I walked into the MAD Gallery when I was in Geneva for the SIHH. 

Miki Eleta’s must-see horological creations will be in the MAD Gallery until March 15, so if you’re in Geneva or in the neighborhood, then by all means, do yourself a favor and visit the MAD Gallery! It will give you the opportunity to admire Miki’s latest creation, the 2.8 meters high Hippocampus, that features a musical melody that will not repeat itself over a hundred years!

Miki Eleta Hippocampus

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Miki Eleta is an autodidact watchmaker/clockmaker. When looking at his ‘resume’ one can only come to the conclusion that he’s nothing short of genius. Here on Monochrome we don’t easily call someone a genius, but when you create your own escapement, like Miki Eleta did, it is totally justified.

A clock with a musical melody that won’t repeat itself over a hundred years, a self developed escapement, and another mind-blowing creation is the  Contiuum Mobile, a timepiece powered by a falling weight and features a tourbillon visible above the oblique axis. The weight powers the gear train, causing it to advance. You can seriously look at the Continuum Mobile for hours and hours, without getting bored. I caught myself trying to understand how it works and meandering at the same time… until Miki Eleta came back and started to explain this almost hypnotic time-telling device.

Miki Eleta Continuum Mobile

If you have the opportunity to visit the MAD Gallery in Geneva, then I’m sure you won’t be disappointed. Later this year, Miki Eleta’s horological sculptures (or shall we call them clocks?) can be admired at the AHCI stand, during the Baselworld Watch Fair, that takes place during the last week of April, in Basel, Switzerland. To close this evocation to visit the MAD Gallery, I present you some more reading material about Miki Eleta’s unusual career.

An a-typical path taken by a man of many stories

Born in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1950, Miki Eleta was seven years old when he was awoken one morning by the sound of flamenco music. Music became a revelation for him. He got hold of a guitar, learned to play and decided during the summer of his twenty-third year to join his sister in Switzerland in search of the sort of work that would allow him to buy his own guitar. At the end of three months, he felt settled. In a corner of his mind, Miki nurtured the idea of creating his own machines one day. The first opportunity for a “job” arose when someone asked him to create a range of samples from different metals. Instead, Miki proposed to make a music machine differentiating all of these metals. At the beginning of the 1990s, Miki focused primarily on restoring antiques, then clocks, and finally watches.

Until 2000, Miki created kinetic sculptures. Then, in 2001, a client questioned the precision of his pieces…. Miki asked him for a year in which to create a full-fledged clock to prove that his work was precise. Knowing absolutely nothing about clock-making design, he contacted Paul Gerber, a member of the prestigious AHCI (Horological Academy of Independent Creators) and known for his innovative clockworks. Miki called upon this Bernese clockmaker for a complete explanation of the internal workings of a timepiece.

A year later, with the clock completed, the client did not return so Miki could not show him his working clock. This is only one anecdote among dozens illustrating the life of this eccentric clockmaker who blindly goes ahead with crazy ideas. Miki claims that he never could have become a normal clockmaker, convinced that higher education fashions individuals as if from a mould, spoiling any possibility of creativity and invention.

For nearly 15 years, Miki has divided his time between his two passions: his family and his creations.

Miki Eleta creates his extraordinary timepieces at the rate of approximately two unique pieces per year. To date, he has created 28 kinetic clocks, seven of which are still available through his workshop. The rest of the time, he occupies himself by cultivating tomatoes in his kitchen garden, located 300 metres from his workshop. He goes on bicycle rides with his wife and takes notes in the small notebook that he carries with him at all times. Sadly, these days he doesn’t have much time to play the guitar… “I can’t be everywhere at the same time,” he admits. And what about holidays? Smiling widely through his greying beard, he replies, “What’s a holiday?”

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