Art + Horology: Monkey Style

What has to be the coolest and most unique Year of the Monkey design yet thus far, this concept will be a collaborative effort from the Central Academy of Fine Arts and Koncise, a luxury watch brand from Beijing famous for their intricately detailed enamel dials.

[Parts of the following are roughly translated from the original articles which found here and here]

With Beijing opera as a design inspiration, the watches use contemporary aesthetics to step away from the traditional monkey imagery of red, white and yellow. Instead, using an overall tone of purple evoking a mysterious new styling. The purple dial tones combined with the rose gold case present a peculiar and magnificent visual experience. With the exquisite enamel dial work, this watch emphasizes the combination of traditional Chinese culture with modern contemporary artisanship, as well as high end watchmaking.

许航许 - Xu hang xu

许航许 - Xu hang xu

The watch series, called BǐngShēngGēngYín (丙申庚寅) was designed by Central Academy of Fine Arts teacher Xǔ Háng Xǔ (许航许), pictured. This is her first watch, and the unique design is quickly gaining recognition for its unusual use of color in within the field of watches and collectibles. She answered a few questions about her inspiration:

Q: In your mind, what is the most classic monkey imagery?

A: In 1986, I was 2 years old when when the television series Journey to the West was popular, so this monkey imagery has been with me the longest. I learned later that the series was also based on a popular Beijing opera.

Q: What's the evolution of the BingSheng GY?

A: Based on Confucianism and wanting to carry forward traditional Chinese cultural ideas, I sought to find the closest traditional cultural heritage themes and finally selected the Beijing opera monkey mask as the basis for the design element. Chinese culture has a high degree of recognition of abstract art, so I wanted to improve on the already recognizable shape from the Beijing opera monkey face. I used modern aesthetic isomeric theory (的同质异构原理) as the theoretical basis for the layout, and together with the Koncise team inspected every element, every line, every color in the composition and how they would impact people's emotions. We went through numerous case and strap options, and finally arrived at the most comfortable combination.

Q: What do these watches represent to you?

A: In my mind there are three ideas being represented here. First is precision; Koncise has an exquisite watchmaking craft heritage. Second is to convey the sense of modern times. Third is an outbreak of inspiration. In the Chinese lunar calendar, the Year of the Monkey comes every 12 years. Overall the watch is designed to capture and convey the significance of traditional Chinese culture since the beginning of the lunar calendar and its origins as far back as the Yellow Emperor.

The watches will be available in two design styles, as well as two case options. There is a high end diamond-set case as well as a standard case, both in elegant rose gold. Pricing and availability here soon.

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