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September 19, 2014

For Greubel, Forsey and Wigan, A Large Challenge Over Small Things

By Neharika Padala

In hindsight, it shouldn’t be a surprise that Willard Wigan, famous for creating the world’s smallest sculptures, would end up partnering with watch wizards Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey.


Last night at Trinity House, the gallery with locations in London, New York, and The Cotswold, was the Gotham venue for what is called, “Artistic co-creation Art Piece 1 – A work in progress.”

Art Piece 1 will feature a nano-sculpture by Willard Wigan set into its own dedicated space within the timepiece. A miniature microscope set into the caseband will allow full appreciation of this chef-d’œuvre. Willard Wigan’s artwork in Art Piece 1 will be complemented by a 30° inclined double tourbillion, which will ensure that the timepiece is as accurate as it is alluring.

According to a press release, “When Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey first encountered Willard Wigan’s nano-sculpture installations in the eye of a needle or on the head of a pin, they found that they shared the same language of the ‘miniaturist.’ Initially, Willard Wigan thought that fine watchmaking was too far from his artistic realm; However, after visiting the Greubel Forsey manufacture, he became fully aware of the ‘Greubel Forsey spirit,’ and how Robert and Stephen’s seemingly irrational obsession with perfection resonated with his own artistic sensibilities.”

Not surprisingly, the three artists decided to create their cooperative work the hard way. According to the collaborators, “It would have been much easier to simply insert one of Willard Wigan’s micro-sculptures into an already existing Greubel Forsey timepiece. However, Robert and Stephen wanted to work together with Willard Wigan to create a work of art befitting his sculpture and artistic spirit.”

The result will be an entirely new timepiece in which they have incorporated a miniature microscope. Despite its size, this optical-grade instrument offers 23-fold magnification –a significant technical challenge in itself. The only way to appreciate Willard Wigan’s sculpture will be with the eye close to the miniature lens.

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