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"One of a Kind"

This article by Aubrey Lawrence is taken from International Watch, issue 39, pages 58/9, February 1997.

David Knight has created an unusual watch which combines watchmaking and sculptural skills.

K1David Knight has worked as a watch repairer all his life. In the course of his activities he has learnt the art of lost wax casting. This is the process where the required object is first modelled in wax, then surrounded by clay or plaster of Paris. The wax is melted leaving a hollow mould into which molten metal is poured; finally, when the metal has set the mould is broken to release the casting.

A few years ago David Knight decided to make the move from watch repairer to watchmaker. He combined his horological skills with his sculptural ones to produce a unique watch, making every part himself. Only the springs and the Swiss jewel holes were acquired ready made.

The result of his labours - over 4,000 hours in all - is a remarkable and unusual pocket watch, externally somewhat reminiscent of the watches known as Nuremberg eggs which were made in the 16th century. The movement invites close inspection. It is an English lever with two spring barrels working in tandem. The first impression is the extent to which the movement has been skeletonised; there is no top plate, nor are there any bridges which in a skeleton movement would be pierced as much as rigidity allows. So it is not immediately obvious how the pivot holes and the dial are supported.

Slowly it dawns on one that this task is carried out by a number of sturdy little silver men - in watchmaking terminology they are cocks, but heavily disguised.

This is where the lost wax casting comes in; each silver figure is individually cast and no two are alike - repetition is in any case not possible with the lost wax process. The effect is of entering another world, with the silver figures striving to hold everything steady amid a flurry of rotating wheelwork.

David Knight has many ideas for further watches using his combination of skills. As is often the way with individual makers, the production of the next watch has to be financed by the sale of the last. So a collector might be able to acquire this unusual piece which, as the first creation by an individual maker, has a particular value and interest.