Designing something both beautiful and incredibly unique has been in the DNA of Linde Werdelin since just about day one. Their watches are regularly released in incredibly limited numbers—typically between 59 and 100 units of any individual series—but this hand-worked piece of art will only be produced in a series of less than five. Why? Among other reasons, engraving Grade 5 Titanium is one seriously tough process.
Johnny Dowell (a.k.a. Johnny King Nerd) has been in the engraving trade since he was 14, but recently started taking his craft honed on firearms into the realm of watchmaking. His works have recently been featured in Mayfair and Revolution Magazine, but, on his last two projects with Linde Werdelin, he flexed his creative muscles even further. First, he depicted a writhing sea creature on the Oktopus Reef, and now he’s engraved planets and spatial bodies on the new Oktopus Crazy Universe. But as freeing as the creative process was, it wasn’t without its challenges.
“Working on Titanium Grade 5 was a great test for me; I doubt I will ever engrave a harder material in my life,” Dowell says of the process. “My everyday tools snapped and shattered as soon as I even touched the titanium. I switched to tungsten carbide tools, which were definitely better-suited to the task, but even they were pushed to the limit.”
The choice to go with a space theme with this latest piece was quite the logical choice. The base watch is Linde Werdelin’s immensely popular Blumoon (known for its stunning moon-phase), so adding further reference to the world above made perfect sense. All told, the complex engraving process rounded out at roughly 100 hours, making it easy to comprehend the $5,000 premium over the standard model. With that in mind, it’s great to see that you’re not paying for any additional marketing fluff over Johnny’s work.
The Linde Werdelin Oktopus Crazy Universe is on sale now for 20,000 Swiss francs (20,212 USD), though don’t expect to see it around for long.