Location: Hotavlje, Slovenia
Completion date: 2019
Thomas Mercer (Chronometers) Limited
Marmor Hotavlje - Stone Solutions Since 1721
The sinuous and sophisticated lines of the Chelys are carved out of ivory onyx, a semiprecious natural stone with immaculate crystalline background and evocative waves undulating through its structure. Measuring 44x39x22cm and weighing 25 kilos, this sculpture is crafted through a meticulous process of using traditional hand stonemasonry, impeccably executed by Marmor Hotavlje’s skilled artisans. Like every Thomas Mercer mechanism, the new caliber TM8004 sports the sine-qua-non specifications of a marine timekeeper, namely the special spring detent escapement, the ovalising balance for thermal compensation and the beautiful chain-fusee drive.
Chelys, an horological sculpture fusing the respective arts of stone carving, marine chronometry and yacht design was presented at last year's Monaco Yacht Show and was a centerpiece of Marmor Hotavlje's booth. Since the show ended, the piece was exhibited in different galleries worldwide and is currently based in London.
While stonemasonry and precision horology are art forms in their own right, a true work of art is where the artist uniquely combines one or more art forms by conferring a symbolic and incomparable value. With the Chelys, Andrew Winch shows his unique talent as an artist by first imagining a superb onyx sculpture – already a work of art per se – and then inspiredly fusing it with a chronometer movement to elevate it even further, to the ultimate status of horological sculpture.
The word Chelys derives from the Latin form of the original Ancient Greek χέλυς (tortoise) which describes a musical instrument made of a shell, its convex form resembling those of this fine chronometer. According to the fable of his Homeric Hymn, Hermes found a tortoise near the threshold of his mother’s house and decided to hollow out the shell to make the sound box of a seven-stringed instrument, thus inventing the first lyre of the Ancient Greeks.