Whilst still 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 case band will allow full appreciation of this chef‐d’oeuvre. Willard Wigan’s artwork in Art Piece 1 will be complemented by a sublime 30° inclined double tourbillion, which will ensure that this unique timepiece is as accurate as it is alluring.
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.
Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey entered into Willard Wigan’s world and he into theirs. 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.
Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey are creating 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.
Developing the integrated optics was a significant technical challenge in itself. Not only did the timepiece require an adjustable lens with a magnification of 23 times without distorting optical aberrations, there also had to be enough natural light illuminating the microsculpture without the necessity of an internal artificial light source. A glance through the magnifying optics of the timepiece reveals Willard Wigan’s incredible micro‐sculpture.
Born in 1957, the British artist Willard Wigan creates the world’s smallest sculptures. Under a microscope and on a scale of microns, he sculpts gold, hair or grains of rice, demanding intense physical effort. Wigan is able to slow down his heartbeat; indeed he must, to guide his scalpel between the beats of his heart. Then, exclusively through a microscope, the viewer can see Wigan’s reinterpreted masterpieces of famous figures and popular monuments including like Michelangelo’s David, the Statue of Liberty and Nelson Mandela.
In 2007, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the II awarded Willard Wigan the prestigious honour of a MBE (Member of the British Empire) for his outstanding services to the arts.