The consensus among watch enthusiasts has always been that watchmaking is akin to fine art. The laborious hours that go into it and the beauty that can be appreciated are some of the many similarities. Unfortunately, unlike art, the canvas that is a timepiece is often too small to gaze and admire. Brands like Zenith have taken to using the reverse side of the watch to showcase exquisite artwork. The brand’s latest watches from the Academy Christophe Colomb collection steers off the exploration path and pays tribute instead to South American revolutionaries. Aptly named the Academy Christophe Colomb Hurricane Revolución collection, the three pieces applaud the life and times of heroes like Simón Bolívar, Ernesto “Che” Guevara and Emiliano Zapata; all three men playing important roles in the annals of South American history.
Military and political leader Bolívar was most famed for fighting the Spanish for independence in the Latin Americas and led countries like Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia to achieve separation from the Spanish Empire. One of the many faces that represent the region’s patriotism and nationalism, Bolívar has been immortalised in several monuments across Latin America and now, in Zenith’s newest collection. His piece showcases him riding a white horse surrounded by his sword, and his pistols.
Now, Che Guevara is a little more well-known, what with his face plastered all over t-shirts found everywhere. The Argentinian who led the Cuban revolution and preached against the evils of capitalism would probably scowl at the irony of being part of pop culture but immortalised nonetheless has he been. On the back of his model is his portrait, complete with his famous beret. Guevara is depicted standing proudly above the counterweight of the gyroscopic while surrounded by his followers brandishing their guns. A Cuban flag as well as the island of Cuba are included as well and were painted under a microscope.
The famed Mexican liberator Emiliano Zapata rounds off the Hurricane Revolución collection. His exploits include protecting the lower classes of villagers from landowners and has been attributed to the reform that Mexico enjoyed. His model boasts bright colours that surround a horse and its rider. Even a cactus makes an appearance, a nod to the Mexican deserts. All three pieces were completely hand-finished by skilled craftsmen and a testament to the brand’s dedication to the craft. Our only problem with the pieces is how beautiful the back of the cases are. We’re convinced that we’d spend half our day transfixed, watching the counterweight of the gyroscope swivel and admiring the artwork on each back.
Artisanal craftsmanship is quite possibly the easiest way to describe the collection. As a bonus, the three new pieces actually arrive in a custom-made box that can also be used to store 200 cigars as a humidor. If that doesn’t scream South American, we’re not too sure what else could.