By: Lee Yuen-Rapati
A day was bound to come when an hour wouldn’t be nearly enough time to finish (or even mostly finish) a watch drawing destined for Theo & Harris. This fifth article for T&H features the 702nd One Hour Watch drawing and I’m going to bring you through what exactly happened during the sixty minutes it took to draw this watch.
The design that ended up on the page is a chronograph capable of measuring up to 12 hours (chronograph seconds and minutes are centrally mounted and the 12 hour chronograph counter is at 3 o’clock), with a 24-hour hand (at 9 o’clock) and a triple calendar (because why not??). The included peripherals are a vintage style case with fat lugs and a barely drawn-in tachymeter bezel.
So I had inspiration, I kind of had a plan in terms of layout, what happened?.
So we are now more than thirty minutes into this drawing and I’m still penciling in details. Even after 701 other watch drawings I still do not trust my hands to make the right decision on the first go which is why I draw everything (or close to it) in pencil first, then I go over it with a fine pilot pen. It may take more time, but the success rate can’t be denied. Inking in a fully detailed watch is no walk in the park, and this drawing didn’t even get to the point of having its minute track roughed in. By the time I picked up my pen I knew the Hermès leather case was out of the question on this drawing, now it was a matter of getting some ink on paper so there would be something for people to see. Inking took me up to the fifty minute marker, I was just getting started on putting in the speed markers on the tachymeter bezel, looking at the time I said “Screw it! Tachy bezel be damned” and whipped out my markers.
Ten minutes is not enough time to color a watch drawing. Gradients need to be built up layer by layer, different finishes need to be distinguished and colours need to be picked for the dial. I threw the idea of color out the window immediately, as well as putting in the darkest greys for high-polish reflections on the lugs and pushers. Instead of using nine or ten different shades of grey markers to build up form I used five. I used the two lightest shades of grey to simulate gradients and brushed finishes while the other three were used to darken the hollow interior of the case and suggest some high-polish on the lugs and pushers. In the final minute I decided to add in some white gel pen on the hands and 5-minute markers. It would have be great to also add some white highlights to the case, but a minute was all I had and that minute was used on the hands.
Sixty minutes, time’s up. Pencils, pens, markers down, what’s on the page is there to stay. Tomorrow is another day and with it comes another sixty minutes to draw another watch, so I’ll pick up my pencil and do just that.