Mechanical Biological by Steeven Salvat

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And now for something completely different. I think it’s safe to say that watch fans are attracted to things with a meticulous attention to detail and a high sense of craft. Things that require hand labor and skill to complete. Whether in assembly, design or finishing, that sense that someone with years of training has put personal attention into the object you now own speaks to part of its indescribable allure. Art, while not something that comes up often if ever on w&w, certainly exhibits these same qualities. When the art then shares some subject matter with watches, the appeal is very clear.

Steeven Salvat, a french artist and draftsmen who prefers the pen to the computer, recently completed a series of 9 obsessively detailed drawings inspired antique biological studies and the mechanical workings of clocks and machines. His drawings, which are executed with a .13mm Rotring pen and Ink, show crustaceans split in half, normal on one side, and stripped of their shells on the other. Inside, rather than the typical organic systems one would find, Salvat has replaced everything with gears, pulleys, metal plates, springs, pipes and more. While obviously a fantastical representation, one can see how they would come to life, clicking and ticking as they scuttle about.

The amount of detail in the drawings is bordering on insane. From the subtle texturing and shading of the shells to the planning and exactness of the gears, nothing is haphazard, yet it’s all planned and executed by hand. Each drawing took roughly 30hrs to complete, which almost sounds fast considering the result. To make the drawings seem antique, Salvat also stained the paper with tea to get and uneven aged effect. The process is nothing short of mesmerizing, and can be seen in the accompanying making-of video below.


To see more of Steeven Salvat’s work, click here.

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Zach is the co-founder and Executive Editor of worn&wound. Before diving head first into the world of watches, he spent his days as a product and graphic designer. Zach views watches as the perfect synergy of 2D and 3D design: the place where form, function, fashion and mechanical wonderment come together.
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  • Andrew Hughes

    Zack, you have a great designer’s eye when it comes to watches and art too. While I am at it, I think you are one of the best watch reviewers online. I have learned so much through W&W. Thanks.

    While some people may not think this post is related to watches, I think it is (at least on a fantasy level). Some of best watchmakers created automatons that mimicked the movements of real creatures. While it is doubtful that the illustrator’s imaginary gearing would actually do anything mechanically if built, it still gives the impression it might. I would love one of these hanging in my studio.

    • Hi Andrew,
      Thanks so much for the kind words, it’s very appreciated!
      best,
      Zach

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