In partnership with Itay Noy

The Fiercely Independent Watches of Itay Noy

Itay Noy is an independent watchmaker who has been criminally underrated for years. Based in Jaffa, the most ancient sector of Tel-Aviv, Israel, Noy’s watches are influenced by horological tradition and his own cultural background and interests in equal measure. Like any independent watchmaker, his designs will not be to every taste, but when you only make about 150 watches per year, and have only yourself and your clients to answer to, mass appeal is hardly a concern. Even if you can’t imagine strapping one of Itay Noy’s creations to your wrist, they’re worthy of study and appreciation by anyone who is interested in watchmaking. 

This year, Itay Noy introduces three new collections. First up is “Night Flight.” Based on nighttime aerial photographs of major cities around the world, these watches are a unique spin on what it means to be a travel watch, as they remind the wearer so keenly of seeing a large city light up the night sky from a plane. Cities include Taipei, Seoul, Jerusalem, Berlin, and others. The intricate dials are rendered through traditional lacquer work, with 24 carat gold combined to each layer of the finish to produce the distinctive appearance of city lights. The transparent caseback is fittingly shaped like the window of an airplane. These watches are both whimsical and technically impressive, highlighting Noy’s creativity as a designer and skill as an artisan. 

The 12 variations of Itay Noy’s “Night Flight”

Itay Noy has not always worked in lacquer, but after attending the Craft Wear workshop in Taiwan, a prestigious conference of designers from around the world who gathered for the purpose of learning about traditional lacquer work techniques, and to explore how to apply those techniques in contemporary design. “It was a fascinating experience that opened up a world of possibilities for the creation of my watch dials,” said Noy about his time at Craft Wear. “Lacquer work includes hand-painting surfaces with multiple layers of lacquer. When mixed with 24K gold, the technique gives the illusion of three-dimensional depth, as well as the dynamic movement reminiscent of glimmering city lights at night.” Noy worked with a fourth-generation Taiwanese lacquer artist to develop the concept of the “Night Flight” series, and the resulting watches are a beautiful mix of old-world craft techniques and Noy’s unique, contemporary design sensibilities. 

Each watch in the “Night Flight” series is a one of a kind creation. This is part of the appeal of an Itay Noy watch: exclusivity and the promise of something truly unique. Watches in this line are powered by a hand wound movement, Caliber 6497-1, housed in a 44mm stainless steel case coated in black PVD. Small hour markers around the perimeter of the dial (and a subsidiary seconds register in an out-of-the-way position at 10:00) keep the focus on the dial work, which is entirely appropriate. 

The Night Flight’s exhibition caseback is inspired by the window of an airplane.

On a different end of the same horological spectrum sits the “Rally” series, another collection introduced by Itay Noy in 2020. Each watch in this line is based on the shape of a vintage race car dashboard. Certainly, this has been attempted many times in the landscape of watches tied to the automotive world, but Noy’s creations stand out for their specificity, craft, and distinctly mechanical feel. The engine grill dial, with moving parts of the mechanical caliber behind it, is a poetic read on the link between cars and watches, as is the power reserve display inspired by a fuel gauge. 

The Rally is also powered by a manually wound movement with a power reserve of 38 hours in total. Its black PVD coated stainless steel case measures a commanding 44mm in diameter, but has a slender height of just 12mm, making for an eminently wearable watch. The Rally is a limited, numbered edition of just 99 pieces, and carries a retail price of $5,150.

Finally, Itay Noy brings us the “Fractal” collection. This watch, in execution, is similar to “Night Flight” in that both are dominated by extremely detailed, intricate dials. The impression of the two watches, however, could not be more different. Each “Fractal” watch is one of a kind, and displays clusters of geometric patterns and shapes, each an exact copy of itself. A total of  eight will be produced, each presenting a unique fractal pattern. As opposed to the careful hand-work of the “Night Flight” watches, “Fractal” relies on a computer to create the complex, repeating patterns.

The “Fractal”

“Fractal” is powered by an extra-thin, micro-rotor movement, Caliber IN.VMF5400, which can be viewed through the exhibition caseback. The stainless steel case measures 40mm in diameter and 44mm from lug to lug, and amazingly measures just 6.24mm thin. Watches in the “Fractal” collection are priced at $11,800, and once the initial run of 8 is sold out, will not be produced again. 

Itay Noy is a special watchmaker – one of only a small handful in the world crafting watches by hand, on his own. He’s part of a long, craft focused horological tradition, but is also completely unique in today’s watch landscape, creating timepieces that seem to be in dialogue with the world around them in a way that few other watchmakers even attempt. His in-house modules, dials, and complications represent a hard earned technical expertise, and it’s all matched with the soul of an artist with a singular vision. 

For more information on Itay Noy’s watches, please visit his website right here.

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