Watch out for dinosaur fossils now

Yvan Arpa (SUPPLIED)

Yvan Arpa has put dust from the moon and rust from the Titanic in watches.

This time, he has gone further by setting fossilised dinosaur excrement into his latest timepieces.

"I decided to take it a step further and use the forbidden material – coprolite," he said, referring to the scientific name for fossilised faeces or droppings of ancient animals.

"By chance the colour inside is magnificent and it's 100 million years old, and it's the anti-material.

"People work with gold and silver... but I like to turn non-noble material into noble material," he added, speaking at Baselworld, the world's biggest watch and jewellery fair held in the northern Swiss city.

The price tag of CHF12,000 (Dh41,654) for the watch, which looks rather rugged and comes with toad skin straps, is reasonable, said Arpa.

Arpa, whose label Artya is based in the Geneva region of Vesenaz, explains his approach to watchmaking as one that is "very close to contemporary art".

"It's an industry where this approach is not done at all," he added.

Arpa, who cuts an odd dash in the precision minded Swiss watch industry, said that he had created the first "watch" that does not tell time.

That piece, which costs CHF300,000, only tells day from night.

If Arpa works at deconstructing the traditional watchmaking world, his colleague Jean-Marie Schaller, who has also put dinosaur parts into his watches, takes a more traditional line.

Schaller, who runs the brand Louis Moinet in western Switzerland's Saint-Blaise, has also turned to rare materials to differentiate his creations from others in an industry dominated by long-established major players such as the Swatch Group or Richemont.

While other brands try to set their watches apart with the clearest diamond or rarest sapphire, Schaller has turned to bits of meteorites from Mars as well as the legendary Rosetta Stone meteorite – the oldest known rock in the solar system with an age of 4.56 billion years.


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