Tucked inside this $1.5 million watch by Greubel Forsey is a tiny ship sculpture by Willard Wigan who is the master at artworks you can't appreciate without high-powered optics.
After six years of research and development, Greubel Forsey was able to devise a way to see Wigan's sculptures on such a small scale. The tiny optical system acts like a microscope for the wrist, magnifying the object inside the watch 23 times. It's a polished, concave piece of glass that reflects natural light onto the sculpture from various angles, which allows the viewer to shift the focus and see the art even in dim light.
So far Wigan has sculpted tiny versions of a golden mask, a ship, a Coca-Cola bottle and a hummingbird for the watch brand. It takes him anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to build each sculpture. And it takes the atelier's Unique Pieces Workshop—a group of five or so craftsman—nearly half a year to finish an Art Piece 1. Greubel Forsey only produces two art pieces a year, which helps to explain why these watches cost more than a house. Or as Wigan likes to explain the investment: "It's like you're wearing a little museum on your wrist."