URWERK X Revolution continues the pièces uniques series with the UR-105 Bronze Guardian Lions with engraved artwork completed by our in-house master engraver, Johnny “King Nerd” Dowell. He shares with us his research process, his key inspirations and the dream watch artwork he has in mind.
Following the URWERK UR-105 Bronze Samurai, this Bronze Guardian Lions edition marks your second pièce unique in the Revolution X URWERK limited edition series. What are the challenges you have overcome and what are the precautions you take when working with bronze?
I’d say for me the biggest challenge has been getting to the Guardian Lions pièce unique. The first made me a tiny bit nervous only in the sense I had never engraved an URWERK before so I wanted it to come out super cool. So when it was finished, I couldn’t wait to do the lions because I had created my first one and the second URWERK was then calling out to me. I wanted to get started as soon as possible. It’s a great canvas so I have loved every minute designing and engraving them.
Tell us about the Guardian Lions – what’s its significance and why?
From what I’ve researched, the lions are actually Chinese Imperial stone statues that always come in pairs. They normally represent security, protection and loyalty, but people see them as symbols of happiness and energy too. Between them, one lion is holding a ball which represents the world, and the other holds a cub that represents a nurturing spirit.
How long did it take for you to complete this?
I’d say from the researching, drawing (tweaking of designs etc.) to engraving, it takes about a month in total to complete. A lot of factors come into play from the perspective of the design on the URWERK shield to imagining the overall finished product so you can finally decide on what will look best before the beginning of engraving.
What’s your research process like? Where did you get your inspiration from and how do you decide what the overall imagery would look like?
Research for me is literally everything from a wide range of books to internet research, as well as speaking to various people I know. I find that speaking to people about my chosen subject matter pushes me into certain directions and it makes me think of extra things I wasn’t thinking about before. In that way, it inspires me the most. Overall imagery ends up being 100 per cent right when I can finally imagine what I’ve drawn to actually being on a watch. I end up saying to myself, I can’t wait to engrave that!
Do you have a dream watch you’re looking to own and how would you put your own flair to it?
I have many ideas for my own custom watches I’d like to own. I already have my Omega Snoopy Schumacher which is a one-off. But I don’t really want to tell everyone all my ideas as I want them for myself and I don’t want to ruin the surprise because I want them to be finished before I show everyone! Off the top of my head though, I’d love to do a Takashi Murakami, KAWS or Keith Haring set of Reverso’s. Apart from that, I’ll keep you guessing.