Pele, Putin, Schwarzenegger, Vin Diesel and other celebrities sport his watches. His watches are in several museums spread the world over. What makes ArtyA watches so sought after? Yvan Arpa, CEO, ArtyA tells Hiren Kumar Bose that his watches are unique because they tell a story. The story begins when you write a cheque of Rs 3.03 cr!
For you, watchmaking seems to be a playfield where you present your dream toys with some very innovative concepts with watches made of unconventional materials, such as butterfly wings, shredded Euros, and even bullets. Do airports allow one to travel with a bullet watch?
Today nobody needs a watch anymore so we better give some added value than only an object that tells time. You have the time on your phone, car, computer etc. but all those fantastic objects miss one crucial point we all need love, emotions, and story-telling. Each of my timepiece at ArtyA has a proper unique history that we tell on a certificate that comes with the watch. I use unconventional materials because they are filled with emotions, beauty and perfection, like for the Son of Earth collection: a butterfly wing is so incredibly beautiful that it is an endless pleasure to look at your dial composed with it! Regarding the Son of a Gun Collection and its bullets, there is no problem to travel with them as they are used and inaccessible on the dial of the watch. These have been approved by the Customs. Here the message is more philosophical, when you see the time on your watch you must always remember that you know the time but you don’t know your time. How long you are still on this planet. So enjoy every minute of it and share positive vibes with your beloved people.
Artya’s trendsetting collections belong to six different families: Son of a Gun, Son of Sound, Son of Earth, Son of Arts, Son of Gears and Son of Love. Your collection has been partial towards men. Do we see you wooing the ladies in your future collection?
I love women. But I do find it difficult to understand them. Nevertheless, Son of Earth is a very feminine collection with all dials hand-made by my wife and a famous artist, Dominique Arpa-Cirpka. In Son of Arts Collection, we have 38 mm watches, which are suitable for women. They have incredible dials, and I think, are interesting and unique for women’s wrists. Yes, we sell more to men. I will now invite my wife for a nice dinner to discuss next women product to create
So far one of Artya’s costliest watch has been The Son of Gun Roulette Full Gold 2 and 3. What has gone into these watches that they are so inexpensive?
I own my own factory and my business model is to make accessible watches which are very unique, very different and most of them only one of a kind for the entire world. Limited to just 99 pieces. As I still design watches for other brands it helps us to be totally self-financed. This year I have launched ArtyA complications with my in-house movements, manufactured in Geneva. They range from Tourbillon to Double Axis Tourbillon to Minute Repeater etc. Being 1/1 unique piece their prices have skyrocketed to a minimum of 135’00 CHF (Rs 9.32 lakhs) to a maximum of 480’000 CHF (Rs 3.30 cr).
Arty’as Race Collection is one of its kind in which the time can only be seen when the wheel on the dial side is spun at full speed. Do explain how it works?
They have the mechanical system the dial looks the rim of a car (which is above the hands) and turns very fast. If the dial doesn’t turn you cannot see the time! You need to make a little effort by moving your wrist fast and make the dial spin faster in order to see the time properly. It is a tribute to the Nascar and the OZ Rim or the BBS Rim of the best cars ever made.
Your latest is ArtyA 3 Gongs Minute Repeater, Regulator & Double Axis Tourbillon 1/1 in Titanium. What technology has the Manufacture included in order to create this unique timepiece?
It is based on my design but to secure the perfection of the same I worked together with Pierre Favre, a former master of complications at Patek Philippe and a very close friend. The result is one the most beautiful and one of the most complicated watch ever. We have an incredible offer to our prospective buyers that he can visit our factory to fine tune the sound of the Minute Repeater in order to match his preference. By the way, we are the only one in the world to do so.
Artya’s ‘friends of the house’ includes people like Pele, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Vladimir Putin, Gregory David Roberts, Vin Diesel and several others. What do you think does Artya have that it attracts such varied personalities?
Honestly, it is mouth-to-ear between VIP. I am very proud to say that we have never paid anyone to wear our watch. We have never given away any watch, unlike other brands. These people are trend-setters and they understand the incredible work and passion and the avant-garde innovative creations that ArtyA represents. Because they had to pay for their watch I don’t advertise them as ambassadors. I am equally proud that ArtyA is now displayed in five top museums around the world including the MOMA in New York and last but not least in some auctions ArtyA has reached 10 times its public official price.
The last question. Hardly much is known about the man Yvan Arpa. Is he like his creations unpretentious, defying categorisation etc.
I cannot answer that about myself. Do ask people who know me. Google my name you are likely to find a lot of different answers. Lastly, I need to thank for the support you have shown to an independent brand who struggles against big brands.