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ArtyA - ArtyA Sculpts Light

ArtyA ArtyA Sculpts Light

Two seemingly very different creations bound together by light. By harnessing light’s properties, Yvan Arpa has produced the ultimate dive watch and colour-changing sapphire

No-one has quite got to grips with Yvan Arpa’s hyperactive brain. This serial creative, whose talent serves his own brand (ArtyA) as well as others, travels at speed along a road of his own, rarely pulling over for write-ups, prizes or awards. But all that could change. Because the product has changed. Haiku-like, ArtyA has stripped its creations of the extraneous. Its watches speak more clearly to the onlooker. They are understandable even for audiences who are unfamiliar with ArtyA’s particular brand of watchmaking over the past two decades. 

Leading Light 

Take the Depth Gauge. No need to be an expert to understand that this dive watch measures depth. The dilettante will find this an original idea. The more seasoned collector will recall watches with mechanical depth gauges by the likes of Jaeger-LeCoultre or Oris. Two brands doing what Swiss watchmaking has always done best: invent highly complex mechanisms to indicate simple measurements. They were all tubes and valves, pressure and water-resistance. Horological delights for collectors craving mechanical curiosities.

ArtyA, sculpter la lumière

Depth Gauge © ArtyA

Yvan Arpa has – once again! – taken a completely different angle and developed a simple solution that replaces mechanics with optics. Arpa, who has a scientific background, knows that water and light have an algebraic relation: light is attenuated as water density increases. In other words, the deeper you go, the less you see.

However, the bands of light – the blue, yellow, red, etc. that we call the spectrum – which disappear as depth increases do so in a certain order and at specific depths. Which brings us to the Depth Gauge, a watch that is nominated in the Diver's Category of this year's Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Genève. As the diver continues their descent, the coloured segments on the dial vanish one after the other to indicate depth. Sheer brilliance.

For those who feel more comfortable on the surface, ArtyA’s The Wave has what is possibly the most illustrative dive watch dial ever made. It reproduces, in enamel, the ripples of a pebble as it hits water.

ArtyA, sculpter la lumière

The Wave © ArtyA

Living colour

Just as ArtyA harnesses the properties of light for its Depth Gauge, so it does for its Chameleon. As in the colour-shifting reptile? No. As in a concept for a sapphire that changes colour depending on the angle of incidence when light falls on its surface.

Again, there are two ways of looking at this watch. The expert will remember that no-one has worked more with sapphire these past 15 years than Yvan Arpa, who has developed countless cases in pure sapphire or with inserts (including bullets), as well as the first ever sapphire dive watch. A less knowledgeable viewer will take away that ArtyA has achieved the impossible: a single case, a thousand colours.

ArtyA, sculpter la lumière

Butterfly Chameleon © ArtyA

What’s new, you might ask? Polarization follows the same principle, except it is a surface treatment, fragile and not always adapted to everyday situations. Try reading an electronic dash with polarized lenses...

Hence ArtyA has developed a world-first with a nano-sapphire case that changes colour in different lights. In natural light, the Chameleon case is yellow. When exposed to artificial light (6,500K or above), it turns green. ArtyA is the first company in the world to use this glass-ceramic nano-sapphire. But not the last. Rumour has it that other brands are racing to come up with their version. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery…



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The brand

ArtyA is an independent brand that encapsulates the creativity and free spirit of its founder Yvan Arpa. Complicated, atypical, sometimes rebellious, always innovative, ArtyA’s horological style has proved to be a pillar of Geneva’s creative watchmaking scene for over a decade now.

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