Valerii Danevych, a wood-crafting master from the Ukraine, has dedicated his life to making functional wrist-watches entirely out of wood, with the sole exception of a metal spring needed to propel the movement.
Coming from a long line of cabinetmakers, the Ukrainian craftsman has always had a fascination for wood. He started making miniatures in his early school days, including an impressive 3cm guitar with human hair strings, but as he grew up and his skills improved, restoring wooden objects and creating tiny artworks just didn’t give him any satisfaction anymore.
He just couldn’t get the idea of creating complicated mechanical things out of his head, so in 2005, without having any training as a watchmaker, he began working on functional wooden wristwatches. It took a while for Valerii to determine which type of woods were most suitable for the tiny parts needed, and for him to learn the basics of watchmaking, but by 2008, he had completed his first functional wooden pocket watch.
Inspired by the Bronnikov family, who during the 1800s made unique pocket watches from all kinds of unusual materials, Valerii Danevych set out to create a collection of mind-blowing timepieces out of wood. Working under a microscope to get the parts working perfectly, the Ukrainian craftsman imitates complex mechanism like the flying tourbillon, creating amazing masterpieces that actually keep time (with an accuracy of around 5 minutes per day for wristwatches). He claims the series of wooden gears inside his watches can store 20 hours of reserve power.
One of his greatest achievements is a tiny necklace watch with a diameter of 1.3mm that works perfectly and doesn’t contain a single screw. His most recent masterpiece is a men’s wristwatch with a tourbillon movement and full retrograde indication into which he put 1,800 hours of work over a seven-month period. The €100,000 price tag reflects the time and effort that went into making it.