Vortic Watches: American Made

Vote Vortic Watches in the Martha Stewart, American Made contest to help them win $10K.

Vortic Watches is a new American Made watch company. Less than a year old but still filled with over a century of American history.

Vortic converts antique, American made, railroad-era pocket watches into 100% Made in USA, one-of-a-kind wristwatches using 3D printed steel. And you have a chance to help them grow.

Click the sketch below to vote for Vortic Watches.

When R.T. first contacted me I pulled up the Vortic website and mulled over the concept for a day. The more I thought about it, the more I fell in love with the idea.

Your Great Grandfather, or Great Great Grandfather could have owned one of these pocket watches and Vortic is giving us the opportunity to use them again, to wear them on our wrists, to take history with us as we continually push toward the future.

If you haven't yet, click this link to vote for Vortic in the Martha Stewart, American Made contest.

Vortic Watches timepiece

Less than a year old and I cannot wait to see what Vortic has in store for future American Made wrist watches.

Watches Gallery

Hanhart Pioneer Monocontrol 2

the Hanhart Pioneer Monocontrol fashion illustration


Automatic chronograph movement HAN3911 (bicompax), increased crown-to-button spacing and single-button conversion, 28,800 vibrations per hour, 4 Hz, 28 jewels, rotor with a skeletonised Hanhart logo, power reserve of min. 42 hours

Small seconds at 9 o’clock, 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock, date display at 6 o’clock

Stainless steel, red button, fluted, bidirectional rotating bezel with red marking, convex sapphire glass, anti-reflective on both sides, screwed-down case back, diameter 42 mm, height 15 mm, water-resistant to 10 bar/100 m

Black, with Super-LumiNova®-coated luminous numerals and hands

Calfskin with riveting, brown or black, pin buckle made from stainless steel

Watches Gallery

Hanhart Pioneer Monocontrol 1


The Painting

the Hanhart Pioneer Monocontrol fashion illustration

The Process

part 1 Hanhart Pioneer Monocontrol
part 2 Pioneer Monocontrol
part 3 Hanhart Pioneer Monocontrol
part 4 Hanhart Pioneer Monocontrol
part 5 Hanhart Pioneer Monocontrol

Automatic chronograph movement HAN3911 (bicompax), increased crown-to-button spacing and single-button conversion, 28,800 vibrations per hour, 4 Hz, 28 jewels, rotor with a skeletonised Hanhart logo, power reserve of min. 42 hours

Small seconds at 9 o’clock, 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock, date display at 6 o’clock

Stainless steel, red button, fluted, bidirectional rotating bezel with red marking, convex sapphire glass, anti-reflective on both sides, screwed-down case back, diameter 42 mm, height 15 mm, water-resistant to 10 bar/100 m

Black, with Super-LumiNova®-coated luminous numerals and hands

Calfskin with riveting, brown or black, pin buckle made from stainless steel

Fratelli Orsini

Watches Gallery


From D-Day to the Watches Project

This Hanhart Military watch was commissioned by Joe Savage.

I asked him about the story of the watch and all he gave me was this link from the Daily Mail. Honestly I thought it was a bit lazy but as I began reading I was immediately intrigued.

The account told here is taken directly from the article in the Daily Mail written by Mark Duell.

The premise of the article was looking at four German Military watches that were being placed at auction.

My father was an RAF intelligence officer and his job was to interrogate German airmen who had been captured.

He spoke German and pressed the men for worthwhile information such as the equipment the Luftwaffe were using.

He had to search them and one prisoner had his watch wrapped around something that wasn’t his wrist because he was so desperate not to lose it.

My father ended up having it and kept it as a souvenir or as part of the spoils of war. When my father died over 20 years ago we had a clear out of his things and acquired his four watches.’

Auctioneer Richard Bromell said,

‘The vendor’s father, from Manchester, was of Dutch origin and spoke fluent French, German, Dutch, and towards the end of the Second World War Russian too.’

‘As an officer in the RAF, and as a linguist, he is believed to have worked in MI19, the division formed from MI9 as the enemy prisoner of war interrogation department.

‘He arrived in France 11 days after the D-Day landings and interviewed rounded up German prisoners, which is when it is believed he “acquired” these four Luftwaffe pilots’ watches.’

The vendor, who is from the Somerset area, said,

‘If you wind them up they do start to tick but they would need to be repaired as they haven’t been properly used for 70 years. These watches have been locked up in a drawer for many years.

You can’t go on hoarding things forever and I don’t have any romantic association with them, so I think it is best to pass them on.’

Mr Bromell, of auctioneers Charterhouse in Sherborne, Dorset, which is selling the watches, said,

‘They are four high quality wristwatches used by German pilots and navigators in the war.

They need some work doing to them to get them going again. However, with all the watches being quite similar the vendor isn’t sure which one was recovered from the PoW’s underpants.’

The owner’s father worked in Lloyds Bank before the war, and after it had ended he joined the family business which supplied animal feeds.

To read the original article and see photographs of the four German watches that were at auction then click HERE.

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Watches Gallery

Eterna Vintage

This Eterna watch commissioned by Cyrux.

When I asked Cyrux to tell me a story about his Eterna this is what he had to say,

'It is an Eterna that my Grandfather purchased during his first business trip abroad in the 60's. It has never been serviced and nothing has been replaced. It's all original and I love the fact that it's scratched and cracked.

My Grandfather gave it to my dad and my dad gave it to me when I moved to Australia in 2003. 

It is not worth much but it's very sentimental to me. I thank you for doing the painting for me so that I can share it with others when they come and visit.'

The aging and wearing was important for Cyrux. It was made clear to me that the crack over 11 and the scratch over 3 be made apparent.

Cyrux and I share a love of story. Every watch has a story. Every watch has something to share with it's owner, whether it is newly manufactured or has been through a war, or is simply being passed from father to son.

I love watches like this Eterna. One where the price doesn't matter.

It could have been a $30,000 watch and with the same story and I would have loved it the same.

Watches passed down through the generations maintain a value that is simply priceless. It could be sold at auction but no amount would do history the justice it deserves.


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Watches Gallery

Omega Seamaster Fashion

This Moda-Horlogerie style Omega Seamaster painting was commissioned by Nick.

Nick wished to be identified only by his first name. This is what he had to say about his Omega Seamaster.

'My first foray into horology began when I was given a high-end Hublot counterfeit timepiece as a gift in college (gasp) and was told that even discerning individuals would not be able to tell the difference. 

As a curious person, this immediately caused me to wonder 'well, then what is the difference?' 

This led to me various watch blogs and over time I came to appreciate what an art-form horology is and that in reality, any discerning person would immediately be able to tell the difference between a counterfeit and a legitimate timepiece if, save other tells, they were to look at the movement. 

I became fascinated with watch movements as I began to view horology as one of the last bastions of hand-crafted machinery that practically speaking, cannot be bested by fully automated production lines, nor should it be.

As I continued to develop an appreciation for high-end watch movements I came across the Omega 8500 movement, which was built from the ground up around George Daniel's co-axial escapement. 

I began to fall in love with the intrinsic value of the fully in-house, utilitarian movement that in my mind, was an example of the culmination of hundreds of years of human innovation. 

After lusting after this watch for some time but never being able to afford it, I resolved to one day purchase it when I had "made it" in my respective industry.  This day came much sooner than I had expected, and I wear the watch to remind myself to set goals, achieve them, and then to continue setting new ones. 

The clock keeps ticking, if you will.'


Here is a side by side of the Omega Seamaster and the Moda-Horlogerie Perpetual Moon it is modeled after.

The Moda-Horlogerie style paintings are my favorite. There is more artistry in creating a scene and story than simply capturing the architecture of a watch. A watch, in my estimation is meant for its utility and everything else about it is developed to tell a story.


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A Long Journey for 100 Watches

Fashion has treated me well as of late. It has been a long journey, but every bit of it amazing.

Project Show hosted me, along with 9 other fashion bloggers to cover their Las Vegas trade show. The sheer number of amazing companies was impressive and the caliber of people exhibiting was outstanding.

But this is not about Project.

This is about Hodinkee, Time and Tide and Brink Publishing.

We have to go back about 5 months when Kyle (the proprietor of Brink Publishing) and I first connected. I was experimenting with publishing the 100 Watches Project as a book.

A mock up design of how I was planning the 100 Watches Book to look...

The progress was slow going and I felt like I kept stringing people along.
'I will get it finished in January... no no, it will be ready by March... definitely it will be ready by April.'

With no experience in publishing and traveling the Mediterranean with my wife I had set myself up for failure, and it was humiliating. I couldn't bring myself to talk much about it.

Kyle saw something in my work. He saw something great, some potential and his query gave me the inspiration to finally complete the book.

Brink Publishing is just getting off the ground as a business but Kyle has been working endlessly to get it started right. The goal is to bring the world of ebooks to the world of images.

Largely dominated by Amazon, the ebook market caters almost exclusively to the written word. Kyle's vision is to take art, photography, painting, illustration to the ebook market.

In April of 2014 we connected and began discussing how to put together the 100 Watches eBook.

This Tudor Watch painting was the feature image in the Time and Tide interview...

February of 2014 Andrew McUtchen emailed me. Then, he was just getting started with the fast growing Time and Tide Watches website, a hub for sharing the stories around watches and their admirers.

He had yet to launch the actual site and was putting together a paper newsletter to take to BaselWorld. Andrew graciously took the time to listen to me ramble about watches and painting and the 100 Watches Project.

By March, just a month later he had timeandtidewatches.com up and running and featured my interview. This was the first large exposure for the Sunflowerman watch paintings and the 100 Watches Project.

Almost exclusively being born through instagram and being marketed by word of mouth, one person at a time the 100 Watches had a lot of growing to do and Andrew helped make it possible.

example of a photo of the 100 Watches Project on instagram...

Now we have to jump back all the way to October of 2013 to when I was introduced to Eric Wind for the first time.

Eric caught on to the 100 Watches Project while it was still in progress and asked a few questions

  1. How do you make the images? Freehand painting?
  2. Are they printed on actual book pages?
  3. Regarding the watch prints for sale on your website, are they 1/1? I assume so.
  4. What inspired and led you to pursue this project?
  5. Are you a watch collector?

I will let you imagine the answers, or read the resulting interview here.

Three months later we reconnected and Eric, a writer for the vastly popular watch-center-of-the-internet Hodinkee.com, offered to write an article about the project.


Kyle and I kept trudging forward, compiling, editing, revising, compiling, adjusting and just plain working hard.

By August, 4 months after Kyle and I first connected, we were ready to publish the ebook. There were a few 'i's' to dot and 't's' to cross- so to speak. But if we had to it could have been published. A few weeks earlier I had finally finished the hardcover design and published it on Blurb (all hush hush and what not).

Late August I was on my way to Vegas for Project Show. A great opportunity for me to bring a new and unique look to the coverage of Project and to get face time with some amazing fashion brands.

While I was out there I received another email from Eric.
'The article will be published some time this week.'

I forwarded the email to Kyle and jumped up and down in my Vegas hotel room. Kyle, the amazing, hard working, diligent, creative genius that he is got the book up on Amazon and we were ready.

I took a screenshot of the front page of Hodinkee the day of the feature...

Tired from three days of constant drawing, painting and partying my luggage carried me to the hotel lobby to check out.

When I opened my laptop a torrent of emails barraged my inbox. The Hodinkee article had gone live!

Many of the 100 Watches paintings in the Gallery sold instantly, emails poured in inquiring about commissions and the 100 Watches eBook jumped to #1 in the Amazon top 100 paid books for the vintage watches and clocks category.

We made it to #1 top PAID 100!! Get it Here.

A Bell & Ross was the first watch in the 100 Watches Project which began nearly a year ago in September of 2013. Nearly a year later, the 100 Watches Book was published and featured on Hodinkee.

I didn't imagine the success the project would have, financially, socially and professionally. The journey has been long, but every bit of it amazing.

In August

  1. my wife Ruth and I returned from nine months in Europe
  2. I traveled to Vegas for Project Show
  3. The 100 Watches Hardcover and eBook were made available
  4. Hodinkee featured Sunflowerman on their wildly popular site.
  5. The 100 Watches eBook jumped to #1 in the Vintage Watches and Clocks category on Amazon.


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Watches Gallery


Watch-making or rather watch-painting has become a favorite past-time of mine.

After painting my first 100 watches, which you can see in the 100 Watches Gallery, I just couldn't stop.

There are so many watches, so many companies and so many passionate people that stopping would mean missing an entire community of amazing people.

Boca MMXII is a part of that community.

Alessandro of bocatime.com approached me with two of his watches to recreate. What is particularly special about Boca is the watch straps. These beautiful leather braided straps are hand woven with quality Mexican craftsmanship.

Boca matches Italian design with Mexican craftsmanship to provide a unique watch experience.

Below you will see the Grand Traveler with the bright Tobacco wristband on the left and on the right is the Riviera Black with Black wristband.

Boca MMXII book page watch paintings
Grand Traveler in Beige

Grand Traveler in Beige

Riviera Black

Riviera Black


Watches Gallery

WristPorn: Tissot Visodate

Here's the Wristporn Tissot Visodate.

I've painted a Visodate before and it was an amazing watch to see completed (see it here). Approaching the same watch again was a bit daunting as the previous one was so beautiful. I'll let you do your own comparison.

Follow the process of this Watches Project painting in the images below.

Watches Gallery

Rolex's of the William Brown Project

The William Brown Project is the work of Matthew Hranek. Here is more on Matthew, pulled from his site matthewhranek.com.

'Photographer and Director Matt Hranek has spent the last 20 years of his life traveling to the corners of the globe on assignment. Photographing and writing about some of the world’s most desirable destinations, Matt’s images capture the people, place, and objects that embody the American spirit. His work has appeared everywhere from editorials in Bon Appetit, Conde Nast Traveler, Esquire, GQ, Martha Stewart Living, Town and Country, and Travel and Leisure to commercial work for J Crew, LL Bean, Orvis, Sony, Target, and William Sonoma.

Matt created "The William Brown Project" as a visual diary of his photographic sojourns. He says he had the idea to turn his photographs and stories into the widely received blog because "there was so much residual content leftover from every photo shoot that it needed a place to go, so I made one". "The William Brown Project", where he tells of his elusive findings and exotic tastings was the inspiration behind the Esquire Network’s newest series, "Alternate Route", capturing the spontaneous adventure behind every photograph. The six episode first season follows Matt on the road less traveled as his passion and curiosity take him through Maryland, Chicago, Everglades, Charleston, and Montauk. Immersing himself in each society, Matt explores the local vernacular of the food and craft that personify his destinations.'

I had the pleasure of painting two of Matthew's watches. His Rolex GMT and Rolex Submariner.

Hranek- 'These are two beautiful example of 60's rolex sports model and as far as I am concerned the glory days of Rolex. I am proud and lucky to own them.'


Hranek- 'The GMT required endurance. I had a 16750 that I bought , then sold then bought a real shitty 1675 ( I loved the insert - perfect fade). Well my buddy jacek at HQ Milton in SF did me a solid and let me trade it in on a really lovely 1675 GMT that was actually traded in by a good friend of mine (who's GMT I coveted). It took a few moves to get there and well it's mine now and not going anywhere.'

Matt Hranek, Rolex Submariner book page fashion

Hranek- 'The Sub was my first Rolex purchase (my dad had left me a datejust). It was the early days of ebay and I had no idea what I was doing the watch was $1800 and the guy i was buying it from didn't trust ME... (early days).

I was very lucky - everything about the watch was perfect the lumes, the patina the pre-tropical (brown) dial. I will die with this watch.'

Watches Gallery