Laikingland describe themselves as a "creative label" - this is perhaps the most understated self-description I have read all year, and their new A.W.E. or Automated Winding Engine is utterly brilliant.
Based in the UK and the Netherlands Laikingland design and manufacture kinetic objects, and founders Martin Smith and Nick Regan combine their Artist/Engineering disciplines to great effect to create marvellous stuff.
Watch collection getting out of hand? In the market for a watch winder? There are many on the market and most are posh, jewellery box-styled and dare I say it, slightly boring. Not so Laikingland's Automated Winding Engine, which offers an ingenious way to power up your watch.
Commissioned by MB&F's M.A.D. Gallery (- who else?), the A.W.E. is in fact a robotic arm onto whose wrist you can place your wristwatch to display and wind it in a flourish, I'll let Laikingland explain:
"Motion sensors trigger the robotic arm to life. Rising slowly, the lower arm extends and rotates towards the observer. It allows an increasingly intimate encounter with the timepiece on its "wrist" before moving the watch through different planes to rotate its automatic winding rotor"
- In other words, this is no ordinary way of winding a watch, it is a dramatic performance and really, hours could easily be lost just watching the thing. When MB&F showcased the A.W.E. at their Geneva M.A.D. gallery earlier this month they demonstrated its watch winding dexterity with one of their fine Frog timepieces strapped to its wrist, to the delight of the assembled, invited guests.
The Laikingland A.W.E. is a one-off created for the M.A.D. Gallery and of course it is a thoroughly modern piece of mechanical art - but, in a nod back to the automata which have for generations confounded and amazed on-lookers, this wonderful creation not only displays and winds a chosen timepiece - it also wiggles it fingers too.