HIGHLIGHTS - DARKO, the “philosigner”

January 2014

There are several ways to approach the creation of a watch. You can start with the inside, like a watchmaker, constructing your movement to see what shape (in the wider sense) the watch will take. Or, on the contrary, you can start with the shape, like a designer, and add the necessary engine afterwards. In the best case, the two approaches would work in parallel.

Darko Mladenovic’s approach is altogether different. This “philosigner”, as he likes to describe himself, first mixes up philosophy and design in his personal cocktail shaker. As with his previous creations, Darko (former Creative Director at Swarovski, who has worked with numerous luxury brands such as Lancôme, Christofle, Louis Vuitton, Van Cleef & Arpels, Château Lafite Rothschild and whose Ray crystal sculpture was chosen by Time magazine to be awarded to its list of the world’s 100 most influential people) takes his inspiration from the links that he tries to create between aesthetics, science, philosophy, the spiritual and the technical.
This slow and informed approach to the object gives his creations a singular depth that can be clearly felt, without having to explain in detail the creator’s approach.

Self-winding mechanical movement with hour, minute and centre seconds display and date. Power reserve of 38 hours. 28,800 (4 Hz) vibrations/hour.
Balance wheel with Darko lion and Darko Watch Co. engraving. 18-carat yellow, pink or white-gold case. Ray Bezel® fluted bezel Opaline silvered guilloche dial with anthracite markings. Lion’s claw lugs. Screw-in crown with D-Wave initial.
Sun Ray type hands. Thickness: 10.30mm Diameter: 39.70 mm Water resistance: 3 bar / 30 m. Sapphire crystal case back.
Hand-sewn alligator leather strap with pin buckle.

Let’s take a look at his watch, the Darko Geometric. It shines all over, it’s a sun. It seems evident, as if it had always existed. If we have the impression that we “recognise” it immediately, it is because it plays on ancient archetypes inherent in our genes since the dawn of time: the Sun, its rays, the idea of light as waves, geometry (crystal, pyramid, circle).
The dial with its concentric waves, crossed by twelve radial rays, extends effortlessly on to the bezel. A veritable sculpture, this sophisticated and luminous Ray Bezel® with its fluting looks as if it has been outlined by the sun’s rays. Even without any hour markers, the Darko Geometric is a model of legibility because it is the shape itself that has an obvious function as an indicator. The time can be read intuitively in the luminous play of the rays, their reflections and their extensions.

All the elements of design and function are connected by what Darko calls a “Grand Simplification”, which was a time-consuming and painstaking process. It gives the piece an internal coherence that can be seen at first glance and which gives the watch its strength, its evidence.
Darko’s brand is only at its very beginnings. The designer has a number of developments on the table, including a probable ceramic version of the Darko Geometric watch, which promises yet more astonishing plays of light, as well as a line of jewellery and accessories. Darko is a name to keep an eye out for.

Photo Credit: ©Dimitri Tolstoï

Source: Europa Star December - January 2013/14 Magazine Issue