uxury watch manufacturer Moritz Grossmann presents the most listened.to cellist and Swiss composer Martin Tillman exclusively as its new brand ambassador. With the Tillman Electric Cello Watch, the Glashütte luxury watch brand, which celebrates its fifteenth anniversary this year, honours virtuoso, musician and film music composer Martin Tillman.
Martin Tillman, born in Zurich in 1964, has contributed to over 100 soundtracks as a cellist, film music composer and multi-instrumentalist. Countless famous Hollywood film scores have been given his magic touch, including the blockbusters ‘Total Recall’, ‘The Da Vinci Code’, ‘The Dark Knight’ and ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’.
His collaboration with the world-famous film music composer Hans Zimmer is particularly worthy of a mention; the composer employed Martin Tillman’s perfection on the e-cello to evoke great emotions in the audience with sounds that had never been heard before.
Tillman’s exceptional performance in the film ‘The Dark Knight’ is unforgettable, where he created the acoustic sign of recognition for the sinister character of the Joker. Tillman played only a single note, but made use of various playing techniques, such as slow strokes followed by the creation of initially gravelly, then more hectic and finally incredibly disturbing timbres.
Tillman has already shared the stage with pop stars such as Elton John, Tracy Chapman, B.B. King and Sting. His current live performance programme bears the same name as his album: ‘Superhuman’. The elaborately staged spectacle with a rock band, twenty cellists, three percussionists, soul singer and light show will be premièred in spring 2023 (concert dates 5 and 6 May 2023).
When the exceptional cellist Martin Tillman encountered Christine Hutter, founder and CEO of the young luxury manufactory Moritz Grossmann, it was a meeting of two worlds. Out of their two passions – music and time – was born something completely new and at the same time unifying. With the Tillman Electric Cello Watch, they have worked together to combine the two worlds.
Martin Tillman: “For me, a watch is an inspiring thing that is timeless. In spite of this, it tells the time and is very precise. This is a parallel to an instrument. Music is a feeling, unlimited and unplanned. But a note is a note and a rhythm is a rhythm. If you play something in perfect time, you will always be able to feel your heart in it. That’s the most important thing and it is the same with the mechanical watch, which ticks to the rhythm of its frequency, its heartbeat. With the Tillman Electric Cello Watch,, we have transformed the connection between music and time into a new reality. I’m delighted about our creative collaboration and also to wear this special watch on my wrist as an ambassador for the Moritz Grossmann brand.”
The Tillman Electric Cello Watch surprises with a perspective that focuses the attention on the aesthetics of the mechanics, combining this with the fascination of music. While the details of the movement can be seen in all their beauty thanks to the openwork dial, the fine decoration on the components can be seen through the back of the case.
Martin Tillman’s electric cello is showcased as a decorative motif here, too: the contours of the cello are carved out of the material. The body and space between the strings give rise to a velvety texture, which is down to the amazing craftsmanship as cultivated in the workshops of Moritz Grossmann. This time, the historic engraving technique of tremblage was used. The engraver creates an expressive matt surface using their burin to etch small, almost trembling movements in the metal.
The striking dial view on this watch is made possible by a special construction by Moritz Grossmann, the mirrored calibre 107.0. The movement is almost inverted, requiring numerous additional constructions, such as changing the direction of rotation of the mainspring barrel and the entire movement. The wheel train runs in the right direction thanks to the mirrored escapement and the mirrored oscillation system – also including the balance spring coiling direction.
This construction enables an exceptionally large dial aperture that showcases the most spectacular details of the movement, such as the Grossmann balance, the hand-engraved balance cock and the ratchet wheel with three-band snailing.
Thanks to the circumferential minute scale and hour display from 11 to 7 o’clock, the time is easy to read on the dial. The applied hour markers and numerals in black contrast with the subtle colour of the rehaut, hour ring and small seconds, all of which are in champagne.
The sleek stainless steel case underpins the sporty but elegant look of the timepiece. This is carried through in the lance-shaped steel hands, which are also made in house, carefully polished and finished with white HyCeram. The luxurious look of the watch is completed by a supple brown Kudu leather strap.
Music is ephemeral. It sounds in the moment and fades away again. Time structures it. Linear and uniform or non-linear and not uniform: descending and calming or ascending and accelerating. Watches are artefacts. They measure the duration of fleeting time and make it visible. Mechanical watches themselves emit sounds. The ticking of the mechanism gives rise to a uniform rhythmic structure that is in itself music and can be combined and compositionally fused with other musical elements.
During his first visit to the Moritz Grossmann manufactory in Glashütte, Martin Tillman realised his musical vision of rhythmically merging sounds from watch manufacturing such as the ticking of movements with the experimental sounds of acoustic and electric cellos.
With the title ‘Rhythm and Time’, the results of this artistic/aesthetic analysis of the subject of music and time was documented on film and is part of the new music video for the Tillman Electric Cello Watch,