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Cay Brøndum: Father of Historic Horological Art

Anna Wu-Chauvineau
Le 8 September 2017

An encounter with the one who has undoubtedly launched the niche art of “horological” painting. Here is an art with stories to tell, especially of icons that have always fascinated us all. Amateur and collector during his off time, this multifaceted painter explains his approach, his background,  and even answers some “off-the-record” questions. All-in-all a beautiful encounter!

Cay Brøndum: The Journey

The one, whose hand is now known to us all, was born in Copenhagen and still lives there today. Cay made painting his trade, but has never received any training. Completely self-taught, he simply admits: “When I was a child, my pencils always made me happy. That hasn’t changed!”

Cay Broendum - Historic Horological Art

Today, his pieces vary from watercolour to oil on canvas, often figurative and very colourful.

“When I was a child, my pencils always made me happy. That hasn’t changed!”

“Horological” paintings began entirely out of pleasure in 2012, and completely by chance, when he wanted to decorate the wall of his apartment in Copenhagen. Now this “Historic Horological Art” takes up half his time.

Enthusiasm comes naturally from collectors who like to see the history of the pieces they own and love so much depicted in paintings, but also from younger amateurs who, before having the means to acquire their first timepiece, start with the purchase of a limited edition artwork, a small or large art print, before reaching their ultimate goal in 1, 3 or 5 years.

Historic Horological Art: A unique concept

Today, there are a number of artists in this very niche category, and each offer their own style. From a more fashionable approach to the extreme precision and sharpness of pencil strokes that ultimately resemble a technical drawing. Each beholder interprets the pieces from his experience and with his personal relationship to watches and time.

The Concept

Cay’s approach is artistic, of course, but precise. The watch is clearly at the center of attention, but the artwork has stories to tell: one of a tool and of its time. Sometimes the stories are about those who made the pieces famous. If I had to summarize his work, I would simply say that in addition to reproducing real beautiful iconic watches, he succeeds in capturing a part of soul.

Cay Broendum - Historic Horological Art

But make no mistake, even if Cay loves to paint and recreate an atmosphere that may remind you of old advertising posters of the 50s, all the important details are indeed present.

Painting a watch without knowing its story is just like painting a portrait without knowing the person. It just does not work as well.

By learning about the models he paints, and there are more and more of them, he confesses to know what he is talking about. Again, knowledge is the key, because “Painting a watch without knowing its history is like making a portrait without knowing the person. It’s inevitably worse, and it shows.”

The Technique

The technique used depends on the format. If the smallest sizes are painted directly on authentic papers of the period, often old letters, the larger canvases are first covered with photographic prints he creates by painting over old maps.

Limited Editions

Limited editions, whether they’re on canvas or on aluminum, are of very high quality. Each print is numbered and signed by the artist.

The prints on canvas are really stunning and the smallest formats on aluminum plate as well as the metallic support offers the cases and bracelets an astonishing realism. Each piece is approved, numbered, and signed by Cay in his workshop before taking a secured flight to its future owner.

Extra Q&A to Get Better Acquainted with Cay Brøndum

If you had to choose only one?

If I had to leave everything behind and keep only one watch, it would be my old Tissot PR516 Seastar from 1969. It belonged to my father and it’s an elegant sports watch I wear all the time.

Another passion you’d like to share?

I think we can only have a true passion. The rest I see as more fascination, interest, feeling or pleasure. My real passion is obviously drawing and painting.

But now I also have real fascination for any well-oiled mechanics, whether it’s cars, motorcycles, or watches. I also have a fascination for successful designs where shapes, balance, harmony and aesthetics meet. If these designs are also accompanied by a beautiful story…I’m all in!

Your favorite city?

Copenhagen, where I currently live. But I could also very well live in another city. I love, above all, cities full of history, where the architecture of old buildings meet more modern styles.

And of course, the ocean. I like seaside towns. A port, a beach, no matter the weather. I like to see, feel and listen to the ocean. Being able to take a dive watch along doesn’t bother me either…

Your favorite cocktail?

Oh! I’d rather choose a cold beer. Cocktail is not really my thing. My favorite meal is very simple, almost boring for some. A slice of rye bread with good cheese and a cup of coffee. Something I could never get tired of.

Cocoa Pebbles or Corn Pops?

For breakfast, it’s just an apple for me. Again, it may sound boring, but I usually get up very early to start working, it’s perfect to wake up and get the energy needed!

Another beautiful encounter with an artist, a connoisseur, and a passionate lover of beautiful things. The one who loves to tell stories through his creations is a happy man who has managed to have a job that combines his talent, his passion and one of his favorite pastimes.

As he says so well himself, these works are also a way of not forgetting the passing time. It is up to him to ask the question in turn:

“The artwork is also a reminder, on the hole subject of TIME. How do you spend you TIME? hopefully by doing something you love – otherwise remember, Time is now….”

Questions and answers that inevitably resonate with our vision of things and the reason why we like to wear watches…

To go further, know that we offer a number of Cay Brøndum works for sale. For those who seek specific references, just contact him directly. And for those who aren’t fans of beautiful watches (a true pity), the artist’s scope is actually much wider…