The Raw Concept.

Unveiling the beauty of the unexpected, through photographic and mechanical art-forms

Denim & Steel

A juxtaposition of two fundamental materials. Each mechanism shown above has a distinct “bluing” found in the original watches, which have been crafted by the watchmaker and accentuated artistically to tie-in with the indigo-textured backdrop.

Also :

Latest Pocket-watch creations above, where secondary elements have been embedded within the mechanisms themselves. The beauty here is the nature of the condition of the pocket-watch, where each is either intact or broken-down in a unique way. Some pieces have an Egyptology feel, which I think is interesting to be combined with the Steampunk aesthetic..

Enjoy the pics!


a Raw Aesthetic.

I have gained a heavy chunk of influence from this Dutch denim label. This is a beautiful aviator trench-coat I came across in a store I believe this is one of their concept pieces (Not for sale!).

Their philosophy behind apparel I found has quite a unique angle and position within the fashion industry. The concept of wearing raw denim – denim in its purest essence – untreated, unaltered, unrefined.

The denim utilises the wearers form and contour to mould against, and thus creates an ever-unique effect of weathering. I think that this allows denim to “express itself”, using the human body to be its canvas.

The etymology of DENIM : French town of Nîmes, from which ‘denim’ (de Nîmes) gets its name. The word comes from the name of a sturdy fabric called serge, originally made in Nîmes, France, by the André family. Originally called serge de Nîmes, the name was soon shortened to denim.

G-Star, I believe is all about juxtaposition, and defying the norm. Their style fuses vintage and modern military, which infuses practicality, with the elegance and chic-cuts of formal wear. Their silhouettes are truly outstanding, and the synthesis of materials eg. – denim, leather and gunmetal/brass components, which compliments each piece with attention to detail that is easily underestimated, and/or overlooked.

Squelette Noir

Skeleton watches catch the eye off-guard. As the passer-by usually wouldn’t expect a “watch” or “timepiece” to be completely exposed as skeleton watches are, they question : How would you tell the time?

Mechanical watches of today are what I more desire to call “timepieces”, thoroughly because they are miniature-machines of mechanical beauty that man has created to display time and numerous other useful functions. Today, we can live without watches (by live I mean not a necessity) and even save a hunk of money. (By hunk, I mean around 300,000 for a watch?)

As the “pessimist” would challenge the idea of wearing a watch at all in this day and age, glancing the time on your mobile phone and/or asking the person next to you for it would be all the more convenient (and cheap). The counter-argument towards that, my friends, would be :

Wearing a watch not only accentuates a person’s general appearance, status and should be a reflection of their personal appreciation and tastes of modern technology and traditional craft. It is also a beautiful synthesis of form and function, and serves as wearing a piece of art and as well as displaying a variety of functions that proves both efficient and convenient. For me, the last and possibly one of the more important and impressive advantages is, that it is greatly an exercise of mechanical-engineering at a micro level – an arduous human achievement. It’s a centuries-old art-form that has been passed down from the generations, and something that should be preserved, and appreciated. Though I may be asking for a lot here.

It is a reflection of the efforts in the past hundreds of years by the artisans/horologists to “time-keep”. Their experimentations and achievements echoes throughout history and is infinitely reproduced and replicated by the modern people in the same field, today.

Anyhow, this watch of mine is something I found from Germany, and is the only black skeleton I could find out there..for the moment. It is a manual winding timepiece, which keeps about 40 hours of power reserve when fully wound. This method of time-keeping is more traditional, and realistically not as “convenient” as an automatic, but the FEEL of winding up a mechanical entity has its own sense of joy – a form of nostalgia that our (younger) generation has missed..

Enjoy the pics!



A visual display of the complexity and grandeur of the natural, autonomous growth – contrasted up against the mechanical, man-made.

Rather to pin against each other, I’ve tried to compare and contrast these two. “Unevenly matched” mechanical and natural, in these individual images, I have tried to relate them somewhat in structural, artistic and aesthetic forms. This is to hopefully extract their unique features and traits that can only be seen when placed alongside each other.

See what I see?

[Tree Photography by Angus Zhao. Mechanism Photography by Guido Mocafico.]

A New Favourite.


As you can imagine, I come across a plethora of vintage mechanisms that range in all diameters and shapes (calibers – a term for “model” in watchmaking), tones and polishes etc. When it comes to having a favourite, it is like being asked which child you love more. Actually, maybe not that intense.

So I now have a new favourite. I had one from much earlier on (when I first started), but everything in between then and now has been up and down. I do try to judge on many varying levels – tone, polish, age, weathering, beveling, engravings, company, history and overall FEEL.

This piece is from Octava Watch Co. of Switzerland. It is one of those THINGS, when you know it’s something else when you see it.

Don’t forget to click on the images for the larger versions!

So far I believe that this is an old military watch, unknown region (yet), made by a Swiss company. I shall delve deeper into this, I promise.

[All images are original photographs taken by Angus Zhao]

Stay tuned!

Setting the Bar.

FORM and FUNCTION. The two fundamentals that govern and categorise the myriad of objects in our lives. Certain objects follow the form – to be displayed, shown and admired; or used as complimentary visual aid. Purely aesthetics, like a painting, or a photograph, or an illustration. On the other hand, I believe that many others serve a very sole purpose of function – to get the job done. Be it the hammer that helped build a house, down to the nail that is keeping it all together. …but where do you really, truly find, a perfect blend of both these fundamentals? Though not completely necessary but I’d have to set these examples, as not only pure mechanical and engineering achievement, but as the beautiful art-form that it is. I’m setting the Bar, here _. This is one of the pinnacles of watchmaking – the centuries-old art-form that has been passed down through the generations. As you would probably see and know, time is kept with digital devices now that run amok our digital landscape, so discovering a mechanical piece like this isn’t one of the most common things you’d find everyday. Please be reminded that this is solely my opinion! (mixed with a lot of read-up from the experience of others in the watch industry..and seeing one myself!) If you take a look at pieces from A.Lange & Sohne,  I am confident that you will find that they are elegant, and perfectly made. Trust the Germans. A piece in particular that I’d like to point your attention to is the Datograph.     Lovely, don’t you think? Though the following images would make the word “lovely” sound very …mild.

Actually, I’ll change “mild” to “meager”. Hopefully you got as excited as I did when first laid eyes upon this..

Basically I’m going to get geeky here, and tell you about what it actually does:

Function: its mechanism contains a chronograph (which essentially is a stopwatch, so a start, stop and reset pushers); a “perpetual calendar” which features a day-of-week, month, 4-year/leap-year and moon-phase displays. I think I’ve gotten geeky enough already! All of the functions needn’t be mentioned, as it could take up the whole blog. As extraordinary as it is, it is not a necessity..

Most of the functions you find on a wrist-watch would be available in most everyday places… like your all-in-one iPhone!

This watch contains 405 parts that are meticulously hand-crafted and hand-assembled.

 I would honestly love to own any or all of these photographs, hanging in my home!

In terms of Form, you will hopefully see that no doubt, it is a beautiful piece of mechanical engineering. Everything from the inset rubies, the chamfering (aka. beveling), down to the “Glashutte Ribbing” polishing on the surface of the mechanism, completes this as an art-piece in its very own category.

A.Lange & Sohne is located in eastern part of Germany, near Dresden, located in a not-so-large town of Glashutte, in the state of Saxony. The company was founded in 1845 by Ferdinand Adolph Lange. With a population of around 4,700 it is a small place, but is the birthplace of the German watchmaking industry. As most things did, the factory had gotten bombed in the War, and had ceased for decades until it was resurrected in 1990 by the founder’s grandson with the help of another. Their first wrist-watch range began in 1994, and is now one of the most prestigious companies in the watch industry.

If you’re wondering how to say the name, it is roughly pronounced [ah LANG-eh unt ZURN-neh], and is compulsory to be said with a thick, German accent. Hehe

Summing up my wordy and elaborate explanation – It is intriguing to know that there can be an art-form inside a watch today (considering the context of this day and age). Though to know that they were never quite shown in the past, and not much appreciated [as an art-form] today, to me is more of an oddity!

[All images were obtained from the official A.Lange & Sohne website. They are not my property.]

Thanks for reading the first post!!


Thank you, firstly for taking time to stray away from the other things and stop by here. The purpose of this web-log is to shift perspective. Through the unveiling of the beauty of the unexpected, I’d like to show you this mechanical world through my “lense” (not only my camera!). I hope to not just shift your mindset just about how beautifully crafted and engineered “wrist-watches” can be, but to ultimately set your mind into noticing the unnoticed.