My favorite pieces: Mo Coppoletta has an eye for the aesthetics of watch brands

Mo Coppoletta sees a link between his work as a tattoo artist and the profession of watchmaker. “What they have in common is the extreme precision of your work and the extreme attention to detail,” he says. “There’s no way to cheat and there’s no way to take shortcuts.”

His interest in watches took off while he was having lunch with his parents in Italy in 2006. Reading a report of the International Fine Watchmaking Fair at the time, the launch of the Reverso Squadra by Jaeger-LeCoultre caught his Warning. “From that day on, it was 24-hour watches,” says Coppoletta, who opened London salon The Family Business Tattoo in 2003.

His passion led him to apply the art of tattooing to timepieces through commercial collaborations with Bulgari and Romain Jerome through his company Coppoletta Designs. He has also built a “quite eclectic” collection comprising 20 “meaningful” watches.

1. De Bethune DB25 Starry Sky Special Order (2010)

© Charlie Bibby/FT

A fan of De Bethune, Coppoletta was drawn to this watch by the “inventive” treatment of the titanium – by bluing it – and its representation of the night sky. “Being a complete devotee of all things celestial, dreamy and romantic, I thought it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen,” he says.

Offered by the independent Swiss manufacturer to choose the constellation represented, he chose that of the day of his birth. He now always wears the watch on his birthday in July.

The stars are individual white gold spheres drilled into the dial. “Each time the light hits the watch in a different way, the stars reveal or disappear beyond the nebula [an effect created by the treatment of the titanium],” he says.

2. Jaeger-LeCoultre Duometer with Lunar Calendar (2011)

Jaeger-LeCoultre Duometer with Lunar Calendar

© Charlie Bibby/FT

A birthday present for himself, Coppoletta says the “beautiful” white gold piece with black dial is part of a limited edition of 200 pieces. “It is a watch for connoisseurs because it is very philosophical but also very technical,” he adds.

The movement has two barrels. One powers the indications – hour, minute, second, 1/6 of a second, moon phase and date – and the other the escapement. “It’s a very clever watch because dedicating a barrel to the escapement will guarantee incredible precision,” Coppoletta explains. “For watch enthusiasts, it’s a treat.”

3. Patek Philippe 5070J (c2000)

Patek Philippe 5070J

© Charlie Bibby/FT

The Reference 5070 was a model that Coppoletta had always found “extremely charming” due to its oversized case and he “couldn’t resist” this yellow and black gold version when he discovered it in Italy last week. last year. “It’s the ultimate example of the beauty of a chronograph, even though I’m not a chronograph guy,” he says.

He finds the color combination “opulent yet refined.” “I don’t have very understated watches,” says the avowed maximalist. “I always have watches that stand out.”

The watch was on the wish list that Coppoletta stores on his phone – a list that is “growing” regularly. Among the wishes not yet fulfilled, let us mention a Girard-Perregaux Tourbillon under Trois Ponts d’Or.

4. Cartier Tank Cintrée unique piece (2018)

Cartier Tank Cintrée

© Charlie Bibby/FT

A watch is not on Coppoletta’s list unless the aesthetic appeals to him. He says the Tank Cintrée is “the most stylish and coolest watch you could wish for” and epitomizes the 1920s when the model was originally launched. “I’m a big fan of art deco for many of my designs or decorations,” he says.

Coppoletta and his friend Wei Koh, founder of watch magazine Revolution, ordered custom versions from Cartier. The tattoo artist’s “bewitching” piece is platinum, which he considers “the queen material” for a dress watch, with burgundy Roman numerals and a ruby ​​cabochon on the crown.

5. Vacheron Constantin Historic American 1921 (2009)

Vacheron Constantin Historical American

© Charlie Bibby/FT

Another modern piece that reinterprets a model first released in 1921, Coppoletta’s driving watch has a right-slanted dial so it can be read while driving. He wears it while driving his 1966 Jaguar E-Type convertible near his Lake Garda home, with the rose gold finish complementing the car’s “lush red” interiors.

Coppoletta likes classic cars but collects modern watches. He says collecting vintage watches requires “a huge amount of knowledge” and that while he loves vintage references, not everything has to be original. “I am inspired by the past[in my designs]. . . that’s why I think some of the modern interpretations of old designs strike me more than the original.

He says there has been a “major trend” for pocket watch tattoos over the past seven years due to their “symbolic power” in relation to the passage of time and the transience of time. life.

He also received specific requests from the watch industry for tattoos of De Bethune’s delta-shaped bridge and FP Journe’s tourbillon movement.

“I haven’t done them yet,” he says. “I don’t think it suits my style very much – they are very delicate – but you never know.”

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