No. 5 by sculptor/clockmaker Eric Freitas.
In the past 12 months, I’ve seen more clock bits glued in places where they shouldn’t be than I think I’ll ever see for the rest of my life. So when I received an email this morning from a stranger named Eric about “steampunk clocks,” I was skeptical. “Really? Steampunk? Clocks?” is what I said as I clicked on the link, expecting to see nothing new and believing that nothing could beat those mysterious rugged watches from Japan.
And you know what? It’s nice to be completely, delightfully wrong sometimes. Eric Freitas’ clocks completely Shocked and Awed. Every part of the clock is handmade, and they’re not just elaborate static sculptures; they actually tell time. The clocks employ calligraphy as a stylistic method, and no two clocks that are the same. On his Etsy store, Freitas describes the intensive process of creating a clock: “all of the pieces were cut out with a handheld jewelers saw, ground to shape with a flex-shaft tool, and assembled with hand-machined screws. The dial was inked by hand, then was ripped, weathered, and aged.” He’s made five mechanical clocks from scratch so far (and two using a quartz motor), and each one is more complex than the one before.
To reiterate: to make these mechanical clocks, he didn’t go out and buy a clock at the store and embellish it. He made every gear by hand and put all the gears into a mechanism that actually worked. Something that looks so Ye Olde but from another timeline, a work of art that’s also a functional machine that was assembled from scratch… I can’t call it anything other than what it is, a term that’s being used by so many and deserved by so few, a term I thought I’d never apply so reverently to something I saw this year. But I’m humbled. So I’ll say it: it’s Steampunk Art.