Referring to its technical and artistic significance, Al-Noor is an exceptional masterpiece made by the outstanding watchmaker Bernhard Lederer. This watch is created on the order of Rafael Papyan, who is the initiator of Al-Noor concept. Rafael Papyan and Bernhard Lederer’s partnership grounds not only on mutual trust and respect, but also, and first and foremost, on common views, tastes and visions: both are obsessively passionate with their professions, with love for watch-making and world history. This is the second project jointly carried out, after the successful launch of Gagarin Tourbillon watch, which marked the beginning of the historic collection by Bernhard Lederer.
And here comes the new project –Al-Noor Tourbillon – a true masterpiece that embodies a symbiosis of high technology and the Arab-Muslim art: calligraphy, which is inexhaustible in its depth and strength, full of symbolic signs.
During the development of this watch, a tremendous amount of historical material was studied in order to stay faithful to the spirit of the sacred Book of all Muslims in the most accurate way. A technical solution was engineered accordingly as well. As a result and to the judgment of the most discerning collectors, who are guests of the House of High Watch-making, Jewelery and Gastronomic Art, Rafael Papyan presented a true masterpiece, which is unique both in its technical complexity, and the uncompromising precision of the implementation of historical and cultural aspects.
The idea of Al-Noor was developed with real experts of the sacred scripture. A trip to the Middle East, the cradle of the art of calligraphy, was organized to meet a prominent master, capable of adapting calligraphic transcription of the sacred word to a watch.
Mohamed Jamel Cherif, a Professor living in Neuchâtel, president of the Cultural Association of Muslims there and who was directly involved in the project, attended the presentation of Al-Noor. The press conference was attended by Pierre Helg, the Ambassador of Switzerland in Russia, as well.
The idea of a watch displaying verses of the Qur’an is in many ways unprecedented. In Arabic “Al- Noor” means “Light”, and with this name the model highlights the grace and profundity of the sacred word of the Qur’an, allowing the owner to enjoy them. With this magnificent watch, as if at the crossroads of civilizations, western technical expertise and oriental artistic taste meet. In fact, it combines the Swiss watch-making know-how, whose technical sophistication is widely known all over the world, and the art of Arab-Muslim culture, which is not only inexhaustible in its symbolic meaning, but also invaluable in its aesthetic worth.
Inexhaustible technical, aesthetic and symbolic potential of such a union is incarnated in a model, performed with rigorous care and attention to every detail. A mere glance at the watch or even at the special box in which it will be delivered to the customer should be enough to understand the excellent result of such a union of elements stemming from so diverse origins. The box is shaped in the form of the Kaaba and the included exquisite beads and magnifier are not trivial, they symbolize essential elements of the Muslim culture.
The starting point is with an unusual cube-shaped box, reminiscent of the Kaaba – the sacred edifice to all Muslims- and its special significance in Islam. Kaaba is a large cubic structure, located in the courtyard of Al-Haram in Mecca. Its Arabic name, which means “sacred house of God”, shows the importance and the role of the building in the Muslim history and culture. Kaaba is inextricably associated with two pillars of Islam: pilgrimage – the Hajj and the prayer, salat.
Upon receipt of this wonderful watch, the owner will be taken to a kind of “cultural” journey to explore all its dimensions. Speaking about the aesthetic side of this new item, you should, in the first place, pay attention to the outstanding performance of calligraphed verses – It consists of a small aperture of 4 mm square in which the selected texts appear and slip away steadily over hours.
As the melodious recitation of the Qur’an pleases to the ear, calligraphy makes its text pleasant to the eye. Thus, the hours and minutes of human chronological time will, with calligraphed sacred texts, have a deeper meaning. Creators did not limit Al-Noor to cultural values only: for calligraphic purposes only 10 texts were selected. However, the criterion of selection is the possibility to convert these texts into images. Each suggested image should, in its turn, represent an animal whose presence in Muslim culture or even in the Qur’an reveals an obvious symbolic dimension.
From the symbolic point of view Qur’an is the eternal truth, the answer to the questions of a believer about his past, present and future. So a watch with selected verses from the Qur’an conveys a powerful symbol too. It becomes not just a wrist device by which the current time is seen, but unprecedented carrier of the divine wisdom. The first four verses of the first Surah – “Al-Fatiha” are inscribed on the dial. The play of light and shade in combination with Arabic script makes room for embossed text – a word, suspended in time, a word that generates respect.
Secrets of the mechanism are merely visible: from the dial side the tourbillon is remarkable and completes a full circle in a minute. The tourbillon is mounted in a cylindrical hole showing the beginning and the end of verses placed on the dial. The tourbillon bridge creates forms typical of the Arab-Muslim architecture. The center of the dial is decorated according to the old technology guilloche: thin grooves resembling dunes complement this unique masterpiece with special elegant features.
Transparent back allows admiring the original design of the accurate mechanism. Behind the delicately carved bridges the gears are visible. All facets are produced manually. At first glance, the mechanism is less dynamic, but the motion of the discs that displays the inscription in the aperture animates it every hour. At this point, you can observe the movement of the parts in all its glory. The flywheel is put into motion by the rapid rotation of the cog wheels, giving rhythm to an exciting “dance” that unfolds before the eyes of the admiring observer.
After creating Al-Noor watch, time serves as a universal basis, while culture and art of the Arab-Muslim world remain, in fact, the source of inspiration…
Raff House owns the copyright of the Al-Noor watch.
Al-Noor is a limited edition watch of only fifty-five (55) copies and will be exclusively presented in Raff House.