Eye-catching chronometers made of Czech glass

These unique pieces add an intriguing element to superyachts

Jan Frydrych glass and heartwood marine chronometer
Jan Frydrych glass and heartwood marine chronometer

Czech artist Jan Frydrych’s striking optical glass sculptures may have graced the interior design schemes of many ultra-luxurious yachts, but some of his most seaworthy creations combine his use of light-refracting glass with his first love and hobby: clocks.

Frydrych is collaborating with clockmaker Erwin Sattler on a 50kg sculpture of a chronometer
Frydrych is collaborating with clockmaker Erwin Sattler on a 50kg sculpture of a chronometer

“As a teenager I was given tools and lots of information by a neighbour whose hobby was clockmaking, and I became fascinated,” says Frydrych from his spacious studio in Bohemia. “For a career I chose glass, but I’m still very interested in clocks and have a large collection that I maintain myself.”

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This passion has led to the creation of some truly unique glass marine chronometers (from €530,000), often using his signature thin laminations of coloured glass and coatings of titanium or platinum. The results so far (Frydrych is currently working on his fourth chronometer, which will take about 10 months to complete and weigh over 70kg) are as much works of art as his sculptures – and much more fitting to the ambience of a modern superyacht than their antique brass and wood counterparts

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Witness the violet version that took Frydrych a year to complete: not only is the glasswork intriguing in its depth and colour, but the box, in which all marine chronometers are suspended to keep them level, is a marvel to behold too. “The violet glass complements the naturally purple heartwood I chose for the box, which is very strong and water-resistant. Its grain brings to mind sea waves, and the box is completely smooth, with no interruptions such as handles.” 

Frydrych plans to create just eight of these unique chronometers, because his involvement in several other major projects – including a collaboration with top German clockmaker Erwin Sattler on a bold 50kg glass sculpture of a chronometer – will leave him no time to make more. “In my design, I put a lot of thought into how the chronometer will look through the glass back,” he explains, “but I leave the technical details to Sattler. The movement needs to be absolutely precise and perfectly balanced, and they are experts.”

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