What Makes It Tick? The Most Expensive Horology Art Work

As a young kid, the trip to the local watchmaker was the most exciting event. I would go to replace batteries, fix a strap or fix a watch. The thrill of knowing that you will come back with a working watch on your wrist was priceless.
I fell in love with this great Illustration because it reminded me of myself standing the exact same way sticking my forehead on the glass to watch the magic of the watchmaker’s world.
Real Photo of Boy depicted in the Illustration
After the Watchmaker puts on his magnifier, puts the watch under the bright light, open the watch case & I see the heart of the machine. I always wondered how are these watches made? What are these small components that are barely seen with the naked eye? & Where did this watchmaker learn all these skills?!
Real Photo of watchmaker depicted in the Illustration
So what’s the story of the illustration?
In 1948 The Watchmakers of Switzerland, Known now as The Federation Of Swiss Watchmaking wanted to start a marketing campaign to raise their brand awareness globally & they were looking for an artist that could achieve the greatest impact from a single image.
The Federation needed to post this ad for several years in the Post & Life Magazine, also in Jewelry shops around the world.
The Swiss firm chose the famous American artist Norman Rockwell, due to his unique work reflecting the society in beautiful illustrations. Rockwell issued more than 800 magazine covers.
Norman Rockwell
Norman Rockwell
A great coincidence that Norman’s great-grandfather used to own a watchmaking shop in New York City & he sold the shop to go into the real estate business. Maybe Norman was thinking about his great-grandfather when he was working on this masterpiece.
The painting shows a small boy standing in the watchmaker shop fascinated & observing the concentrated old watchmaker working on a watch.
Norman Rockwell says that he prefers to paint the very old or the very young because they remain strictly themselves, neither types want to pretty up.
What Makes It Tick?
What Makes it Tick? Painting
The Painting was called “What Makes It Tick?” & the ad was issued, written underneath it this beautiful quote ” When you listen to your watch, it speaks not only of the passing of the seconds but of the skills of all the men whose efforts have gone into its perfection.”
What Makes It Tick? Ad
What Makes It Tick? Ad
“One of my best, I think” Norman Rockwell on The what makes it tick painting.

Some of Norman Rockwell’s work:

What Makes it tick? painting was auctioned at Christie’s in November 2017 & sold for 7,287,500$.

Norman issued another painting for The Federation Of Swiss Watchmaking called “The Jewelry Shop”.

Jewelry Shop
The Jewelry Shop Ad

The Norman Rockwell Museum is in Stockbridge, Massachusetts in the United States.

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