Black Badger Talks: D’Arc Matter Part One

Black Badger Talks: D’Arc Matter Part One

And then there was D’Arcness…

I guess the ideal place to start would be at the beginning. The ah-ha moment (not the Take On Me kind) but that little synapse handshak upstairs that goes, “Hey hang on a sec… There might be something here.

James is standing  in the middle of his cavernous workshop, idly twirling a lightsaber about himself, quietly humming, appearing to the outside world to be killing time. The truth is very different. This is what it looks like — or what it can look like — when he’s doing his best work.

I can’t sketch to save my life, he once told me. I draw in the material. But first I see it. I can’t really plan when that happens. First there’s an idea. I’ll sit on it for a while and then it’ll either come to life or wither and die. We have enough ideas to not worry about the ones that don’t make it.

To talk about where we came up with the D’Arc Matter material we need to start a long time ago. In a galaxy far far away…

I’m very good friends with a highly awesome British painter named Paul Oz. Paul does epically dynamic oil paintings of famous characters from movies and race drivers and all that type of thing.

Well Paul was doing a portrait commission of one of the cast members of a recent Star Wars film that was being filmed near his home.

Paul visited the Pinewood Studios soundstage where filming was just wrapping on some big epic Stormtrooper battle scene that took place on a  distant world covered in black rock. Crumbly black shale, to be specific.

Cheeky Paul asked (as the set was being taken down) if he could have a few pieces of the rock to put in his garden. Well thanks to us having worked on a few projects together, some of these rocks ended up over with me…

After much head scratching I figured that the shale rubble was too brittle to really make anything from. So this very cool little bag of Star Wars rocks sat in my drawer unused for ages.

A few years later I’m outside my apartment in Gothenburg, Sweden, playing with my kids.

Look over and see how my son has managed to remove a small flat chunk of black stone from the large fountain in front of our building.

As I’m crumbling this crappy black shale stone in my hand, a lightbulb goes off in my head. This is the same kind of crappy shale I got from Paul a few years before. Too brittle to do anything with. At least that’s what I’d thought… 

The lightsaber hums as James performs an unconscious manoeuvre with it. His mind is lightyears from where we are, hard at work. It’s fascinating to watch.

For almost half of my two decades in the watch industry, I’ve plied my trade as a journalist, communicating the work that goes into new releases and, in some way, if not justifying, explaining why luxury watches cost what they cost.

This process, this wordless journey into the unknown, is the part that is all too often missed out of the cost equation. How can one put a simple price on the mind that sees through a material and is able to break down its true potential? How many hours, days, weeks, months, or even years does that process and the acquisition of the experience necessary to execute that process take.

The lightsaber hums. His eyes pop open, reflecting the green blaze of its blade. He looks like a wild man, a bearded, bespectacled, vertically challenged Doc Brown. He turns to me and grins…

Reading next

Into The Home Straight
Black Badger Talks: D'Arc Matter Part Two

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