A Limited Edition watch is quite the thing for watch collectors. Provided the timepiece is considered desirable – the more famous the maker, the better – rarity equals a reasonable expectation of monetary value. Pride and props too. Getting a hold of one can be a bitch. Never mind. There’s a better answer: Otto Carter.
Otto is a Master Engraver. I’m not entirely au fait with that world, but as far as I’m concerned the Texan artisan is the Master Engraver.
Inspired by cartoonist Robert Crumb, Otto’s meticulous handiwork is astounding in both concept and execution. I worked with him to create some engraved Cabot 1911 handguns. The final result absolutely blew me away.
The idea here is simple enough: a one-off, Otto Carter custom-engraved watch case and clasp in steel or rose gold.
As you can see, Otto has applied his talents to a rose gold Panerai. He performed the engraving using “deep relief in a Moorish style.”
As regular readers know (Don’t Buy Panerai – It’s A Dead Brand Walking), the pseudo-Italian watchmaker is far from my favorite brand. But it’s a LARGE canvas upon which Otto can do his thing.
The above photo is blurry AF, but the previous image gives you an excellent idea of the quality of the man’s workmanship.
I gotta say, as mind-blowing as Otto’s “standard” engraved decoration is, it’s not what I consider his best stuff. I’m far more enamored with the Master Engraver’s Aztec motif. Like this:
Then again, when Otto kicks out the jams, the jams are well and truly kicked. Click here to view his Instagram.
Here’s one of the guns Mr. Carter created for my patron.
I’m sorry: that shit is insane. Check out the 3D vegetation. Who does that?
Art is in the eye of the beholder. Despite Otto’s worldwide reputation, an Otto Carter custom-engraved watch case doesn’t have the same cachet as a rare Patek, AP or Vacheron.
Or does it? The man is an artist.
Like everything else in this world, Otto’s art is worth whatever someone will pay for it. But rarity here is on a whole ‘nother level.
In the 20 years since Otto Carter achieved Master Engraver status, he’s done 10 watches. None of them to your specification.
You can work with Otto to create a drawing of the work first, or give him some guidance and let him go to town.
How much? “I could retire just from the money I’ve left on the table,” Otto jokes. Kinda. Let’s put it this way: it depends on the design. Figure no less than $200 an hour for a limited edition watch (he completed the Panerai in 12 hours).
One more thing: The Truth About Watches is a fully independent watch site. Otto is not compensating me for this article. I wrote it because the world will be a better place when you have an Otto Carter custom-engraved timepiece on your wrist.