In the somewhat irrational world of watch collectors, it can sometimes be hard to predict what exactly can become valuable or a future collectible. Certainly, no one in their right mind even 10 years would have predicted a manually-wound mass produced chronograph from the 1960’s would one day fetch in excess of $17 million dollars at an auction.

Rogal says he likes watches enough for them to appear on his canvas

So it’s with some interest that many in the watch world observe the work of Polish-born artist Marcin Rogal, whose paintings often feature wristwatches prominently. According to Rogal, he lives the by a quote attributed to PIcasso, “Everything you can imagine is real.” Rogal, whose work is being exhibited at World Art Dubai week (April 3-6) tells us more in this interview.

Would you describe yourself as a watch collector?

I am more of a watch lover than a collector. I own a few timepieces at the moment, some independent and some well-established brands. However, I am looking forward to growing a collection once I finish my priority projects, the first of which is completing the construction of a new art studio in my home.

Patek and Rolex are constants in his paintings featuring watches

And yes, I am very hesitant on any sales from my collection. Lately I have been considering offering a few pieces to the market, however I feel better when they are with me. I think selling off timepieces from a collection is tough for any watch lover. 

How did watches find themselves on your canvas? Tell us a bit more about the first “watch canvas”.

In general, I enjoy painting what I love, and watches happen to be one of those things. I started first incorporating watch brands into my “hands” pieces, where hands substituted one of the letters or play with the logo. I was then experimenting with cartoons wearing some top tier timepieces. From that I moved into painting entire watches. I think it comes from my admiration and desire, because there is never enough watches in the collection. And who doesn’t enjoy looking at timepieces?

What is the message that you are trying to convey through these paintings?

I don’t like focusing on one particular message in a painting. However, it always filters down to the admiration and appreciation of the timepieces themselves. There are many meanings that can be interpreted depending on the details and context of the paintings that watches are placed into. For example, there is one piece where I put a Patek Philippe into a McDonalds French Fries holder.

Appreciate Patek, just like you would French Fries

There are two messages that I tried to convey here. Firstly, I wanted to portray rumors about PP being offered up for sale, so I thought that it would be funny if McDonalds acquired the brand. The second one is about appreciating things regardless of the price - like Patek timepieces and fast food.

Do you get approached by watch collectors a lot? Do they commission paintings?

Yes - collecting watches and art goes well together, it’s pretty much based on similar emotions. When it comes to orders - it all depends. Most of my pieces find a new home really quickly, so I do offer custom pieces as well, as demand seems to be constantly rising. 

He does get approached by watch collectors interested in his work

Why are you participating in World Art Dubai? And what are your expectations from the show?

Because it’s a great art fair and an opportunity to meet many amazing artists and collectors in person. I can’t wait to meet artists participating, share ideas and views. It’s my first time in Dubai, so I am really looking forward to it! I hope I will just have enough time and opportunity to talk with everyone!