If you’ve ever tried to take a photo of a watch, you’ll know it’s a mean feat. As dexterous as smartphones are bringing all our needs to one place, when it comes to shooting a watch on your wrist, the tech gods are yet to source the app that takes a decent photo of a watch that captures it in all its glory.
The way in which we’re introduced to watches today is centralised by the pictures we see in marketing campaigns and the endless scrolling on Instagram. Staged against compelling backdrops – unless you’re able to see the watch first hand in a store – our first impressions of the latest models are introduced to us through visual settings. As aesthetes for luxury, we view these models behind a phone screen. But as we pour over the magnitude and appearance of these creations, we often overlook the person who put them in our view in the first place.
Watch photographers harness a powerful ability to influence the story behind a watch and we perceive it as consumers. They act as an intermediary, bringing to life the delicate machines we fasten to our wrists. Taking pleasure in choreographing the narrative, Alex Teuscher discovered his penchant for photography when he was gifted a camera by his father in his late 20’s, without realising this kind gesture would form the beginning of his career working with some of the world’s best known luxury watch brands including Vacheron Constantin, Hugo Boss and Greubel Forsey.
Based in Switzerland, Alex caught up with The Next Hour to share the story of the man behind the lens and the mastery of producing still-life photography, yielding tales of craftsmanship into immortal moments.
The Next Hour: Alex! It’s so great to chat with you and discover the man who brings so many watches to life. First up, how did you get your footing in photography? Was it something you’d always considered doing? What was your first camera?
Alex Teuscher: While I’ve always been creatively inclined, photography was definitely a more recent discovery, only really becoming a passion of mine in my late 20’s. My father came to visit one year, and offered me one of his camera’s that wasn’t being used anymore, a Canon EOS 40D, with a couple of lenses. I happily accepted, and my love for photography grew exponentially from that moment, which I can say without a doubt changed the course of my life and the direction that my career would take.
TNH: Can you tell me a little bit about your upbringing and how far you think this added to your creative vision?
AT: My father was in the hotel business, so we moved around a lot when I was growing up, predominantly throughout Asia, but also spent some time in New Zealand and the Middle East, amongst others. Being exposed to so many cultures from such an early age and throughout my life definitely had an impact on how I view things and left me with a great appreciation for the diverse and beautiful world we live in.
TNH: Can you tell us about your journey as a self-taught photographer. How did you get stuck into it and what’s been one of the biggest lessons you’ve learned?
AT: Where to begin haha. As mentioned, my interest really began with a gift from my father. I would spend so much time photographing anything and everything, looking up YouTube videos to figure out how some shots were made, that it started to come to me that photography really was my passion and I should try and do something with it career-wise. It’s the most challenging and daunting thing I’ve ever done, attempting a new career out of the blue and with zero real experience or official training/education, but I don’t regret any of it. The biggest single lesson I’ve learned is to not be afraid to take a risk. It may not always work out, but you will never know if you don’t try. So many people have passions and things in general that they never pursue, for many reasons, but if you don’t try you will never know and the worst thing is regret and wondering in hindsight if you should have taken a chance.
TNH: Let’s talk about the recent shoot you did with Greubel Forsey and how you made such eccentric watches come to life.
AT: Greubel definitely makes some of the most complex and technical watches in the industry, with perhaps the highest level of finishing. Funnily enough this makes them easy to shoot in a way, as the watches themselves do the talking.
TNH: What’s been the craziest shoot you’ve worked on?
AT: I’ve been really lucky to shoot in some amazing places, so this may not count as the craziest shoot, but I once did a shoot in the middle of the Namib Desert at night, which is one of the darkest places on earth, and seeing endless stars and the milky way with the naked eye is an experience that will stay with me for a very long time.
TNH: As someone who gets to view watches from a different perspective and really shape the way we see them as a viewer, how would you describe the role of a watch in today’s society?
AT: From my perspective, we now have so many different ways to tell the time, also more accurately. But it’s only watches that can impart a feeling, and in a sense desire. Buying a watch these days is about more than just telling the time and part of my job is to present these pieces in a desirable way.
TNH: How would you describe your sense of time at present?
AT: Non existent haha. Jokes aside, I’m always aware of it to be honest. It’s been a very very busy year, with nearly all my time dedicated to work, but that also makes me notice even more how precious time is and how little of it there actually is, and that its important to dedicate take time to yourself and also to your loved ones.
TNH: If money was no option and you could have any watch in the world, what would you choose and why?
AT: So many great watches are released every year, and also our personal tastes change constantly and refine over time, but right now I’d be happy to have the Greubel Forsey GMT Sport and the Lange & Sohne Turbograph Perpetual Honeygold in the collection 🙂
TNH: If you could have a dinner party with any three guests dead or alive, who would you pick?
AT: Nothing too profound but I think it would be a damn good time. The first on my list without a doubt is Stephen Fry. Brilliant, funny, and an amazing storyteller. Anthony Bourdain, a great sense of humour and travel and food experiences. You have to have Tom Hanks there as well!
TNH: And finally, complete the sentence. Time to me means….
AT: ...making the most of it.