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  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    1977 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Watkins, David (designer and maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Aluminium tube

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Jewellery, Rooms 91, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery, case 36, shelf C, box 5

David Watkins began his career as a sculptor and jazz pianist. In the Sixties he made his first attempts in jewellery and in the Seventies he pioneered the use of computers as a design tool. Music and sculpture feed into his work, which is all about form, rhythm and colour, recently developing into abstract symbols and metaphors. Watkins' oeuvre developed from early miniature sculptures into large-scale wearable objects intended to interact with the body. The concept of art for the body is deeply embedded in his work. Watkins remains firmly committed to modernity.

Watkins explores a wide range of materials, from paper and gold to industrial materials such as steel, aluminium and titanium. He stretches them to their aesthetic and technical limits. For him machine technologies bestow beauty, thus traditional craft and modern technologies can coexist without loss to one another.

In 1975 some of his new work with acrylic, shown at the exhibition 'Jewellery in Europe' in the Victoria and Albert Museum, included aluminium. At the time it was a material which was rarely used in jewellery and taken up by only a few avant-garde jewellery designers. Watkins soon recognised the advantages of aluminium. For large scale bodypieces aluminium tube was ideal, as the metal in this form is extremely light in weight, but at the same time relatively strong. The silvery quality of this industrial material was brought out by fine surface abrasion.

Based on his earlier versions in acrylic Watkins made in 1976 his first multiple in aluminium, the 'Gyro-Bangle', an iconic design which has remained in continuous limited production. This is an exception to his usual rule of making one-off pieces. Here the machine-crafted aluminium has a soft sheen finish. This design expresses rationality, balance, proportion and coherence of form. When set in motion the individual bangles orbit around each other on the wrist, like a kinetic sculpture.

Place of Origin

London (made)


1977 (made)


Watkins, David (designer and maker)

Materials and Techniques

Aluminium tube


Diameter: 12.5 cm, Depth: 0.9 cm

Descriptive line

Aluminium tube bangle, designed and made by David Watkins, no. 11 from a series of 250, England, 1977

Production Note

No. 11 from a series of 250




Jewellery; Metalwork; Europeana Fashion Project


Metalwork Collection

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