Joshua Shapiro grew up in a family of trained machinists and started working with his bare hands at a very young age. Despite this, he pursued a traditional education route and eventually became a school principal, but that all eventually changed when he became interested and picked up watchmaking along the way. Today, Joshua is famously known as a self-taught guillocheur who conceived an engine-turned motif of his own in 2013. In 2016, Joshua started to create engine-turned watch dials and became an apprentice to master clock and watchmaker David Walter. Following this, in 2018, Shapiro branched out on his own to launch his eponymous brand- J.N. Shapiro.
His debut collection was the Infinity Series, named after the “Infinity Weave”- a proprietary guilloché pattern that he invented, which also serves as the foundation of the piece offered here today.
Introducing the J.N. Shapiro Infinity Series in titanium. True to its name, this timepiece boasts a contemporary and exceptionally light 39mm x 9.75mm titanium case which showcases a combination of polished and brushed surfaces, creating a captivating contrast with the tri-tone design of the dial. What is interesting about this piece is that while normal Shapiro pieces were either made in 42mm or 40mm, this example follows the rare tantalum series that was exclusively made in 39mm. While it might seem miniscule, every mm makes a difference in wearability and we think 39mm hits the sweet spot. Furthermore, this watch was one of the last Infinity Series watches produced by Shapiro, delivered in 2023.
The base of the beautifully blue-painted dial is crafted with silver, and hosts, what I would say, is the main highlight of this piece – J.N. Shapiro’s intricate engine-turned guilloché in three different forms. The periphery of the dial features a barleycorn motif whilst the minute track ring just above the Arabic numerals features a ratchet pattern and the basketweave in the middle section. Joshua also created his very own pattern he calls the “Infinity weave” as seen within the small-seconds counter at 6 o'clock, which he claims is a “basketweave inside of a basketweave” and was inspired after reading George Daniels’ book “Watchmaking”. Regarding finishing, the guilloché on the Infinity Series Titanium is impressive and definitely on par with some of the best the watch industry offers.
In addition to the above, the Infinity Series Titanium also houses uniquely shaped hour, minute, and sub-second hands that are all crafted from white gold. Here, the hour and minute hands have Breguet-style skeletonized tips, and the second hand has an infinity symbol as its counterweight. A very appropriate choice, if you ask me.
Turn the watch over on its exhibition case back and you will find that the Infinity Series Titanium is powered by one of Germany’s finest – the manually-wound, UWD Cal. 33.1, a now-discontinued calibre produced by Uhren-Werke-Dresden which is a sister company of Lang & Heyne. It should also be mentioned that all Shapiro timepieces that exist today will be the only ones that will ever house this movement as they have stopped selling these. That aside, the UWD Cal. 33.1 is finely decorated with a contrasting combination of brushed and polished bevels and a beautiful hand-chamfered gold bridge medallion that denotes the serial number.
J.N. Shapiro is an independent brand on the rise and it’s no surprise that many collectors and connoisseurs alike are starting to flock toward this upcoming American watchmaker. Overall, the J.N. Shapiro Infinity Series Titanium is an exceptional work of art and I cannot emphasize how rare it is to even see one in the metal. Given the scarcity of Shapiro pieces available for sale and with most collectors holding onto theirs, the opportunity to offer one for sale on the site is truly exciting. Furthermore, with the permanent discontinuation of the Infinity series and the recent release of the significantly more expensive in-house Resurgence, this particular example- being one of the last ever made makes it an important piece for any independent collection.