Keeper Of Time: Finally, A Documentary About Watchmaking Worth Watching
From Kickstarter to completion, director Michael Culyba explores the meaning of time and timekeeping.
We’ve been following director Michael Culyba’s crowd-funded film project, Keeper of Time, for a few years now. So we’re super stoked to share the first trailer for this unique project.
Keeper of Time is a feature-length documentary that explores not only the art of watchmaking but the essence of our relationship to time itself. Culyba investigates this connection through interviews with the most celebrated watchmakers of our era as well as historians and collectors. As you can see in the teaser, all offer thoughtful meditations on our favorite subject.
The film is scheduled for release in late 2021, but we’ve got this teaser and a riveting back story to keep us captivated.
Keeper of Time is the passion project of celebrated documentary editor Michael Culyba, who has worked on films like Dixie Chicks: Shut Up & Sing and two-time Oscar winner Barbara Koppel’s This is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous.
What made him decide to make his directorial debut on the subject of timekeeping?
“I purchased my first mechanical watch five years ago and immediately became fascinated by the micro-engineering and beautiful craftsmanship that went into making a fine timepiece,” said Culyba in a recent press release for the teaser trailer.
Basically, like most of you reading this story, the horological bug bit him hard. But what elevates this documentary from pure geekdom is that it takes a philosophical turn, exploring the theoretical concepts of time, aging, and mortality.
Culyba explained, “The next question was, ‘What exactly are these devices measuring? What exactly is time?’ That’s when I had the idea of making a film that captured both the romance of watchmaking and the deeper questions about our relationship with time.”
Putting it Together
Some of the most interesting watches of the last ten years have come about through crowdfunding campaigns. Keeper of Time has a similar origin story.
Before the film began production in 2018, Culyba ran a very successful Kickstarter, raising over $115,000 in 35 days. This venture also raised the profile of the project, which also helped the director land some big interviews.
Addressing the concept of time itself, Culyba reached out to scholars from the fields of theoretical physics, physiology, and philosophy. To that end, Culbya filmed filmed in-depth interviews with Jay Griffiths (author, A Sideways Look at Time), theoretical physicist Julian Barbour (author, The End of Time), and Duke University Distinguished Professor Adrian Bejan (author, “Why the Days Seem Shorter as We Get Older”).
Keeper of Time contains a lot of heady ideas, but, as you can see in the teaser, there is plenty of pure watch eye candy in the form of beautifully photographed watches and fascinating close-ups of the mechanisms themselves!
The creative team is made up of accomplished filmmakers with many notable credits behind them. Co-Producer Shelby Siegel is the Emmy award-winning film and television editor of The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst. Directors of Photography Ben Wolf worked with director Vanessa Gould on the documentary Obit, and Luke Geissbühler worked on Helvetica and the scandal-making Borat Subsequent Moviefilm. And not to be outdone, composer Max Avery Lichtenstein has created scores for Jonathan Caouette's Tarnation and the Jesse Eisenberg-produced The World Before Your Feet.
The biggest backers of this documentary are Executive Producers John Reardon and Eric Ku. Reardon has been a major player in the watch auction world for over 27 years and recently spent five years as International Head of Watches at Christie’s. After leaving Christie’s in the summer of 2019, Reardon launched Collectability LLC, an online purveyor of vintage and pre-owned Patek Philippe timepieces.
Eric Ku is a collector but also a respected dealer. Ku is the founder and owner of 10PastTen, one of the world’s leading vintage Rolex dealers, and he is an expert with nearly 20 years of experience under his belt. No doubt Reardon’s and Ku’s knowledge and connections helped Culyba curate the film’s collection of personalities.
Keeper of Time will be released in late Winter 2021. For the latest news about the film and its progress, you can follow the project on Instagram at @keeperoftimemovie.
(Images from the upcoming "Keeper of Time" movie)