Love, Respect And Time: How One Creative Couple Finds Harmony Together, With Piaget
Mr Robert Montgomery and Ms Greta Bellamacina
Ms Greta Bellamacina has been thinking about time a great deal recently. More specifically, how a recent move to the Kent countryside with her partner Mr Robert Montgomery has caused a shift in gears. “I think moving from the bustle of London, you realise that the countryside has its own time and rhythm. There are different rules,” says the actor, director and poet, who is currently readying herself for a stint in Rome filming a new project, Commedia, with groundbreaking Italian director Mr Riccardo Vannuccini.
“I think we’ve gotten used to an instant digital time, and I think we long to return to the real time of nature,” says her husband Montgomery, an artist-poet who works in text-based art forms. “You notice it more in the countryside; the passing of the day, the changing of the seasons. Online offers us this artificial space and time, so a natural ebb and flow and things like the equinox and solstice feels more human,” he says.
It’s that curiosity and thoughtfulness about how we live that piqued the couple’s interest regarding Piaget’s Polo watches, the dazzling timepieces that were first created in 1979, contemporary versions of which they are wearing now.
The Piaget Polo’s modern iteration – identified not only by its distinctive shape-in-shape design but its graphic dial featuring a horizontal guilloché pattern – has retained its air of sporty elegance even as the range has expanded to include ever more complex and intricate designs. Alongside the Piaget Polo Date in 36mm, you can now buy the Piaget Polo Skeleton, its movement and dial reduced to their bare minimum by hand to reveal the intricate calibre. Or there is the Piaget Polo Chronograph worn here by Montgomery, which, along with the added stopwatch functionality, switches out the integrated bracelet for a blue rubber strap.
“Like jewellery, there’s something so sentimental about watches. They’re heirlooms, you hand them down,” says Bellamacina, who wears the 36mm Piaget Polo Date, an expression of the Piaget Polo's timeless design codes.
“ONE DAY” (2020), gold leaf on carved wood by Mr Robert Montgomery
“I’m intrigued by how watchmakers can contain so much ingenuity and engineering in a tiny device,” says Montgomery, who rose to fame due to his “fire poems” of text set alight.
The shift to the countryside – and the not inconsiderable task of renovating a Grade II-listed former schoolhouse while raising two young children – might test the mettle of most couples. But Bellamacina and Montgomery have, in a sense, always worked together on seismic projects alongside having a romantic relationship.
“Like jewellery, there’s something so sentimental about watches. They’re heirlooms, you hand them down”
“We actually met through work,” says Montgomery. “Greta was editing a book about 100 years of poetry, [A Collection Of] Contemporary British Love Poetry, in 2015 and someone recommended one of my poems, so she got in touch. From the instance we met and clicked, we started writing together – on our first date, we actually sat with our laptops working on poetry.”
The pair set up New River Press, a poetry publishing house, in 2016. Two years prior, Bellamacina was shortlisted for the Young Poet Laureate.
“THE TREES WILL RIOT, MONOCHROME” (2021), ARA acrylic and glaze on canvas by Mr Robert Montgomery
If the set-up sounds like something dreamily akin to the Age of the Romantics – a pair of 21st-century Brownings tenderly reading sonnets to one another – the pair are eager to point out that they’re grounded in the reality of raising children while living and working together. “I think the only thing we quibble about – and this checks out with most creative couples with children – is working out who has had their quiet painting or writing time and who has been with the kids more,” says Montgomery, who is set to travel to Glasgow later this year to debut a new work for the Climate Change Conference before a show at the Danysz Gallery in Paris.
“The beauty of a romantic and creative partnership is that you do evolve a kind of silent language where you just know what the other person is thinking, and you share a sense of utopia and vision of the world you want to create together,” says Bellamacina.
“THE BEGINNING OF HOPE” (2020), ARA acrylic and glaze on canvas by Mr Robert Montgomery
Montgomery agrees that there’s a “hive-mind mentality” between the two, and that they’ve become each other’s editors. “In a sense, working together has always been completely natural to us because it’s been that way from the get-go,” he says.
That said, when it comes to those renovation plans, Bellamacina gets final say. “She has chairman’s vote,” Montgomery laughs. “Old English houses can be dowdy…”
“And so we’ve been working on use of colour to give it a new life,” says Bellamacina, flowing into his train of thought and picking up his sentence seamlessly. A perfect illustration of how this harmonious pairing works in tandem so well.
“SALVAGE PARADISE, WEDDING POEM” (2021), lightwork by Mr Robert Montgomery