Wednesday, September 1, 2010

design time

by frédérik sisa

Every so often, I’ll notice those billboards advertising Rolex or Bulova, or whatever timepiece James Bond is hawking these days, and wonder what all the fuss is about. They all look like bulky mechanical armguards to me, even if the mechanism is Swiss and the casing is gold, diamond-encrusted, or made from the usual materials of luxury accessories. I suppose I don’t feel like my timepieces should look like gussied-up dials but rather have some sort of artistry to them – or, gasp, design.

That’s why I was excited to discover Projects Watches, which I’ve written about in the past, but have yet to acquire. Maybe I need to pester Santa Clause a bit more this year. But if there’s even more reason for enthusiasm, it comes from the latest releases.

This is Dancing Time by Daniel Liebeskind, an architect whose work I especially admire. With a style that could be labeled postmodern or deconstructivist, if you want to bother with labels at all, his buildings are imbued with kinetic energy and dynamic, surprising shapes. No surprise, then, that he offers a high-concept watch playfully designed around the metaphor of our relationship to time; dancing figures represent the hour and minute hands, and the face is inscribed with latin and greek text by Spinoza and Plato respectively.

Designer Daniel Will-Harris, whose pieces are among the most innovative in the Projects collection, offers a watchface that takes the familiar yin/yang symbol in an inspired new direction. The black dot indicates minutes and the white dot indicates hours. I love how the motion of the yin and yang both reinforces the concept of yin and yang and offers a metaphor for time.

Next is also from Daniel Will-Harris, a design inspired by turbines called Turbino. It’s not my favourite of the three, nor do I think it’s among his strongest designs from a conceptual standpoint, but the aesthetic is nevertheless interesting.

As always, the price range is surprisingly accessible: $125 for Dancing Time, $115 for the Will-Harris designs. Check out the website for more new and existing designs.

One of these days, I’ll get one (but which one?) and be the envy of the kids in my block. Do you hear me, Santa?

Note: Images borrowed from the Projects Watches website.

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