The Master of Time

Match beats with a limited-edition watch designed by a DJ

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Crispin Jones, London-based designer of conceptual watches, is known for his inventive ways of breaking down time into increments slightly more clever than minutes. Peddled under the label Mr Jones Watches, each timepiece asks its wearer to reconsider how we count time with such creative visualizations as 12 colored circles or seconds marked by “yes” and “no” (dubbed “The Decider”). For his Master of Time series, Jones asked five people who “have an interesting relationship to time” to collaborate with him as a new challenge. The resulting professionals—Iain Sinclair (author), Graeme Obree (cyclist), William Andrews (comedian), Brian Catling (artist) and Tom Middleton (DJ)—helped Jones create distinct watches that are “true collaborations.”

Intermittently launching each design, the fourth and latest model in the series is Middleton’s tribute to the late-night DJ. Tasked with the essential duty of knowing each track’s beats per minute, Middleton designed the watch with a 15-second graphic animation that helps figure the BPM by simply counting the quarter note beats for the duration of the animation, and then multiplying the result by four. (Catch it in action below.)

Jones told us that “introducing another person into the mix seemed a pretty infallible way of throwing a spanner in the works.” Pushing both himself and his collaborators out of their comfort zones, Jones declined from giving anyone “any guidelines about what their role would be,” because with a little ambiguity and not so many preconceptions “you get much more interesting results.”

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A limited edition of 100, the BPM watch comes in packaging created by Welsh pattern designer Hannah Davies and signed by both Middleton and Jones. The BPM, along with three other models in the Master of Time collection, sell online for £145 each.