Historically, wristwatch design has been beholden to function. Wearers had to be able to tell time quickly and easily. As more (or most) people learn the time from their smartphones, the role of the watch has become more personal, either for the sake of ornamentation or self-expression. With that in mind, Topawards Asia tapped six veteran designers—Alan Chan, Theseus Chan, Noritake, Ordinary People, Ryosuke Uehara and Zhi-Hong Wang—to break from convention and reimagine the face of UNDONE watches. The resulting six limited edition timepieces, called UNDONE “Blank,” do more than defy traditional visual language, they look into and modify the various meanings of time as a concept.
Topawards Asia began in 2016 as a platform to celebrate “the outstanding packaging” (TOP) in Asian nations. It’s expanded substantially and through collaborations, exhibitions and workshops, and the aim has become to inspire designers to challenge the future of packaging. For these watches, the case and dial play the role of packaging. For Singapore-based Theseus Chan‘s Twisted, the designer applied the colloquialism that time is melting away. Night and Day, by Taiwanese designer Wang Zhi-Hong, aims to remind wearers which hours contain daylight. These are two highlights, but all six bring something compelling into the mix.
Another favorite, Japanese illustrator Noritake‘s Pointing Boy calls to mind an iteration of the iconic Gerald Genta Mickey Mouse watch. Here, however, the designer uses the arms of his own character to rotate along the dial. Still playful, Noritake’s watch is built upon minimalism, from its black-and-white palette to the useful, unobtrusive sub-dials, all of which come together handsomely.
The six different limited edition designs are available online for $380. Each has been produced in an edition of 100.
Images courtesy of UNDONE