This one surprised me. When I first saw the watch a few months ago, I was expecting the usual Swatch art watch. An image on the dial, maybe some use of the strap.
What I saw was way more interesting than I expected. For one, the box looked like a chunk of tarmac. With yellow zebra stripes.
Then when I opened up the box, I saw texture. The type of texture and imagery that would appeal to a car guy. While this watch was more urban than anything else really, to me it had the tarmac and the barriers and the No Parking sign that connected me more to driving than urban life. It turns out the artist Jose Santos III was actually in a car when he first came up with the original artwork that inspired this watch. That piece was a long and linear work entitled “Crossing Over Yellow And Black Stripes” and was part of an exhibit entitled “Distance Between Two Points.”
But it was the texture I enjoyed, patina if you want to call it that. All the materials had the look of use, of what you would really see everyday. And that is what the artist would regularly produce, pieces that reflected wear and tear and real life. Whether metal sheeting or cement or in this case the plastic of barriers and the scuff marks and faded paint and all.
Jose Santos III taught at the University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts, and indeed many of his students are happily picking up the watch because of their admiration and connection to their former Prof. But it is also being picked up by those with no connection other than their desire to add interesting pieces to their collection.
Trying to pick up might be a better way to describe it. The watch sold out quickly in the Philippines, but it was a global launch. Very interesting, it is the first Art Watch to use the BioCeramic material that Swatch introduced earlier this year. So it is a statement in sustainability using as muse the way the world is showing wear and tear. A very desirable piece to be sure. Hence the inability to find it.
Swatch Philippines actually sent out a call to get as many of them as they could for the Philippine market, and they are starting to come home. So if you were looking before, now’s your chance.
I have a long history with Swatch, having bought them and collected them when that was what I could afford. As I have said, I found the Art Watch pieces fun but not necessarily all that special to me. This one though, represents a particularly inventive expression of the original artwork as it was so linear and lengthwise. You really do get more of the same feel with the watch that you do with the piece itself.