Just unveiled by Swatch Philippines via a riveting video on Instagram before it is made available to over 80 countries around the world is the limited edition Art Special watch by Swatch, “Crossing over yellow and black lines/Under construction.”
Designed by highly respected and world-renowned Filipino contemporary artist José Santos III, the watch is a work of art that contemplates the impact of time, space, and movement on day-to-day life, consistent with the artist’s nuanced depictions of seemingly mundane objects that are often denied attention.
It is the first ever Art Special watch to use the revolutionary Bioceramic, Swatch’s latest eco-innovation, which makes use of two-thirds ceramic and one third bio-sourced plastic extracted from the seeds of the castor plant to deliver robust, lightweight material offering scratch resistance and tactical “soft-touch” finish, not to mention less impact on the environment.
The idea came up over a late night dinner Swatch Philippines president Virgie Ramos hosted with friends like businesswoman and art collector Sandy Uy. As they were casually discussing how to celebrate the 30th year of Swatch in the country, the latter proposed a showcase of Philippine talent. Jose Santos III’s name was mentioned and, before long, Ramos had taken the idea to the Swatch headquarters in Switzerland, where immediately and enthusiastically it was approved for worldwide release.
Now the idea—albeit two years late because of the pandemic (Swatch is now celebrating 32 years in the Philippines) —is a reality you can wear on your wrist, inspired by José Santos III’s huge two-panel artwork “Crossing over yellow and black lines” from a collection he built around the distance between two points and the worlds that exist between them.
In the Swatch x José Santos III Bioceramic Art Special watch, the runway surfaced with tarmac or crushed rock mixed with tar becomes a representation of time and its attendant values. “I feel a strong thematic connection with Swatch because of the relation between people, time, space, and movement,” explains Santos, who imbues the watch design, featuring bicolored hands and a crosswalk-striped face, with a sense of motion as well as an invitation to slow down.
“After the last 18 months, many of us realize that moving forward doesn’t necessarily mean progress. In fact, slowing down helps us to work out the direction we really want to go and whether B was where we wanted to get to in the first place,” adds Santos.
This limited edition watch does have many layers of messages that resonate with the times, as cautiously the world reopens after having spent over a year in and out of lockdowns. The biodegradable packaging, old, shopworn, and dusty by design, as its inspiration is also drawn from tarmac, is made of mushrooms while the watch itself, a wearable artwork, is an ode, as Santos points out, to meaningful pauses and thoughtful movements. Its very inspiration calls our attention to things that routinely go unnoticed, such as the way we spend our time.
Together, infusing art into the day-to-day, hour-by-hour, minute-by-minute, Swatch and José Santos III have created a watch that perfectly captures the moment’s mood and the value of time.