Interview with Ichiro Iwasaki about “C”
The elements that compose time are so beautiful that they make me feel that I still want to play with them and immerse myself in the world of watch.
December 21, 2018
The collection “C” was launched as a new challenge of the ISSEY MIYAKE WATCH Project with a professional product designer, Ichiro Iwasaki, to come face-to-face with the chronograph watch design. What are the concepts and his thoughts on the design?
What are your thoughts on developing “C”? What was the challenging part of the design approach?
The product designs in which I have been engaged include cameras, furniture, and analog watches and they have long histories and cultural backgrounds. Therefore, they have characteristics in common: sensitive, profound, a little bit fastidious, and noble. When designing and actually wearing a watch, I feel that an analog watch’s only features have attractive qualities that can’t be measured by trendiness. This is not a challenging part, but I realized that a watch can be completed for the first time when a user actually wears it. I can draw innumerable design sketches, but I need to examine whether the watch will sit well on a wrist, and then I need to adjust the design. A watch is gradually developed and deepened through that kind of process, and that eventually leads to a user’s sense of affinity for the watch.
What made you decide to design a chronograph watch?
The main elements of watches that I imagine are hands and dials, and when I consider them as lines and numbers and tried to materialize the beauty derived from the composition straightforwardly, the best suited watch was a chronograph. It may be a basic rule for a watch that chronograph dials have clearly different levels of impact when balanced by the legibility: bold indexes for a main dial and less distinct for a stopwatch sub-dial. In terms of “C”, I didn’t provide levels of impact for the lines and numbers of the main dial and the sub-dial, instead, I allowed them to blend in and ensured the legibility with an image of “a picture that shows time” in mind. By focusing the design on these subtle differences, the lines and numbers of “C” play a key role like they do in musical scores or mathematical formulas and blend in calmly and rhythmically without losing their original meanings.
What is the attractiveness of “C”?
The elements that compose time including dots, lines, letters, and numbers are so beautiful that they make me feel that I still want to play with them and immerse myself in the world of watch. Among other products, a watch in particular has an aspect of being perceived based on diverse values. I designed this watch so that a user can feel the attractiveness of those pure lines and numbers—the functional beauty which never goes out of fashion and only a watch possesses.
Born in Tokyo in 1965, Iwasaki began his career at the Sony Design Center, moving later to Italy where he worked at several design studios in Milan.
Returning to Japan in 1995, he opened the Iwasaki Design Studio in Tokyo. Since then, he has collaborated with manufacturers both in and outside Japan, designing a diverse array of products ranging from interior goods including tableware, lighting apparatus, and furniture to precision electronic devices such as digital cameras and mobile phones.
He has received numerous international awards, including Japan’s Good Design Award (Gold), the iF Design Award (Gold), the Red Dot Design Award (Best of the Best) and the German Design Award (Silver).
He also serves as a part-time lecturer at Tokyo University of the Arts and Tama Art University.