Tokujin Yoshioka about “O”

Shaping the shapeless water into a watch.
That is how this watch was born.

March 8, 2019

“O” was created based on the concept, “shape of water—transparent time.” A message from the designer Tokujin Yoshioka on the project’s 10-year anniversary model.

An early Christian theologian and philosopher, Saint Augustine of Hippo, had a powerful effect on the Roman Empire around the fourth century. He stated “Time is a creature of God. There are three times, a present of things past, a present of things present, a present of things future. For these three exist in the mind.” Time is a “concept” derived from a regular move of the sun and stars and is “philosophy” settled in human consciousness. And, a physical replacement of these “concept” and “philosophy” is a watch.

The attempt of visualizing something intangible was first started by inventing a sundial, which measured the passage of the sun based on the length and angle of a shadow. After that, a water clock that tells time by measuring the remaining amount of water was developed and widely used, and then, the mechanism of timepiece was taken over by a mechanical clock. But still the existence of time is ambiguous, and although it is intangible, time is one of the rules that form the basis of society.

“O” is the ISSEY MIYAKE WATCH Project’s 10-year anniversary model and its concept is “putting a crystal on a hand”—a shapeless and bandless “watery transparent watch.” When wearing the “O” watch, the presence of acrylic band disappears. The watch floats in the middle of the mysterious ambiguity.

“In order to achieve this transparency, I used nylon acrylic which is also used for medical products. The superiority of this material is the special viscosity and color fastness. In an attempt to show various expressions based on the reflection of light and index of refraction, I consciously increased the thickness of the case to enhance a sense of lens and material,” the designer Tokujin Yoshioka explains.

In addition, taking usability into consideration, he devised a structure that can separate the watch from the windproof band. This enables replacing just the band when it is scratched. At first this watch was launched as a men’s watch, but many female users love its mysterious feeling of floating and the soft form unlike watches. The shapeless “O” lets users enjoy the ambiguity of the concept called time.


Tokujin Yoshioka

Tokujin Yoshioka
Designer / Artist

Born in 1967. Established TOKUJIN YOSHIOKA INC. in 2000. Active in the fields of design, architecture and contemporary art, he is highly acclaimed globally with the poetic works. He has won many international awards, and many of his works are chosen as part of permanent collections in world renowned museums, including the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and the Musée National d'Art Moderne. He was selected by Newsweek magazine as one of the 100 Most Respected Japanese in the World. He has designed the Olympic Torch for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

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