by Meghna MehtaSep 03, 2020
New Delhi-based artist duo Thukral and Tagra has unveiled the ruminative and modern design of Over the Abyss, an artistic collaboration with Swiss watch brand Rado for their timeless True Square collection. The timepiece "presses on our temporality as individuals and highlights the importance of our connection with others.” With True Square Over the Abyss, Rado along with Thukral and Tagra seek to connect people through a timepiece "that is universal, unique, smooth, comfortable and durable,” akin to other timepieces from the Swiss watchmaker from Lengnau, Switzerland.
"Time is extremely powerful. There can be many ways to define time, with respect to how we operate as humans and what our belief system is. For us, it is a measure but also a teacher. It heals and it hurts at the same time. Whichever way one wants to see it, like a beating heartbeat, or melting ice, it stays as a marker of our lives,” share Jiten Thukral and Sumir Tagra, capturing the essence of how they, as the designers of the watch, relate to time.
Being aware of what is around and finding ways to bring ideas to life is what outlines their design philosophy, which inevitably finds its way into the recently launched watch. The Indian artists' oeuvre is habitually described as “social design”, outlined by something that is intrinsic to humans but often forgotten in the modern society we inhabit: "the relationship of us individuals to our communities.” Thukral and Tagra have always tried to understand their existence and question the status quo, which inspired the watch’s name: Over the Abyss. “Communities cannot operate in isolation, and we empathise with this valuable insight. A lot more arms is a poetic expression, to relate to others - we wanted to connect the wearer with others. “Time” also operates from the seeker's point of view,” they say.
Planned to be a limited edition of 1000, the matte, midnight blue watch design is articulated in high-tech ceramic and titanium (a metal that is favoured by horologists and watch manufacturers due to its resistance to corrosion) with flat sapphire crystal, with anti-reflective coating on both sides. It employs a cool visual that is instantly infinite and therapeutic: the unique time display superimposes the local time of the wearer with several varying time zones of the world, symbolised by 37 hands painted in a gradation of colours ranging from cool blue to blush pink, like fireworks lighting up against a moonless night sky. The hour and the minutes of the local time are indicated by two discrete but mighty Super-LumiNova dots (that ensures readability in the dark), and two-star shaped hands.
This captivating dial is sheathed in a 38mm matte blue high-tech ceramic square case with gently rounded corners, a clear homage to Rado’s iconic watch shapes from the 70s, updated for the 21st century. The case’s inky blue PVD coated titanium back is adorned with a compelling and comforting graphic by the duo from their ongoing series of paintings called Dominus Aeries “that explores visions from the future with references from the past.” The front and the back of the wristwatch thus, beautifully carry the artful expressions of Thukral and Tagra, tying in the vast and enigmatic nature of time. The product design also features Rado’s Calibre R763 automatic movement, 25 jewels, is water-resistant to 5 bars (50m) and has 80 hours of power reserve.
Speaking about the concept, the artists from India reveal, “Over the Abyss is a meditative proposal. The deep state of mind where thoughts float and multiply in the deepest of an abyss. Stuck in a novel of science fiction, we deal with an isolated space and time, especially during this pandemic that has taken over the world. The only silver lining of living in a moment is a fragility to form into a new one.”
A state of mind that is solitude. An image of the community at a time when all are experiencing isolation, together with a representation of the reunions with loved ones, that all fervently hope may soon be possible, are condensed within Over the Abyss.
Over the Abyss is a labour of love that lasted two years and is developed through an extensive process that works with different materials – “It provides a safe space by making art and design approachable for people to feel, touch, interact and most importantly, question and think,” the duo says, who have been designing projects and making objects for almost two decades now, lying at the intersect of art, design, lifestyle, and a diverse range of associations with respect to branding, communications, products, immersive experiences, workshops, and artists' collaborations.
“To be able to create our version of Rado’s timeless True Square watch was an opportunity to bring something unique to the experience of reading time. We decided to have a watch with a lot more arms to feel connected with a lot more time zones and in turn, connect ourselves with the world, to share the experience of viewing time as a human collective. It is truly a one-of-a-kind experience to design the object, an object that defines and holds time – it’s a time to connect people,” they conclude.