In the current world of watchmaking, I feel it is quite difficult to find brands that are committed to risky designs and original products. This is in contrast to previous periods. Specifically, I remember when I was young, waiting anxiously for the latest offerings from Swatch. We were a legion of friends who threw ourselves into buying the new designs that this brand brought out regularly, which in its time represented a real breath of fresh air and was a life saver for the stagnating Swiss watch industry.
Perhaps it was this youthful memory that made me pay special attention to a watch that my friend @rogermas acquired and that he saw fit to show to me. The piece in question was the “Sun and Moon” model, created by a brand totally unknown to me, by the unusual name of Mr. Jones Watches.
We need to go back to 2006 when the designer Crispin Jones decides to set up his watch company based in London. Working on the premise that a watch has to offer something more than just telling the time, he begins to create watches with daring designs, aimed at an audience that is looking for something different. Unlike Swatch watches, and this for me is fundamental, the watches created by Mr. Jones Watches are not supposed to be a “disposable” product, rather the exact opposite. The reasoning behind the design of some of his creations illustrates this well, as we shall see later. This video by its creator gives us a clearer idea of the philosophy.
Indeed, Crispin Jones’s watches go beyond being a mere “fashion” product. As the video explains, the designs and limited-production numbers are very well planned and rolled out. Little by little, they are becoming a true emblem of London where, in years gone by, the City was the cradle and centre of world watchmaking. In short, they are quality products offered, above all, at a very competitive price. Nowadays, the brand works with different designers of renown to make its creations and I have to say that I have fallen in love with some of its designs.
In first place, I would highlight the Number Cruncher designed by Onorio D’Epiro, which brings to mind the old B movies.
In the words of its creator:
Another model to highlight is the disturbing The Accurate, which is no more than an up-to-date “memento mori” reminding us that time passes inexorably. The mirrored dial makes us reflect on this and the inscriptions on the hands mean that every time we look at the time, this unquestionable message is imprinted in our minds. Although, out of the current collection, this is perhaps the watch that has impressed me the most, I don’t know if I could wear it for more than a day…
Still in the category of the “memento mori”, we have the The Last Laugh series, slightly more lighthearted than The Accurate, but which still reminds us constantly of the inexorable certainty of our existence.
Another iconic watch is the bright and colourful Last Laugh Tattoo, inspired by the Mexican Day of the Dead image, la vieja Catrina, and designed by the famous London tattoo artist Adrian Willard.
I don’t want to end this tour without mentioning the fantastic King and Queen models, with a special edition that is painted and assembled individually. The way it displays the time is truly peculiar.
Mr. Jones Watches offer a wide variety of models, in different sizes and configurations, with both automatic and quartz movements, as well as a magnificent range of women’s watches, with some spectacular designs. Paying a visit to the website and blog is as gratifying as visiting a modern art museum. It cannot be forgotten that many of the designers who work and collaborate with Crispin Jones are respected graphic artists, as we have been explaining. I would genuinely recommend the brand to you.
But let’s return to our featured watch.
In the image above, we can appreciate the well-constructed case of the Sun and Moon. It is 45 mm in diameter, polished to a mirror finish and made of surgical steel. Both ensure the watch looks impressive on the wrist. The sapphire crystal is raised and flat. This particular model is a larger version of the classic Sun and Moon and is currently discontinued. In this case, the model uses an automatic Seagull 1662 movement. But what makes this watch truly unique is its design and way of showing the time. Let’s take a look at it.
Although the diagram on the right shows the classic model, which lacks a seconds hand, it serves our purpose perfectly well. The daytime hours are shown on a semi-circular ring with the sun marker. This sun appears from 6 am. During the time that elapses until 6 pm we can see illustrations of daytime animals in the window. From 6 pm, the moon section appears in the window with a darkened image of a wood followed by a sky with stars and images of nocturnal animals.
This exquisite design was inspired by the astronomic watches manufactured in England in the 17th century, the old “Sun and Moon” watches. This model was launched in 2012 and since then Mr. Jones Watches has developed different versions with the same concept, such that it has become one of the star designs of the brand.
As is to be expected, the watch comes beautifully and effectively presented and avoids the excessive packaging that plagues other brands and that only creates an extra cost for the consumer.
In short, Mr. Jones Watches is a brand that represents a new cultural movement, bringing a breath of fresh air to the current watchmaking industry and offering, at affordable prices, the chance to wear “a little (the great) piece (pees) of art” on the wrist, to paraphrase the mural painted in my town attributed to Banksy.