Issey Miyake Made Plenty of Time for Watches, Too

Many of Issey Miyake’s contributions to the fashion world are so iconic that they are synonymous with the designer himself. On Tuesday, the day Miyake’s death was announced by his studio, several stores made a splash that he was “the designer who created Steve Jobs’ turtleneck.” A growing group of men’s fashion fans won’t hear the name Miyake without immediately remembering his thermally pleated pants, jackets, and shirts. A potentially unannounced – but equally intriguing – aspect of the designer’s legacy is his remarkable contribution to the world of watchmaking. It’s not just the watches he’s worked on that are hilarious, fun, democratic, and sent from the future (all of which are Miyake’s hallmarks, of course). Discovering them helps bring home a lot of the things he cares about — and what makes him so interesting as a designer.

In 2001, Miyake partnered with Seiko to bring his watch ideas to life. However, this did not come about as a simple partnership. Instead, over the next two decades, Miyake Design Studio attracted like-minded and different future-minded people to work with them on a portfolio of unique timepieces.

In the watch world, “fashion” was once a dirty word. Although this is changing rapidly, many designers have thought of producing cheap quartz watches – and then sticking their logo on it and marking the price increase. Miyake seems to wear the shirt of “fashion watch” proudly, and creates products that clearly prioritize design above everything else.

This is evident in watches like the Hu, produced by industrial designer Ross Lovegrove. The part that looks like a bit of Alex Mack goo crystallized on the wrist:

The letter O, which is a reference to the French word for water (“eau”), was inspired by “the shape of water,” according to Miyake Design Studio. Seen from the side, the watch resembles a fat raindrop. Nature is a constant source of inspiration for Miyake watches: the Roku has sharp angles that mimic the shape of a honeycomb. These watches make it clear that, despite the opinions of many, spreading fashion can be a good thing. Although traditional watchmakers often look to nature as a source of inspiration, they never come up with designs like this one. Issey Miyake Made Plenty of Time for Watches, Too

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