This limited edition watch for women by German Alexander Shorokoff reminds me of my youth. Usually watches seem to remind other people of their youth, but when I saw this watch my mind began to wander to being in a kid in the 1980s and 1990s. No, not because I used to wear women’s watch. It is the art.
A large part of my watch fascination comes from being an art lover. Watches are art. They are tools first, but they are tools with artistic real estate. Appreciation of good design and quality aesthetics drives a lot of my commentary. This watch will repulse some and entertain others, but in my eyes it reminds me of cartoons. Back in the 1980s colorful geometric art became really popular. A lot of this had to do with the start of computerized design and graphics slowly taking over hand-drawn work. Organic lines started being replaced by straight lines, and the inclusion of computer graphics into the art world was rapidly taking place.
In the 1990s this design aesthetic began to evolve into a more pop art style. Once straight geometric shapes oddly became fuzzy and hand-drawn. The perfection of computer-rendered shapes seemed to espouse a lash-back. You had artists doing geometric by hand in crude animation styles. Colors that were once solid and primary started to get more fun. The 1990s saw the everything from neon to pastel colors experience a sort of explosion. The best placed one could experience all this were television show intros and cartoons. For me a lot of this was epitomized in the artistic style of early to mid 1990s Nicktoons on the kid’s cable television network Nickelodeon.
While not a perfect analog, the design of the dial in this Lady Avantgarde watch is a pleasant reminder of those shapes and designs. I can also see in my mind the lines of the shapes “wiggle” as being purposefully crudely animated. The asymmetric mixture of shapes, colors, and textures are still however balanced and reminiscent of the playful disorganization of the art style it means to honor. For me I see artistic elements of television cartoons that I grew up with such as Ren & Stimpy, Doug, Rugrats, Rocko’s Modern Life, and more.
Despite what the watch reminds me of, it is actually a combination of artistic styles from all eras of the 20th century. In the dial is everything from art deco to pop art, as well as abstraction. Alexander Shorokoff’s signature “big 60” is playfully integrated in an interesting way. Notice how the numeral is not placed where the 60 minute marker should be? It is actually to the left of it, and a small arrow points to the correct mark. This is part of the playful disorganization I was referring to above. Note the date window placed inside of the stylized spiral.
Alexander Shorokoff further mixes art with design as the watch dial mixes are with horology. The main elements of a branded watch dial are there complete with descriptive text and areas that are clear hour indicator. The thoughtfully designed dial managed to be legible and artistic at the same time. A little fact that no doubt most people will miss.
While the brand refers to it as a ladies’ piece, it doesn’t necessarily need to be that. The case is 39mm wide in steel and contains a Swiss ETA 2824-2 automatic movement. The case as a sapphire display back and is matched to a thick leather strap. The Alexander Shorokoff Lady Avantgarde will be limited to 500 pieces.