At its most elemental level, watchmaking is about the visualization of time. Beyond the standard arrangement of centrally-mounted hours and minutes hands, brands have experimented with a myriad of ways to present the time over the years, interpreting the basic functionality of a timepiece as an avenue for creative design. Boutique Israeli watchmaker Itay Noy is no stranger to this kind of experimental timekeeping, developing a broad range of out-of-the-box concepts centered around a set of recognizable visual hallmarks. Itay Noy’s first major release of 2022 offers one of its cleanest and most focused experimental presentations of time to date, combining restrained minimalism with vibrant primary colors. The new limited edition Itay Noy Time Quarters offers a charmingly abstract view of the passing hours with its unique rotating disk system, emphasizing the shifting nature of time with a refined presentation.
The 44mm stainless steel case of the Itay Noy Time Quarters shares its outline with several previous releases from the brand, with a look that combines dressy minimalism with versatile daily wearability in images. The overall form is simple and pared back, from its vertical brushed case sides to its shallow stepped bezel design. Itay Noy works to break up this elemental geometry with twin recessed grooves circling the main case body, giving this shape a sense of detail in images and adding a contrasting finish to complement the otherwise fully brushed design. The narrow tapering lugs add a touch of lighthearted personality to the design, thanks to a pronounced curving downturn and a slender overall profile. Itay Noy’s oversized 4 o’clock crown also injects a touch of character into the layout here, bringing a touch of asymmetry to the layout. The brand does not give the Time Quarters any sort of sporting design pretensions, but the underwhelming 50 meter water resistance rating should keep this model far away from any sort of underwater activity.
Itay Noy’s unique dial concept for the Time Quarters is the clear centerpiece of this design. In total, the brand offers four variants of this design, but each one follows the same crosshair dial layout. At first glance, one might assume this dial tracks multiple time zones, with four minimalist arrays of printed hour indices at 2 o’clock, 4 o’clock, 8 o’clock, and 10 o’clock. Closer inspection reveals that each of these restrained subdials features a cutout window, however, and it’s here where the Time Quarters’ core concept comes into play. Each of the four windows shows a rotating disk, and as the hours advance, these disks will rotate to reveal or hide color and indicate the present “quadrant” of the day. For example, when the current time is 3 o’clock, the 2 o’clock window will be fully filled with color to indicate that the first quadrant of the 12-hour cycle is complete. On the other hand, if the current time is 1:30, both the 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock windows will be half filled with color to indicate that the current quadrant is halfway elapsed. While the system takes a moment to acclimate to in images, once one understands the Time Quarters’ visual concept this design allows for an instant abstract view of the current time of day, without pausing to scrutinize the main central handset. This skeletonized paddle handset does suffer somewhat from legibility issues as well, due to the design’s commitment to minimalism and the extremely short length of the hours and seconds hands. Taken as a whole, the Time Quarters’ dial seems to de-emphasize the practice of closely scrutinizing the exact current hours and minutes, in favor of encouraging the wearer to take a more philosophical, bigger-picture approach to the act of tracking the passage of time. From here, each model adds its own flair to this thought-provoking design. Three of the four variants share the same restrained grainy matte black main dial and simple brushed dial hardware in images, but interpret the four display wheels and the central stick seconds hand in playful primary shades of red, yellow, and green. The fourth dial option is by far the boldest in images, and flips the color-based central design concept on its head. Here, the main dial is split between sectors in bright, toylike yellow, blue, green, and red, with the central hours ring instead rendered in exposed brushed metal. To stand out against this colorful harlequin backdrop, the handset is split between black and polished segments, while the four display windows reverse the color-filling concept in favor of gradually exposing brushed metal segments.
Itay Noy powers the Time Quarters with the in-house Caliber IN.AR handwound movement. Beyond the proprietary gearing needed to run the four time display windows, the Caliber IN.AR offers slightly subpar performance, including a 38 hour power reserve and a 21,600 bph beat rate. The brand pairs the Time Quarters with the option of either a textured black leather strap or a classic stainless steel Milanese mesh bracelet.
With a charismatically abstract, relaxed display concept coupled to an endearing mix of clean minimalism and vivid color, the limited edition Itay Noy Time Quarters offers one of the brand’s most refined and avant-garde presentations of time yet. Only 24 examples of the Itay Noy Time Quarters will be made, and the watch is available now exclusively via direct purchase from the brand itself. MSRP for the Itay Noy Time Quarters stands at $6,800 as of press time. For more information, please visit the brand’s website.