Analogue watches have been around so long that it's hard to imagine finding one that doesn't resemble something that has been done before. The 4th Dimension watch by 22 Design Studio is truly iconic and unlike any other. The Taipei-based design start-up was established in 2005 by designers Sean Yu and Yi-Ting Cheng. Their curious approach around experimenting with unconventional materials quickly landed their products at MOMA. The watch is striking at first glance. What makes it so visceral are two important attributes: 1) the element of surprise, and 2) poetry. The element of surprise comes from the fact that the dial is made of concrete. It's such an unexpected material to use on a timepiece yet it looks light, architectural, even delicate. The poetry comes from they way they handled the concrete. They use the metaphor of a spiral staircase. On the face there are twelve steps. Every step represents an hour, and every hour that passes is an upward step. It's a lovely interplay of story, depth and shadow. When it all comes together the simple materials unify perfectly. The concrete is substantial, the bent copper watch hands feel industrial, the brushed stainless steel looks solid, the bolt-like crown resembles raw hardware, and the cognac leather looks like it will only get better with age. It transports you back to the turn of the century during the industrial revolution, but then you're reminded that you've never seen anything quite like this before.
I bought mine online from GSelect in Brooklyn (http://shop.gessato.com/). They are one of the only places in America that carry it. I pre-ordered early and I was happy to learn that I was the first buyer in the US to own it. When I wear it I sometimes get, "that's cool", "that's concrete?", and "how did they do that?". The watch has proven to be a fun conversation starter. In the buying process I discovered the full gamut of tasteful artifacts that Gessato/GSelect carries. This, along with quick, friendly correspondence makes me highly recommend this shop if you're in the market for something artful that none of your friends have yet.