The Grand Seiko Vision of the Beauty of Time

Vol.1The Japanese aesthetic 
that charmed Milan

A serene space where
time flows at a leisurely pace

the ceaseless flow of time

A fluid made out of phosphorescent powder circulates slowly in the installation titled FLUX. This and the video in which light blends into space, are used to visualize the passage of time.

Grand Seiko does everything in-house, from movement design to manufacture and assembly, so it’s a simple matter to speak about the functional value of its products. As a Japanese watch brand, however, Grand Seiko needs to convey to the world the thoughts that go into the timepiece and the philosophy of Japanese craftsmanship. Milan Design Week provides a platform for concrete expression of the brand’s view of the world.

Grand Seiko’s “THE NATURE OF TIME,” was an installation done in three parts. FLUX, a work by we+, a design studio, was displayed in the first and second exhibition spaces. In the first space, while screening a video expressing light, a fluid made of phosphorescent powder and water flowed slowly around works of art made using components of the Spring Drive movement. Reflecting the light from the objects, the fluid glows and spreads, and then gradually dissipates. This expresses the “nature of time”—never stopping, never able to return.

Time is ephemeral

The faint glow in the glass object gradually grows dimmer. This serene passage of time brings to mind the Spring Drive movement and how it quietly tells time.

The second exhibition space displayed objects that concentrated the world view of FLUX. In each of these organically shaped glass objects, the components of the Spring Drive movement are set on top of phosphorescent powder. The softly glowing powder embraces the parts in an otherworldly way, making it appear like a micro cosmos.

A watch is a mechanism that visualizes the concept of time. When it is broken down into its components, we again become unable to “see” time. Time is ephemeral. Visitors took this delicate glass object into their hands, holding it with great care as if they were protecting the fragments of fleeting time.

Time flows smoothly
in the megalopolis

“movement” is CG imagery expressing the gradual change in time perception that is created by Spring Drive. The steadily changing scenes of the megalopolis takes you on a small journey of the mind.

The third exhibition space was a screening of “movement,” the video art of CG director Shingo Abe. Abe considers the energy of the Spring Drive movement, which drives the smooth gliding motion of the seconds hand, as momentum that can send the minds of those who see it to a place far away. This concept was expressed in a video.

The stage is Tokyo. While moving through this huge metropolis where throngs of people and cars come and go, the camera smoothly captures scenes from the cityscape. The extraordinary imagery of this work of art is highly stimulating even to those of us living in Japan. Watching the flowing scenes, you are overcome by a strange sensation, as if you are traveling through time. The noise and bustle of Milan Design Week is forgotten. This is the moment when you also sense the abundant nature of time.