You can now wear the MTA’s masterpiece design on your wrist

Your train might be late, but this MTA-inspired watch never is.


I don’t use a watch. I stopped wearing one when I got my first phone, way back in . . . in 1842? I don’t need a constant reminder of my own mortality strapped around my wrist at all times, thank you. Human time is an arbitrary convention anyway, and, well, I’m Spanish. I always arrive late. That said, I do love watches from a design perspective. And I like the one Jesse Reed and Hamish Smyth have designed for Hong Kong watch company Anicorn.

[Photo: Anicorn]

You probably know Reed and Smyth from their New York City-based studio Order Design and Standards Manual, the publishing house they founded to archive, preserve, and republish design history artifacts like the brand identity books for organizations like NASA, the EPA, or the New York City Transit Authority.

[Photos: Anicorn]
In fact, Smyth explains that the MTA subways language design was loosely what inspired them to design this watch. “A big part of that system [is] the notion of lines and circular icons,” he says in a video. “It’s becoming a iconic part of New York City’s social fabric.” This was the primary design requisite for the series of watches Anicorn is making, called Trio of Time: Each of the three watches represents a different city. The first watch, called Hidden Time, represents the home city of its Seoul-based designer Jiwoong Jung.

The New York design duo got their design’s circles and lines from the MTA, borrowing the subway’s iconic design language to represent time in what they believe is the simplest way possible. “For us that meant reducing it to its graphic form in terms of hours and number of hours,” Smyth says. So they took away the watch’s hands and instead created 12 lines with perforated dots on the face of the watch. Each of these lines represents one of the hours of the a.m. or the p.m., with the perforated dots corresponding to the hour it represents. Meanwhile, at the top of the crown, five small dots divide each hour into 15-minute segments of time. As the whole face slowly moves, the dotted “hour” line moves across those crown markings, allowing you to easily perceive the exact time.

[Image: Anicorn]
Smyth and Reed claim that the watch actually slows time down which, would be a reason enough for me to wear three on each forearm. Of course, it’s only the perception of time that’s really changing, since the face rotates so slowly you barely notice it moving. That’s why I like it–at the end of the day, even if I don’t wear them, I have a soft spot for weird watches–especially those that make it hard to see time flying by.

You can buy it here.

About the author

Jesus Diaz founded the new Sploid for Gawker Media after seven years working at Gizmodo, where he helmed the lost-in-a-bar iPhone 4 story. He's a creative director, screenwriter, and producer at The Magic Sauce and a contributing writer at Fast Company.