It is impossible, in fact, to design a watch that tells only time. -Del Coates
The staff at Cortex wear a lot of watches– so many that it has become a thing we talk about and mutually admire on each other’s wrists. Every watch has an interesting story of how it was acquired, or a story of a moment in life or a time that the watch commemorates or represents to the owner. Joel suggested we have a Cortex Watch Day — and one day in July, everyone brought in their collection to show off.
Initially we weren’t planning on doing anything other than show them off to each other, but seeing them all in one place was so cool, we thought it was a great opportunity to take some pictures and tell some of those stories. Here is a sampling of those stories, as told by the watches people own here at the studio. If you know this book by Del Coates (as most designers do), you’ll recognize the title we borrowed.
Watch #1: Joel
So I own quite a few watches, but only a few which I wear regularly. Of these, my most coveted is the Autodromo Vallelunga. When I was a bright eyed design student in University, I had the opportunity to intern at Karim Rashid’s studio in New York City for a summer. It was a life changing experience not just for the taste of being a professional designer in a world-class studio, but also experiencing the big city away from family, and making new intense friendships. A fellow intern that summer was Bradley Price. We spent a lot of time together and our mutual appreciation of cars, Formula 1, product design, and interesting watches was apparent early on. Years later, Bradley went on to found Autodromo, an automotive inspired lifestyle accessories company that designs and produces watches (amongst other things). This Vallelunga watch from Autodromo brings me back to the days when I raced cars in University and its level of craftsmanship and beautiful detailing remind me to push further with my own design work.
Watch #2: Logan
Jess and I were just nearing the end of our month long motorbike trip through Europe. Final destination – Paris. Wandering around downtown, not far from Notre Dame Cathedral and full of amazing street food, we stumble into a cute little design shop. Jess points to a display case of “Lip” watches, my favourite watch maker. She asks which one I like. I point to one, and so does she. We look around the rest of the store and Jess finds white ceramic “cutlery holders” in the shape of vegetables. They’re expensive, and serve no real purpose, she wants them, but I convince her otherwise. On our way out of the store she keeps talking about the veggies, and decides to go back in to buy them, without me however as I’m being too “judgy”. I go down the street to buy ingredients for dinner.
While making dinner that night I see a box poking out of Jess’ bag, and decide to take a look at her new vegetables. I pull out the box, and her phone, which then slips from my grasp and smashes on the hard tile floor. EEEEke. Promising to fix the phone I open the box. Inside. The Lip watch from the store!
I smashed her phone, and she bought me a beautiful watch.
Watch #3: Dylan
Last December, the staff at Cortex gave me this watch at our humble little Christmas party at the Drake on Queen St. West here in Toronto just before we went on our holidays. I like the time and thought they put into selecting it; these guys know their watches, and I only own a handful, so part of what makes it special to me is how they felt this watch reflects what I like about design. It is a Mondaine Swiss Railways Watch, based on a clockface that is used throughout Switzerland at train stations. It is simple, elegant, and beautiful. It means a lot to me that this came from the great team that works here. Wearing it makes me think of them – I always like it when people ask me about it so I can tell them where it came from.
Watch #4: Ashley
I’m not exactly a watch fanatic since the last time I owned a watch was probably a decade ago however, as you can see I am surrounded by watch lovers! In fact, you could probably catch all of us crowding around Joel or Logan’s monitor looking at watches together from time to time (pun not intended). Watch browsing with the guys is always fun so for my dad’s 50th birthday I ventured off into the mall with my friend doing just that. Hours later I left with this super sweet Skagen and on one hand I was pretty happy with my first watch purchase but so disappointed I couldn’t keep it. A few weeks later, the same friend who went watch shopping with me was about to leave for Austria and gave me a parting gift, a Skagen Ancher with just the right amount of girly sparkle… a collection needs to start from somewhere right?
Watch #5: Joey
Ever since I received a wristwatch as a Christmas gift at the age of 12, I had become a watch fanatic. However, I could only admire from afar because a teenager doesn’t have the money to buy expensive watches. This Fossil Flight had caught my eye before my first job, thus I was determined to buy it with my first pay cheque. Now, it has become a tradition to reward myself by adding beautiful watches to my collection on special occasions.
Watch #6: Borys
Joel and Logan are the watch monsters around here, I have a meager collection of 5, 2 of which are fake Rollies from Indonesia. So when I was wrapping up my final (award winning) thesis project I realized it was time to step up my watch game… Being broke presented a challenge, but I found a company in Singapore that made a beautifully simple time-teller at the right price. So the day I graduated I cleared out my Paypal account and copped a Ronin watch. The brand fit my situation perfectly, because as a recent grad, it was also time for me to find my way. So I wore it to my first interview and landed a sweet job.