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Rado collaborates with Delhi-based artist duo Thukral and Tagra

Inspired by the ephemeral nature of time, their interpretation of Over the Abyss is also anchored in our present times of forced isolation

Anannya Sarkar   |   Published 26.08.21, 01:52 AM

Swiss watchmaker Rado continues to make great strides in the art of making timekeepers that are more akin to pieces of art than just mere wristwatches, with their latest collaboration in the True Square Collection, the True Square ‘Over the Abyss’. For this, they have collaborated with Delhi-based artist duo Thukral and Tagra. Inspired by the ephemeral nature of time that makes it imperative for human beings to create and make the most of the community spirit, Jiten Thukral and Sumir Tagra’s interpretation of Over the Abyss is also anchored in our present times of forced isolation. In a sign of unity perhaps, the hands overlap various global time zones painted in a gradation of colours, with two SuperLuminova dots pointing out the local time. The back features a painting called Dominus Aeries that explores “visions from the future with references from the past”. More in the words of the artists and Rado:

Sumir Tagra and Jiten Thukral’s interpretation of Over the Abyss


What was the design brief given to you by Rado and how challenging was it to create art for a watch?

Rado had a very clear brief about making a signature watch with the artist. That poses a challenge to bring something unique from a diverse practice of ours. We are glad that after a lot of brainstorming and ideas over one year, we along with the design team of Rado, managed to deliver something that we all are proud of.

How did you balance your sense of aesthetics with that of Rado’s?

The fact that it’s a 38mm canvas to work with made sure we had to tide over a series of technical challenges and with extreme precision and engineering to figure out the mechanics. The arms worked as a signature-style colour palette, which was derived from the work that is featured behind the watch.

Tell us about the process of creation of Over the Abyss? What does it signify for you?

This opportunity came at a time when we all are experiencing isolation and a representation of the reunions with loved ones that we all fervently hope may soon be possible. Over the Abyss can be expanded by hovering about the future of uncertainty. Communities cannot operate in isolation, and we empathise with this valuable insight.

TEAM Rado decodes the collaboration

What is the objective behind the creation of the True Square ‘Over the Abyss’?

Rado is a brand that lives and breathes visionary design. This is why we’ve joined forces with prominent platforms around the world to promote industrial design, young designers, and the world of design in general. Some of the platforms include India Art Fair, Paris Design Week, Madrid Design Festival and Design Junction.

Rado has always looked outside of the watch industry for inspiration — high-tech ceramic, for instance, was first used in the medical and aerospace industries before Rado brought it into the watchmaking world. Rado applies this approach not only to materials, but also to its visionary watch designs. Turning to designers in different fields — including fashion, architecture, and graphic design — the brand has launched notable watch collaborations over the decade globally. And with the same thought, we for the first time collaborated with Indian artists Thukral and Tagra to launch the Rado True Square ‘Over the Abyss’ in India.

What made Rado choose Thukral and Tagra for the collaboration?

Jiten Thukral and Sumir Tagra work collaboratively with a wide range of media, including painting, sculpture, installations, interactive games, video, performance and design. Thukral and Tagra work on new formats of public engagement and attempt to expand the scope of what art can do. They break out of the mediated and disciplinary worlds and create multi-modal sensory and immersive environments.

The innovative approach to their work matched perfectly with Rado’s brand ethos and made them a perfect fit for the brand.

When we worked with Thukral and Tagra and understood their idea of Over the Abyss, we felt it was a design that fit perfectly for True Square. Over the Abyss is a meditative proposal of a deep state of mind where thoughts floating multiply in the deepest of the abyss. Stuck in a novel of science fiction, we deal with an isolated space and time.

What are the significant features of this design that make it a signature Rado timekeeper?

Instead of regular hands, the analogue display will be made up of two overlapping dials, allowing the wearer to think about the time in other countries around the world besides their own. As these dials move, they will create ever-shifting patterns across the watch face. On the rear of the watch-case, the pair added an image from their ongoing Dominus Aeries painting series. These highly complex artworks explore visions of the future but are laced with references to the past. They show forms of civilisation, yet they are devoid of any signs of life.

That apart, the watch features a case and a bracelet made of Rado’s high-tech ceramic material. The watch has become emblematic of Rado’s design philosophy, with a smooth, round-edged square case, a matte paint finish and a titanium caseback. The watch features Rado’s in-house R763 automatic movement, with an 80-hour power reserve and 25 jewels.

What can we expect next from the True Square range?

Design is the cornerstone of Rado’s many groundbreaking timepieces, and it’s also in the brand’s DNA. The brand will continue to make more such moves in the design space.

Pictures courtesy: Rado

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