Tian Harlan 'Frees You From the Dictatorship of Exact Time' (1971-1980's)

Available on 70s-watches.com. Range from 200 to 350 English pounds. (sometimes on Ebay for around $150 US).

I adore these watches by Tian Harlan. Discovered in my search of some of the amazing 1960's-70's watches they remain on my list of favourites. Photos stashed away in my 'good things' file on my computer for years.

Tian Harlan (architect, engineer and artist) felt that time was too rigid; that we shouldn't be restricted by the constraints of exact time. To this end, he designed the "Chromachron" system that provides a different colour for each hour and movements that move fluidly rather then by every minute and second. Freeing one from the 'Dictatorship of Exact Time' (as he says).

Originally conceived as the 'Colour-Time' clock sculpture at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, Tian created over 100 variants of the watch (and clocks) through the eighties.

The Story Of The Color Time Watch can be found here on 70s-watches.com and is a rather tempting acquisition. I want to read the story of time! I love how committed he was to this idea.

Featured in the book Pieter Doensens "History of the Modern Wristwatch", Doensens says:
“CHROMACHRON serves as an instrument for those who want to live time creatively. The precision of the Colour-Time feeling is not only defined by the perfection of the instrument. It requires from the user a new sensitivity, a consciousness of the self and of time.
The use of CHROMACHRON sharpens these abilities and brings true recognition of the time...... The Colour-time-circle represents the course of the day by light and colour degrees. The day has 12 hours and each hour is assigned a special colour. The brightest colour, yellow, is 12 noon when the sun is at its zenith.
Time and colour are relative. We can experience both objectively or subjectively. The meaning of the hours and their colours depends therefore on the actual moment. And each moment is a new one. Every day. In contrast to the hour numerals which remain forever rigid. REF: PIETER DOENSEN BOOK: "WATCH - HYSTORY OF THE MODERN WIRSTWATCHES" (p. 43)

He also made alarm clocks. Again, an alarm clock without exact time. Charming.

Because 'exact time' is oppressive. (I don't feel oppressed by time but appreciate the period perfection of this.) And I love that it is a gold & yellow clock to represent the sun & a cheery morning.


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