The term shibusa dates back to 1300’s Japan, and by the beginning of the 1600’s had gradually begun to refer to “a pleasing aesthetic”. The people of the time used this term to refer to anything – from a song, to fashion, to craftsmanship – that was beautiful by being understated, or by being precisely what it was meant to be and not elaborated upon. Essentially, the aesthetic ideal of shibusa seeks out performances, people, or objects that are beautiful in a direct and simple way, without being flashy.
In today’s day and age, with nearly anything available in a moment’s notice at your fingertips, we can all suffer from information overload. With our flagship watch, we wanted to simplify what we could by using the concept of shibusa. Shibusa objects appear to be simple overall, but include subtle details, such as textures and color, that balance simplicity with complexity. This balance of simplicity and complexity ensures that one does not tire of a shibusa object, but rather constantly finds new meanings and enriched beauties that cause its aesthetic value to grow over the years.
How does one capture simplicity, while at the same time, being complex? When we sat down at the drawing board to design our Shibusa watch, this question was our foremost concern. Separately, these two ideals are fairly easy to accomplish. However, integrating simplicity with complexity proved to be a tall task. After much deliberation, we settled on a rough design that was inherently simple in nature. All the markings are a rich black on top of a contrasting white face, and we kept the text minimal, so as not to detract from its’ overall understated appearance. At this stage of the process, we were very satisfied with the simplicity aspect of the design. However, we had not yet accomplished the full concept of shibusa – we were missing the complexity.
To highlight a few of the design features, while avoiding venturing into gaudy territory, we began focusing on using textures and the power of color. For texturing, we opted to have the “12” and our logo ever-so-slightly embossed off the front of the face. In this same vein, we inset the second-hand dial a few millimeters the other direction – into the face. This gives the whole watch a 3-dimensional perspective, without adding bloat. To harness the power of color, we offer coordinating color combinations on the three hands. We have a beautiful, understated blue along with a deep, matte red – models with blue hour/minute hands come complete with a red second-hand and watches with red hour/minute hands have a blue second-hand. As an additional, subtle, pop of interest, the second-hand dial will color-coordinate with the hour/minute hand-color you choose savoir plus. As everyone has differing tastes, we also offer an all-black-and-white version, the most understated version of our Shibusa lineup.
By starting with a simple design, then integrating 3-dimensional texturing and harnessing the power of color, we were able to successfully incorporate the full shibusa concept into one beautiful, simple, and complex package. Form and function are the two pillars on which our design was built; one cannot stand without the other. There is no need for compromise.