Feelin' Groovy with Today timepiece by Scott Thrift

June 01, 2016

June 01, 2016

Ever since I started work on my Cunning Chronograph project, I've become much more aware of different ways to present the passage of time.


Max's Cunning Chronograph (Source: Max Maxfield / Embedded.com)

In a similar vein, ever since I celebrated the 38th anniversary of my 21st birthday -- just a couple of days ago as I pen these words -- I find I've become more aware of the actual passage of time itself (what did happen to the 1980s? I must have had a bad beer).

It's all too easy to find oneself racing from one task to another, constantly watching the clock and begrudging every passing second. Does it really have to be this way? I don’t know about you, but the opening stanza to the 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Grooby) by Simon & Garfunkel is singing its siren song to me more and more with each passing day:

Slow down, you move too fast.
You got to make the morning last.
Just kicking down the cobble stones.
Looking for fun and feelin' groovy.

Well, I'm happy to report that a fellow horologist -- media artist Scott Thrift -- feels the same way. As seen in this TED Talk video, some time ago Scott created a tasty timepiece called ThePresent.


ThePresent: Seasonal Edition (Source: TED Talk)

The idea here is that of a 365-day timepiece; ThePresent completes a single revolution each year, commencing with the Winter Solstice (the pure white band in the center of the blue area at the top of the display). Moving clockwise, we eventually reach the Vernal (Spring) Equinox, which is pure green on the right of the display. We continue on to the pure yellow Summer Solstice at the bottom of the display, followed by the Autumnal (Fall) Equinox to the left of the display, and we ultimately return to Winter Solstice.

It's thought-provoking to reflect on the fact that, had I been presented with one of these little beauties when I was born, it would only just have completed its 59th revolution. It certainly makes you think, doesn’t it?

As an aside, and as you'll see in the TED Talk, someone complained that ThePresent was incorrect because the pointer doesn't point vertically upwards on January 1st. Apparently, this person was not fully aware of the difference between the Winter Solstice and the first day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. On the bright side, it sparked Scott to develop a New Year Edition of ThePresent.


ThePresent: New Year Edition (Source: TED Talk)

ThePresent quadrupled its goal on Kickstarter, went on to become a MoMA Design Store Bestseller, and is now owned by 3,000+ people in 48 countries around the world (Brian Eno and Deepak Chopra are just a couple of people who own ThePresent).

All of which leads us to the fact that, earlier today, Scott launched his Today Kickstarter Project. The Today is based on the same philosophy as ThePresent, but this time applied to our perception of the passing of each day.


Today (Source: Kenneth Bachor)

Using a 24 hour movement assembled in Germany, the Today's numberless, nonlinear design -- with noon (top) and midnight (bottom) gently divided by a cloud-like horizon representing dawn and dusk -- relieves the urgency of modern time.

Today moves at half the speed of a regular clock, making one full rotation every day, resulting in a timepiece that actually makes you feel like you have more time. As Scott says on his Kickstarter page: "Living with Today stretches your perception of time to make space for all of the things in life that cannot be counted." (I'm not quite sure what this means -- I'm a bear of little brain -- but it certainly sounds like something I wish I'd said.)

Well, it looks like Scott has another winner on his hands. Even though his latest Kickstarter opened its doors only a few hours ago (not that I'm counting, you understand), Scott's already raised $20,000+ of his $24,000 goal, and there are still 30 days to go.

Personally, I think I could do with slowing my life down a bit, and I would love to have ThePresent and Today mounted side-by-side on my office wall. What say you?

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