“Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.” – Confucius


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On 30th June, SEVENFRIDAY launched the 500 pieces limited SF-T2/07 aka ’T-Riley’ OFF-Series. We took it for a spin in Zurich and chatted with the renowned Hungarian artist Kata Kerekes, whom SEVENFRIDAY collaborated on this watch with. 

We first encountered SEVENFRIDAY in 2018 at their Space in Zurich. The brand had already shown a more complex face with not only timepieces but bracelets, hoodies, sunglasses and even artistically painted leather jackets. Dan Niederer and Arnaud Duval (Head of design) co-founded SEVENFRIDAY in 2012 as a lifestyle concept that creates industrial-inspired watches, eyewear, apparel and accessories for like-minded people – ‘who live every day like it’s Friday’, as they say. 

The team has been exploring the signature rounded square timepiece design in many ways since they started. The five main series (currently: M-Series, P-Series, PS-Series, T-Series, C-Series) was extended with a rounded outlier called Free-D two years ago, commemorating their 10th anniversary. SEVENFRIDAY likes to involve other creative minds in the design – there are collaborations with visual artist Rocketbyz or more recently with Indian fashion brand Papa Don’t Preach.

On 30th June, SEVENFRIDAY introduced the SF-T2/07 aka ’T-Riley’ OFF-Series, co-created with Hungarian graphic designer, Kata Kerekes.

SF-T2/07 aka ’T-Riley’ OFF-Series

Riley Bear, also known as ‘the bear with an attitude’, is SEVENFRIDAY’s mascot animal. With its winking left eye and snarling teeth Riley would always sit somewhere on the shelves in SEVENFRIDAY’s Spaces. This time, he dreamt much bigger and dressed as an overzealous watchmaker he made his way to dial of a T-model.

Similarly to the other T models, the 45×45,6mm stainless steel (316L) case is more compact and thinner than most of the other SEVENFRIDAY pieces. The bronzy look, reminiscent to the fur of the bear is the result of a ‘Coffee Gold’ PVD treatment. The various finishing that include circular satined on the sides, polished on the bevelling, and sun-ray brushing on the bezel bring the animal even more alive. The other characteristic colour tone is a dark green. It shines from under the K1 hardened mineral glass, and even more around the watch face thanks to the deep green reflective Berlac lacquer that fills up the grooved lines on the bezel. Berlac is a Swiss company offering high-quality special and effect coatings in the automotive, sport, medical or watch and jewellery sectors.

The base of the duo-tone dial is a galvanic gold skeletonized under-layer. The relief printings in green, black and orange and the watch parts themselves tell the story of «Riley the watchmaker» holding a screwdriver in his paw and dressed in a 7F watchmaker’s cloak. The top plate has an opaline Green finishing.

The movement is the self-winding TMI-Seiko NH70 H Skeleton, which they’ve been using for other T-series timepieces. The 3Hz calibre offers 40 hours power reserve.

The designer

Mischievous Riley’s watchmaking story was conceived by Hungarian artist, Kata Kerekes. We caught up with her to learn about the collaboration as well as the creation process from the inspiration to completing the design.

Kata, tell us a little bit about your background and your work.

After I got my graphic design degree a while back (like, ten years ago), I totally fell for illustration and went all in. Now I’m a full-time illustrator, creating visuals for all sorts of projects, from designing a watch face to working on giant murals. I love that I can play around with different styles and keep things fresh that way. It’s awesome to collaborate with all kinds of clients and bring their ideas to life with something visually engaging that hits their goals.

You worked with SEVENFRIDAY on the Tiger NFTs and the visuals of the M2/04 “Whisky” and T-Beach Club’s packaging. What is your story with the brand? How and when did you meet Dan? How did these collaborations come together? 

This is a crazy story! It all started with a random phone call from my very first job, the one I had as a trainee before graduation. They connected me with Dan, and the rest, as they say, is history! Our first project was more than a 1000 tiger head illustrations for an NFT project. I was freaking out (in a good way!) because from the get-go, I thought their brand was seriously cool. It felt like Dan and his team has built something totally unique brand experience with full of fun and unexpected surprises. The team itself is the perfect mix: super professional but also incredibly friendly. It was awesome to feel their trust, especially with the whiskey packaging illustration. They basically gave me free hand with their character Riley, which let me create a whole rich, illustrated story around him.

What makes you excited as an illustrator & graphic designer to partake in these collaborations?

Whenever I see an email from SEVENFRIDAY with a new project, I get thrilled to crack it open! As an illustrator, it’s a dream to work with a brand that pushes the boundaries and thinks outside the box.

The T2/07 “T-Riley” piece is about SEVENFRIDAY’s mascot Riley trying to be a watchmaker.  Can you share with us more about the design process of the watch?

Before diving into the design, I needed to wrap my head around the dial’s production side. The SEVENFRIDAY team sent me the technical specs and samples from their latest design. Right from the start, Riley was the star of the show. His personality inspired me to sketch out a bunch of ideas. Ultimately, the watchmaker concept was the frontrunner, and then it was all about finding the perfect layout to bring it to life.

What were the challenges you faced by using a tiny multilayered space as a canvas?

It’s a crazy small canvas to tell a story! Every element has to be carefully chosen to illustrate the scene without cluttering things up. Getting the proportions right was key here. It’s a whole different world from illustrating for something flat like paper. This dial has depth, and the illustration needs to work with the watch’s skeleton too. Huge thanks again to the SEVENFRIDAY team for this opportunity – I’m incredibly proud of what we came up with together. Seeing my design come to life and add a new chapter to the Riley universe is super exciting, and I hope there’s more to come soon!

The SF-T2/07 is attached to the wrist by a dark green soft silicone strap with inlayed tone on tone stitchings and multiple SEVENFRIDAY patterns on the back. 

As all the models since 2016, the watch is in connection with the SEVENFRIDAY App (iOS & Android), thanks to an NFC chip embedded in the caseback, allowing authentication and registration of the timepiece. On this model the back of the watch is also decorated with Kata’s illustration. 

We have worn the watch for a week. A cartoon design could easily make a timepiece look cheap, but not this one. It is well built and gives the impression of a watch over its price tag (888 CHF ex VAT). The sleeker design sits properly on the wrist for both men and women and the artwork is nicely balanced with the interesting shape of the T-series. I would say though, for me the 120g total weight of the watch felt a bit hefty after hours of strolling. 

The SF-T2/07 aka “T-Riley” OFF-Series, is available as a 500 units limited edition at SEVENFRIDAY retailers and the online shop.

Photo credits: Loupiosity.com
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