Making the MARC
Now on his third collaboration with JaegerLecoultre, superstar designer Marc Newson talks good design and the intricacies of putting together the Atmos 568, writes
marc newson is a man of few words. Which perhaps should come as no surprise, given he has made a name for himself in the world of design as a proponent of the pared down aesthetic. “Good design is about knowing when to stop,” he tells Prestige i n G eneva. “It i s about creating objects that don’t date. You just know it when you see it,” he adds.
The Australian industrial designer would know. Lauded as one of the most inf luent ial designers of his generation, the 53-year-old has received numerous awards and distinctions throughout his illustrious career. He was also in Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People list in 2005, sharing the honours with the likes of George W Bush, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. Having left his mark on everything f rom fashion and lifestyle products ( he has ongoing collaborations with bigname labels such as G- Star Raw and Apple), to home furnishings ( besides his iconic Lockheed Lounge, he has also worked with brands like Magis and Alessi) over the years, Newson recently revisited a timeless classic in the horology world: The Jaeger-lecoultre Atmos clock.
Invented in 1928 by Swiss engineer Jean-léon Reutter, the Atmos clock has been a hallmark of the manufacture from as early as 1932 when Lecoultre ( before its merger with watchmaker Jaeger) began producing it on a commercial scale. Powered by miniscule changes in temperature, the iconic timekeeper has arguably occupied a significant place in history. “It’s sort of the ultimate corporate gift — almost every [American] president’s had one,” jokes Newson. “And in a weird way, the Atmos represents the cutting edge of technology. It is completely anachronistic, but it is as up-to-date now as it was over 80 years ago. It is the very definition of modern luxury with its amalgamation of craft and technology with design,” he adds.
So w hen N ewson t ook o n t he challenge of designing an Atmos clock for the watchmaker back in 2008, it wasn’t about reinventing the wheel. Instead, it was about “respecting the DNA of the brand, while injecting a certain character to the Atmos to make it different and appeal to a new audience,” he explains. Now on this third Atmos