Every year the Hong Kong Exhibition puts together a designer competition to encourage local talent and one of the recurring themes in the designs, apart from the creative copy that accompanies each entry, is the attempt to latch the work upon any semblence of Chinese identity even though that is not part of the criteria of the design.
The winner in the open category is the “Art of Face-Changing” which was inspired by the traditional Chinese theatrical masks. There are twelve Chinese opera masks of “face-changing”, which rotates as the second hand and different masks take turn to appear every 5 seconds.
Lit Wai Ching’s Fan adopts the folding elements of Chinese fan, the watch case will automatically open when you wear and close when it is taken off.
B’an allows you to change the glass to different colors that again represents the ‘face-changing’ aspect of the Chinese Opera.
Chan Ka Yi’s “Jian Zhi” is a jewelry watch that applies the theme of Chinese folk art of paper cutting. The hands are made of scissors. The paper cutting dial in the middle allowing you to see the machinery movement of the watch.
Wood Only is a clock that the user has to assemble him or herself. This way the user is able to experience the Chinese joinery method of Mortise and tenon.
This Clock takes its inspiration from a Chinese poem by renowned poet Li Bai. The clock is supposed to be shaped like the moon and the time projects on the surface. It is also a music player when user inserts USB into the timepiece.
Tong Xin Kou is inspired by the traditional Chinese knots. It is supposed to give out a harmony and unity feeling of Chinese tradition.
For Love Birds, Wan Chung Yin dumps a whole bunch of keywords into the description that should have some local relevance, i.e. Paper Cut, Insperable love birds and double happiness.
As he explains, there is an old saying that a lovebird has only one wing and one eye. They need a partner to combine as a whole and fly together. He compares this to the relationship between the hour and the minute hand. So, when they meet at 12, some fusion of “double happiness” occurs.
This design is inspired by the Chinese legend of the Seventh Evening which is a well known Chinese love story. The design shows the element of stars and the dial face shows the Chinese calendar.
Finally, my favorite is the Bamboo watch by Lai Ka Tsun which didn’t win anything. You can see the rest of the entries of both categories below and decide for yourself: