Photos by Om. Made with iPhone 13 Pro Max.

I was saddened by the passing of young and exciting new designer Virgil Abloh. He was so young and fresh in his thinking about pop culture and how it intersected with fashion. I had met him a while ago at the launch of the Apple Watch, and we talked about sneakers and pop culture. It was not difficult to get in a conversation with him. I have followed his work from the time he worked with Kanye West. In his obituaries, this one paragraph from the accompanying text for his exhibition, Figures of Speech stood out.

Tourist and purist, that’s my main device to understand the sections of culture, that move culture forward. You have a purist, that’s like, I know the whole art history of everything, you can’t do this, this was done 20-times before you thought of it. Like, this is the pure institution. Then there’s the tourist, who’s bright-eyed, curiosity-driven, that has a lust for learning, and they support whatever.

In an interview with Vogue, Abloh elaborated in even simpler terms:

“It’s my organizing principle for my point of view when I make things. A tourist is someone who’s eager to learn, who wants to see the Eiffel Tower when they come to Paris. The purist is the person who knows everything about everything.”

I have written in the past — the hardest thing for me is to unlearn everything to make room for new things in my thinking. This organizing principle just might be Abloh’s best gift to us, who run the risk of finding ourselves in the expert trap.

In an interview with Hodinkee, Patek Philippe’s Thierry Stern explains why his mega-luxury brand won’t bother making a smart watch, unlike other watch brands such as Montblanc and TAG Heuer.

Am I going to fight against Apple, which has nearly the same budget as I do in R&D, except they have five more zeros at the end of it? I can’t compete with that. It’s another way to fabricate watches. We have always been dedicated to mechanical watches, this is what we know and what we enjoy. Working on something electronic may be fun, but it’s not my business. You have to give it to the pro, and I’m not a pro in this type of technology.

In this age where everyone wanting to do everything, all in the name of growth, it is refreshing to see a company that is sticking to its knitting. I like that he knows the reason why they are who they are. That understanding has allowed them to grow and be able to create value and desire for their products. I really wish more companies were as focused on their own excellence rather than chasing growth for the sake of growth.

As you might (or might not know), I have a particular predilection for mechanical watches. I have always been fascinated by watch faces and the design philosophies behind those dials. And that is why I was pretty thrilled to read this deep dive into iconic watch faces that found their way into the Apple Watch. Arun Venkatesan, co-founder of Carrot, and a designer, breaks down the Apple Watch from a design perspective. He looked at various iconic watch faces, and the watch models inspired them.

“With the watch faces, Apple could have taken the easy way out by merely mimicking existing watch archetypes at a surface level,” he writes. “When designing each face, they took into account that history and the constraints and opportunities afforded by modern technology.”

This lengthy article might be the best way to spend half an hour. Please read it.