Marc Newson produces one of the world’s most expensive timepieces – though it’s not what you’d expect

2 min read
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‘Like sands through the hourglass, so are the needlessly expensive gimmicks of our lives’. Not so sure that’s how that quote is supposed to sound, but it does appear as if some people are taking the hourglass a little too seriously. Marc Newson, the master designer who has helped craft some of the finest looking tech in the world today, such as the Apple Watch, is at it again. Only this time he is crafting a timepiece of a different kind at one incredible price. The designer has revealed a new, limited edition hourglass that has been designed for wristwatch magazine Hodinkee that is set to retail for $12000 (R155 000). No, I did not add any zeroes to these figures by accident.

That’s right! For something that is essentially no longer needed in the digital age other than to create some excitement in a game of 30 seconds, that is an exorbitant amount of money to watch sand fall. Yes, the hourglass is hand blown from a single piece of borosilicate glass, which according to Google is extremely difficult to do and is also filled with 1,249,966 tiny stainless steel spheres (called nanoballs) – but it still feels wrong paying for something like this. Though the designer is probably going to argue he hand counted all those little nanoballs too.

Newson stresses the hourglass is more than just a casual time measuring device and has been carefully designed so that the flow of the nanoballs creates a uniquely beautiful shifting pattern as they move (which will apparently take 10 minutes to complete), making this more like a piece of art than just an old-fashioned stopwatch. After all, who doesn’t sit here watching patterns in an hourglass?

Each hourglass will feature Newson’s signature on one side and is numbered 1 of 100. The custom orange foam case comes with a special leather coaster and white gloves to help ensure that the hourglass doesn’t get scratched. What really boggles the mind though is that people are actually buying it as six units have already been sold and are ready for delivery, with another four arriving at the start of June. Following that, the designer is hoping to deliver roughly 10 every month.

While I can admire the art form behind manually making an hourglass such as this, I quite simply cannot see why anyone would be willing to spend that kind of money on it. With no practical reason to own an hourglass, are falling little balls the next big thing for all the Joneses out there?

Last Updated: May 29, 2017

Craig Risi

A man of many talents, but no sense how to use them. I could be discovering the cure for aids or finding ways to achieve world peace, but I’d rather be watching movies and writing here instead.

  • Lu

    Taking the “Analogue is better than digital” thing waaaay too far. Damn hipsters.

  • Original Heretic

    Hourglass. Yet it takes 10 minutes to complete the sand drop.

  • Guild

    All great until a child plays with it and drops it on the floor

  • Magoo

    It’s not much more ludicrous than paying $100k for any other watch. You can say what you want about quality and manufacturing difficulties and resources. There is no reason to pay so much money to be able to tell the time.