#Resilience


“Kintsugi” or the art of resilience

EDITORIAL

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May 2020


“Kintsugi” or the art of resilience

Our new print issue is devoted to the theme of resilience for the watch world in light of the pandemic. The imagery in this special is based around the Japanese concept of Kintsugi, which is the art of “precious scars”. It can also be seen as a way of overcoming adversity, turning something worthless into something valuable – lead into gold.

T

he Japanese technique of Kintsugi is a way of mending broken porcelain or ceramic by joining the pieces together with lacquer mixed with powdered gold.

That is what inspired the illustrations in Europa Star Chapter 2/20.

“The imagery in this special issue devoted to resilience is based around the Japanese concept of Kintsugi, the art of “precious scars”. Will the watch industry once again be able to turn lead into gold?”

Something in the watch world (and indeed, the entire world) has broken in this year 2020, which has brought the worst existential crisis since the 1970s. The coronavirus has struck at the heart of an already fragmented watch industry. Supply chains have been severed, shops deserted and the entire industrial fabric of the watch industry has been thrown into disarray. The pandemic is an accelerator of History, throwing the spotlight on fault lines that have been emerging, unnoticed, for some time.

“The pandemic is an accelerator of History, throwing the spotlight on fault lines that have been emerging, unnoticed, for some time.”

The industry must seize this moment to establish a global watchmaking community, each part of which can bring added value – the prestige of brands, the ingenuity of suppliers, the people skills of retailers and the salutary probing of journalists – if it is to avoid falling back into the same old problems. It’s time to move from individual self-examination, which is now starting to reach its limits, to a broader “ecosystemic” reflection, inspired by the resilience of nature. Without a healthy ecosystem, no watch brand can grow and thrive.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Quite the opposite, in fact. Historically, the watch industry has demonstrated remarkable resilience in the face of the many crises with which history is littered. What all these turnarounds have in common is collective effort. If we look back at the 19th century, a concerted industrial response was put in place to counter the threat of American mass production. The quartz crisis of the 1970s and 1980s was also met with a focused effort from the industry.

As in any pivotal moment, we are torn between sadness and hope. We mourn those we have lost, and grieve for the inevitable losses to come. But new prospects are opening up. That is the underlying theme of this special issue. Will the watch industry once again be able to turn lead into gold?

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