London-based Mr. Jones Watches is the type of brand that I am happy exists. Artistic, creative, affordable, and often downright weird, this company’s watches have been reminding people that in our modern age timepieces are artistic expressions as much as they are functional objects. While Mr. Jones Watches come in a range of styles and themes, most share the same case as well as overall functional concept. What changes is really how the artistic element is expressed, and today I’m looking at a trio of pieces which are the Mr. Jones Last Laugh Tattoo, Sun and Moon, and Timewise.
The first Mr. Jones Watch that I recall is an iconic model they make called “The Accurate.” The hands of the watch spell out a statement which reads “Remember You Will Die.” This timepiece alone illustrates the personality of the brand, as well as the obvious polarizing effect its products will likely have. Mr. Jones Watches aren’t about being tool watches or high luxury, but rather quirky statement pieces which inject a slightly more intellectual element to the typical pop art or less cerebral themes we see in “design watches” at these under $250 pricepoints.
The Accurate was all about telling people to “carpe diem” in as straightforward a way as possible. The notion being that a watch not only measures time, but should be a reminder that time is running out, so you should not waste it. It is a morbid concept, for sure, but according to the interesting Mr. Crispin Jones – founder of MJW (Mr. Jones Watches) – being honest about life’s journey is probably the best tactic to “successfully” getting to the end of it.
MJW follows up The Accurate with the more pictorial – yet similarly conceived – Mr. Jones Last Laugh watch collection which has blossomed into a few different versions. In this review, you can see the Last Laugh Tattoo, which takes the skull on the dial concept and paints in a colorful Mexican Day of the Dead theme. Two discs which spin to indicate the time are displayed as the teeth of the skull. Again, it isn’t meant to be the epitome of legibility, but rather as an artistic expression that nevertheless tells the time. For some people the reminder of death is a threat, and apparently, to others it is an empowering concept that reminds them we each face the same fate, so life is all about what you do while you have the power to do something at all.
From simple to high-luxury watches, skulls as a design theme have been something of a veritable invasion. In many forms of traditional art we see the concept of skulls as a reminder of the temporary nature of human existence, as well as a token of power in those who have defeated their enemies. As I said, this is a polarizing concept which is appealing for some people and downright gruesome for others.
Each of these three watches uses the same relatively small (by modern men’s watch standards) 37mm-wide case. It wears a bit larger than it sounds given the broad lugs and 46mm lug-to-lug length, but these aren’t big watches. If anything, I personally would like to see more Mr. Jones Watches make something that is 40mm wide. These also make for good womens’ watch sizes, and MJW even has certain versions of their timepieces in “mini” size that has a case even more suitable for smaller wrists.
The case is steel with 50m of water resistance and a mineral crystal. The Mr. Jones Last Laugh Tattoo’s case is PVD-coated black, while others are natural, finished steel. Quality is totally acceptable for the prices. The MJW Last Laugh Tattoo’s dial artwork was specially commissioned by UK-based tattoo artist Adrian Willard. While most MJW watches are quartz, this model has a Chinese-made caliber ST1721 automatic mechanical movement that drives the disc “teeth” which indicate the hours and minutes.
With a lighter tone, let us shift our attention to the the Mr. Jones Sun and Moon watch which is an artistic expression on seeing the passing of the day flow by. Very few MJW watches simply indicate the time in a traditional way. In this watch, an artistic disc with a representation of the day and night (along with various plants and animals) is visible through a crescent window at the top of the dial. Below it is a traditional dial meant to indicate the minutes. Depending on whether it is the AM or PM segment of the day, the sun or moon represents the indicator for the hour.