by John Russel Jones

Milan, Italy-based designer Giorgio Galli was one of the major forces behind the 1990s Swatch watch craze. In 1994, in collaboration with Benetton’s holding company, he founded his own design firm, working with clients like Gucci, Vitra, Benetton, Bic, Renault, and Philip Morris. Never abandoning his love for watches, he also designed timepieces for Movado Group, Seiko, Citizen, Sector, Nautica, and Timex. In 2007, Galli sold his design studio to Timex Group to become what is now known as the Giorgio Galli Design Lab. Several years ago, Timex asked the designer to create a watch that is the “most Timex” Timex ever made. He answered with the S1 Automatic.

The timepiece includes hidden, innovative details and technical mastery, encapsulating the quality, value, and timelessness for which Timex is known. Over the past few years, the GGS1 has evolved with new colors and smaller cases, but the collection takes its final bow with the release of the 38 mm Automatic in limited edition (500 pieces total) black-on-black or black-with-gold versions. (Suggested retail price, $475 to $500.) The watches are sold on Timex.com.

Production of the S1 will end with this duo but watch for the next step in the Timex evolution, the Giorgio Galli S2, which will have something that no other Timex does: an automatic Swiss movement.

“It’s really a step forward for the brand,” says Galli of the decision. As much of a departure as this will be from business as usual, he adds, it’s still very much in keeping with the brand’s history and DNA. “In the 1970s we had Swiss products, so it’s not completely out of the blue,” he says. “I’m taking the S series to another level without abandoning the current one.” With new levels of detail and more complexity in its construction, but the same blend of classic and modern aesthetics, the S2 represents a significant move toward Galli’s ultimate vision for the brand. “Of course,” he adds. “We’re going to sell it at the right price – it’s going to be an affordable automatic Swiss-Made watch, with a high-end movement, for under $1,000.”

Currently in the final prototype stage, Galli is excited to put the S2 to the ultimate test: his own wrist. “I’m wearing it all the time, and I think it came out how it was meant to be,” he says approvingly. “It’s the same philosophy executed in a new way; it’s an evolution.”