The Jen Stark X Armitron Collection represents a collaboration between a world-renowned artist and one of America’s leading watchmakers. Rather than a single watch, this is an entire collection, with multiple different variants. Each one of them is quite literally a work of art, with unique colorful shapes and patterns.
To be fair, these aren’t what most people would consider professional watches. With a couple of exceptions, they’re bright and multicolored. On the other hand, they’re great for a night out, or for any other time you want to express your individuality. Here’s some background on the artist, the watchmaker, and the collection they’ve collaborated on.
Jen Stark – The Artist
Jen Stark is an artist who’s primarily known for her colorful, psychedelic work. She works in repetitive geometric patterns, fractals, the Fibonacci Sequence, and other basic patterns, as well as using ancient sacred geometry for her inspiration. She’s worked in a wide variety of media in addition to painting. These include wood, metal, mirrors, animation, and her famous paper sculptures.
Stark has participated in a number of unique exhibitions. One of her first notable displays was a custom bathroom interior for the Gagosian art gallery in Beverly Hills. This work gained the attention of some in the local tech community, and she got her big break the following year. In 2015, she would be contracted to paint a huge, prominent mural at Facebook’s Menlo Park headquarters.
In 2019, Stark partnered with the Joshua Liner Gallery in New York to completely transform the interior. The entire gallery, previously plain white to draw attention to the artwork, instead became a work of art in and of itself. She painted the walls in colorful patterns, and built new angles into the walls to create optical illusions.
Stark’s most recent major exhibition was in Los Angeles in 2020. In her Light Spectrum exhibition, she created a giant prism out of transparent, tinted vinyl. As the sun moves through the sky, it casts a colorful pattern on the ground, which changes throughout the day.
Armitron – The Watchmaker
Founded in 1975, Armitron is currently the fifth best-selling watch brand in the US. It’s also one of the few US watchmakers to be internationally recognized. Armitron first came to prominence in the 1980s, with their high-end quartz watches that were perceived as more luxurious than the Japanese competition. They worked hard to build celebrity partnerships, working with sports icons like Jerry Rice and Larry Bird.
But times keep changing, and there’s less of a market for luxury quartz watches than there used to be. Armitron has responded by creating advanced digital chronometers for customers who need accuracy, and automatic watches for people who prefer a mechanical feel. They’ve also worked on design partnerships, such as their work with Jen Stark.
Officially, there are three different types of watch in the Jen Stark X Armitron Collection. These are the Silicone Collection, the Mesh Collection, and the Apple Watch Band Collection. However, the Silicone and Mesh collections are the same in overall profile. The difference is that there are different designs, and the bands are either silicone or mesh depending on the variety.
That said, these first two collections have a lot in common. They have 40mm stainless steel dials, with a slim, round profile that creates a mid-sized wrist presence. All of them feature psychedelic styles in Jen Stark’s signature style, with different combinations of color and greyscale available. The bezels are slim, with straight lugs and flat sapphire crystals. The hour positions are marked by long, slender metal indices, with slightly wider, pointed markers at the 12, 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions. The hands are broadsword-shaped, with the hour hand shorter and fatter than the minute hand. The second hand is long and needle-shaped, extending all the way to the outside of the watch.
The case, hands, and indices come in either black, grey, or gold, depending on the model. The metal color depends on the artwork on the dial, and is suited to match. However, all of the metalwork is the same color, so the hands, indices, and case always match. In addition, the straps for Mesh Collection watches are also the same color.
The Apple Watch Band Collection is a bit different. This is a rectangular watch, designed similarly to the apple watch, with rounded corners, and two different size options; you can choose 38mm x 40mm or 42mm x 44mm, depending on your wrist size. The dial is plain black, with white lume dots at the hour positions. Outside the dots, there’s an index with smaller hashes to mark the minutes. The hands are oval-shaped, with lume borders surrounding black centers that make them appear skeletonized. There are also various other digital features on the display, such as a temperature readout and a digital calendar readout. The artwork on these watches is confined to the bands, and can either be colorful or black and white.
While not the most ideal release for a budding watch enthusiast with a taste for high end horology, the Jen Stark collection is meant to be a fun and quirky type of watch for those looking for a casual watch with a laid back vibe. For more information visit the official Armitron website here.