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Some designs just lend themselves to certain occasions. First launched in 2009, the Back in Time (BIT) watch by local brand Azimuth Watch features a time display that runs anti-clockwise instead of clockwise. The fact that the numerals on the dial are shown in reverse inspired Christopher Long, the co-founder and creative director of the premium watch brand, to create a watch commemorating Singapore’s 45th birthday in 2010: The anti-clockwise placement of the numerals allowed for the number 45 to be easily highlighted (see image below).

Having bided his time for the past 11 years, Long now makes use of this special feature again to present a commemorative watch marking Singapore’s 56th birthday. The 56 BIT Singapore Commemorative Edition “Garfield” features the number 56, enlarged and in bold red — and everyone’s favourite comic-strip cat, clad in fencing gear. The dial of the 42mm steel watch is beige, which brings to mind the colour of vintage comics.

Azimuth Garfield Singapore 56

Azimuth’s National Day commemorative watches from 2021 (left) and 2010 (right).

When the BIT model debuted in 2009, it was launched in two-hand and single-hand versions, and the latter was then the world’s first reverse-direction, single-hand timepiece. Azimuth’s National Day commemorative BIT watches feature the single-hand display, which we like for its old-school charm (single-hand time displays date back to the 14th century), even though it offers a less precise reading of time than two-hand dials.

At the centre of the watch, a swashbuckling Garfield indicates the time with his sword. And why feature Garfield on a watch marking the Little Red Dot’s birthday? Long explains, “Azimuth has been making character watches, starting with the ‘Go Astro Boy Go!’ series two years ago. The Garfield series is a continuation of what we enjoy doing. Also, we found it apt to release a Garfield piece in these times, as a piece that can make its wearer smile. And since we are now in this strange Olympic year and Singapore is fighting a war against the pandemic, Garfield in fencing gear seemed appropriate for our current circumstances.”

Powered by a modified, self-winding SW220 movement, this watch is assembled in Neuchatel, Switzerland, like all of Azimuth’s other watches. If you’re into Garfield or such commemorative timepieces, check it out soon — or you might have to wait another 11 years.

The 56 BIT Singapore Commemorative Edition “Garfield” retails for S$3,200 and only 56 pieces will be made. Azimuth is taking orders for delivery around the end of September and early October. For enquiries, send an e-mail to chrislong@azimuthwatch.com, or drop by Azimuth’s authorised retailers Red Army Watches or World of Watches 2.

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