When approaching the drawing board to create the new Citizen x Star Wars collaboration, watch designer Donell Hutson drew from his own lifelong love of the galaxy far, far away and the characters that captured his childhood imagination. He and the rest of the Citizen team chose the characters that each of the five watches would represent: heroes Luke Skywalker and Han Solo, their antagonists Darth Vader and Boba Fett, and the fearsome Death Star space station.
Then they creatively found new ways to translate the essence of each one into a piece that would still meet the specific design standards to suit Citizen’s 100-year tradition of high-end craftsmanship and innovation. “I really wanted to take subtle cues from the different characters,” Hutson tells StarWars.com. “But we want to make sure and have all of the elements that would excite a Star Wars fan. So we had to take some risks in terms of putting certain [things] in there.”
These risks meant dipping into color palettes not typically used by Citizen, but familiar among Star Wars devotees, avoiding brighter colors and opting for deeper hues. High grade stainless steel, fine leathers, advanced technology, and more define these fine timepieces, powered by Eco-Drive, Citizen’s patented light-powered technology.
And each one captures that essential Star Wars element of feeling well-worn and full of stories from previous adventures. “We were going for that slightly distressed kind of look,” Hutson says. “As things age and they start to get that lived-in feel, I think it holds more value to us.”
Recently, StarWars.com sat down with Hutson to take a closer look at the five exquisite watches in the new collection, including some exclusive sketches from the line.
The Dark Lord of the Sith has long been Hutson’s favorite character, from the ominous all-black armor to the little bits of color illuminating from the chest plate. For the designer, translating the character into a watch design provides a welcome challenge to resist standard expectations. “The tendency is to think dark,” Hutson says. “What was exciting for me the most was designing a watch that wasn’t.” The black dial features red and blue accents harkening back to Vader’s chest module. Stay on target closely and you might notice design cues on the dial referencing the hexagonal pattern found underneath Vader’s ventilator, the ribbing of his chest plate, and the Imperial symbol. And in a nod to the release year of Star Wars: A New Hope, only 1,977 of these watches will be available.
Luke’s X-wing pilot helmet serves as the inspiration here with red and yellow hues on a black dial and the subtle use of the V-shaped logo seen on the sides of Luke’s helmet. More obvious nods come in the form of the red Rebel Alliance logo at the bottom of the watch face and the green lightsaber ticking away as the second hand. “We want to capture Luke with as many different elements as we can.” Hutson says. “The use of the gray [Cordura] strap and the dark gray stainless steel case match back to his flight suit.”
Solo’s swaggering smuggler style dominates the timepiece made in his image. The background of the dial showcases the blue of Han’s signature trousers, with the unmistakable red stripes running down the dial’s right side over the day window. The bottom of the watch face resembles the shape of the Millennium Falcon’s cockpit window, but this watch is no hunk of junk. The blue strap receives a brown leather wrap finish over the top resembling Han’s holster belt and its studding. “Han is fun, edgy, and interesting,” Hutson says. “I think a lot of people in the Star Wars fandom identify with Han and tend to like him…. And this is instantly recognizable as a Han Solo watch.”
For bounty hunters, time is of the essence, and this watch immortalizes one of the most beloved hired guns in Star Wars lore. Boba Fett’s armor aesthetic rules the dial with green and gray melding together along with pops of burgundy and mustard. The center dial features a tip of the helmet to the geometric shape of Fett’s chest plates along with the yellow stripe found on the side of his helmet. The 12 o’clock diamond marker is a subtle reference to an insignia found elsewhere on the bounty hunter’s armor. The leather strap is a deep hunter green with red stitching. “All of those little cues went into it, and we think it executed pretty nicely,” says Hutson. The watch is available in a limited edition run of 1,980 pieces, a reference to the date of Fett’s first big-screen appearance in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.
That’s no moon, it’s a wristwatch. A character in its own right, the Death Star fits right in with the rest of the line, Hutson says. “Here we’re really going after a kind of bold, high-contrast look,” he adds. “When we were designing it, we were looking at that iconic shot of the Death Star, half in shadow and half in light.” There’s a strong graphic style on the dial with finely printed dots on the left and streaks of print on the right. A luminous watch, its dial glows green when the lights go down. And like the Darth Vader watch, the Death Star’s run is limited to 1,977 pieces.
Jon Waterhouse can’t get enough of that Star Wars stuff, and his passion comes to life in his work. A comic book author, Jon’s storytelling can be found in the Star Wars Adventures series by IDW Publishing. Additionally, he’s an award-winning journalist, screenwriter, radio show host, and performer whose byline has appeared in a variety of print and online publications including Esquire, BlackBook, Paste, CNN.com, and MTV.com.
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