CIGA Design Taps into the Energy of Ancient Egypt with the Series X Eye of Horus
The award-winning Chinese brand investigates ancient history mysticism with a very modern design.
But it was in 2021 that CIGA Design made its biggest splash in the world of watchmaking to date when it became the first Chinese brand to win a GPHG award. Specifically, its Series U Blue Planet automatic wristwatch, a 46mm titanium model featuring a rotating blue aluminum 3-D globe, beat five other contenders in the Challenge Watch category.
Fun Fact: The GPHG “Challenge” category was introduced in 2018 to showcase timepieces priced under CHF 3,500 to encourage new and more value-oriented watchmakers to enter the competition.
First and foremost, CIGA watches are for fans of design – especially industrial designers like Marc Newson, Karim Rashid, and Hella Jongerius. It’s unsurprising, considering that CIGA Design’s founder and chief designer is Zhang Jianmin, who cut his teeth in the worlds of graphic and architectural design.
Now, the Shenzhen-based brand continues to push the boundaries of structural storytelling with the new Series X Eye of Horus, featuring a back-to-front skeleton-style automatic mechanical watch that presents a fascinating fusion of contemporary elements inspired by ancient Egyptian mythology.
The Eye of Horus, also known as a “wedjat” or “udjat” eye, is a symbol that dates back to ancient Egypt. As most versions of the story go, after the falcon-headed god Horus, who rules the sun and the sky, has one of his eyes destroyed by his rival Set, who is the god of storms and violence, Thoth, the god of knowledge and science, restores the “Eye of Horus” and brings peace between warring deities.
Thus, the Eye of Horus came to represent well-being, healing, and protection. And with its X-shaped skeleton design, the CIGA Design Series X Eye of Horus is embracing this ancient Egyptian symbolism by including the brand’s version of an Eye of Horus inside the center triangle that functions as the second hand.
In another thoughtful touch for history buffs, the watch hands and scales are painted a luminous green, recalling Egyptian faience (a type of brightly colored sintered-quartz ceramic that had similar properties as glass and was usually blue or green).
Moreover, this watch’s crown is made from obsidian, which ancient Egyptians believed granted people the ability to release their emotional and physical stress and heal old traumas, all while encouraging personal growth. It provides a final touch to the mystic concepts at the heart of Series X Eye of Horus.
For those who don’t ascribe to amulets and mystical powers, there’s a lot of modern thinking going into the look of the Eye of Horus.
It’s a big boy, measuring 47.3 x 48 x 12.1mm, but the lightweight black bioceramic case construction provides maximum coolness and comfort on the wrist, as does the snug, skin-friendly silicone strap. These tactile materials are also practical because they are hard-wearing and stain-resistant. Meanwhile, the case has a water resistance of 3 ATM.
Of course, the double-sided skeletonized design doesn’t matter if the movement isn’t serious. That is why the Eye of Horus houses the CIGA’s first in-house-developed movement, the Calibre CD-01. And although it lacks fine finishing and decoration, we can overlook that given that the Eye of Horus is unlikely to breach the $400 price point. Besides, there are a few fun things on display, including the mainspring barrel that also serves as a power reserve indicator.
And even if you don’t see it as an amulet, the Eye of Horus is meant to feel personal. That’s why it’s presented in three color combinations: black, rose gold, and silver.
Right now, the Series X Eye of Horus is only available via INDIEGOGO and is currently priced at $200, but seeing as it’s now fully funded, you should expect to see the Series X Eye of Horus on the CIGA Design website eventually.