Meet Geckota brand ambassador, Michael Langley. His Uchi Horology Series of timepiece art perfectly complements our watches and straps. Discover more here…
As watch enthusiasts, we love finding a watch or watch company that’s new and fascinating to us. We experience a frisson of joy when we find a product or brand that talks our language and shares our philosophies and approach to life. A brand that broadens our knowledge and areas of horological interest – and enriches our experience of watches and everything associated with them. It’s just like growing our watch brand, choosing the people and organisations to collaborate with and appoint as our brand ambassadors...
Such was the case when we met Bristol-based designer and urban wear brand owner Michael Langley. He’s been the driving force behind the Uchi clothing, art print and homewares brand for over 20 years. And now, the Uchi Horology Series.
We got to know Michael just as he was getting into watches in a big way. And as he harboured a dream of taking his Hip Hop, science and mathematics-inspired collections in a new, even more technical, horological direction. It was perfect, serendipitous timing, so we fuelled his passion with some Geckota watches and straps, gave him a push down the slippery slope of watch addiction for good measure, and sent him away to do what he does best – interpret, create and print.
Michael’s skill and passion was a revelation
Seeing Michael’s growing passion for all things horological and appreciating the depth of his talent was a revelation. As well as being a Hip Hop aficionado, Michael is a highly-skilled, time-served graphic designer, DTP specialist and printer. What’s more, he comes to horology with an insatiable hunger for knowledge. And the priceless gift of fresh eyes on the world we love. To say we were intrigued to see where the Uchi brand was heading, and how we could collaborate, is a huge understatement. We’re proud to play our part in bringing Michael’s talent to a new audience of watch fans. You’re in for a treat…
He's also got a pretty good taste in watches... and straps!
An exciting, fresh enthusiasm for watches
You can’t rush inspired design. Now, after a typically thoughtful gestation period, we’re delighted to see the results of Michael’s creativity and what they portend for the future. It really has been worth the wait to see Uchi Horology Collection’s launch products. They complement what we do perfectly. We can’t wait to show his prints off on Instagram and rock his horological t-shirts during our YouTube videos.
Michael’s in deep; he doesn’t know it yet, but we’re hoping he’ll also agree to write occasional guest commentaries on design and typography in the watch industry – for instance, we’d love to read his take on Baselworld…
Shared business and creative philosophies
When we first met Michael, we were drawn to his fresh enthusiasm for watches and the unjaded eye of a relative newcomer to watch ownership. He shares our ethical and creative approaches too.
Geckota grew from our founder’s passion to source and supply watchstraps at a price point and quality level that wasn’t available at the time. Similarly, Uchi grew from Michael’s desire to express certain ideas and feelings that inspire him – and share them with his worldwide customers. As ‘Mr Uchi’ says, ‘Both brands are about authenticity – never parody.’
Uchi Clothing shares our genuine and heartfelt commitment to original design, artistic integrity, authenticity, value, quality and respect for what inspires us. And, of course – so important in horology – there’s got to be an interesting story behind what we do.
One of the classic racing chronographs
Take a classic watch such as Heuer’s ‘Steve McQueen Monaco’, the inspiration for the first products in the Uchi Horology Series.
The iconic racing chronograph works at several different levels. Firstly, and without exploring any deeper, it’s a lovely luxury watch. Actually, it’s one of the classic racing chronographs, up there with the Rolex Daytona and Omega Speedmaster. Secondly, it comes with a great story, not least, how it came to be associated with Steve McQueen and 1970’s classic motor racing movie, Le Mans. You don’t have to go down the ever-lengthening rabbit hole of the Monaco-Steve McQueen-Le Mans-Porsche backstory to adore the Calibre-11-powered Monaco. But if you do, you’re guaranteed a rich, rewarding adventure at the meeting point of 1970s horology, motorsport and popular culture. That’s what we love about the first addition to the Uchi Horology Collection. And why we’re proud to be associated with a talent who so confidently addresses the challenge of such an iconic watch. We like! And so, we’re sure, you will.
Uniquely combining a creative and technical ability
A Google search reveals several watch art print suppliers. There are beautifully rendered reproductions of the classics. And then there are the more abstract renderings on horological themes. What we particularly like about Michael’s work is how he combines technical capability with creativity, and the ability to capture the essence of watches’ stories. Long before we were introduced to him, Michael was demonstrating this ability to intelligently interpret ideas, emotions and often-hard-to-define socio-cultural concepts. He’d done it with celebrations of Hip Hop culture, ideas such as his popular ‘Weapons of Mass Instruction’. And intelligent new treatments of scientific themes such as the periodic table of elements and Pi.
Artworks at different levels
Now he’s doing the same with watches, Michael’s not just reproducing their image, but capturing their soul and associated stories with his fluent, instinctive, supremely talented command of design, printing and typography. His Uchi Horology Series is timepiece art that, like Heuer’s classic Monaco, works at several levels. It’s simultaneously stunning graphic design and a detailed conversation piece that invites discussion. And then it’s a respectful celebration of horology, and a novel motorsport souvenir...
Take a look and see what we mean. And why, now Michael’s on a creative roll, we’re so excited about what he brings to the watch world that we all love.
Immersed in Hip Hop culture
‘I grew up immersed in Hip Hop, but always believed that the culture is about more than just “rap, dance and graffiti”. So, alongside a career in design, printing, photography and typography, I created and nurtured a brand that respectfully demonstrates an intelligent, deeper cultural understanding.
That was how Uchi Clothing began in the 1990s. Since then, it’s evolved into a speciality brick and mortar, and online, retail business in Bristol. It’s also about limited edition screen prints and luxury homewares inspired by lifestyles, sciences and art. And now, with a little encouragement from Geckota, it’s about the measurement of time.’
Taking Uchi into horology
‘For several years, I’d tried to figure out how to take Uchi into horology. Meeting Geckota, like the first movement that brings an automatic watch to life, or the flag dropping at the start of the Le Mans 24 Hours, was the inspiration that I needed. I knew what I could do, based on what I’d done in the past, but I didn’t know for sure exactly how I’d do it in the future. Now I do!’
Michael’s collaboration with Geckota and appointment as one of our brand ambassadors marks the start of a new, exciting phase for Uchi Clothing. Who knows where the collaboration will lead (’I’d love to design an Uchi watch one day, maybe in collaboration with Geckota,’ says Michael)?
Based on Uchi’s track record, and after seeing their first Horological creations, it’ll be a very exciting place.
Share this post
Time To Unwind Podcast Season 2, Ep #1 - The Changing Industry ft. WatchItAllAbout
How the watch industry and community has had to change and adapt with the growth of social media and the challenge of a Covid climate...