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This is The Eleventh Hour, a new series dedicated to spotlighting graduating talent across the globe from different fields spanning art, design, architecture, engineering and of course, watchmaking. Notionally, the timely adage references the very last moment where an idea finally comes into fruition; the finale of the creative process. Getting to know the intricacies of their craft, in this edition we speak with the University of Dundee graduate, Cristina Antequera on the detrimental impact of screen time on productivity and why adapting the role of timepieces is paramount in making time mean more. 

How much time do you spend on your phone every day? In fact, you don’t even have to guess anymore as the iPhone provides you with this data with daily screen time reports that make you shudder when you actually realise your phone is effectively your extended organ. Our phones have assumed a role to make our lives easier; everything can be resolved or documented in an app and while the onus is on efficiency, our sense of time is stilted by looking down, rather than what’s around us. 

For the graphic design graduate, Cristina Antequera, the portable devices we remain so attached to have usurped the role of how we tell time. Instead of flicking your wrist, we tap a screen. But more often than not, it’s never just one touch as the impulse to explore is overwhelming. Through Antequera’s graduate project, separating the ability to record the time would lead to further productivity in our day-to-day lives. Speaking to The Next Hour, the Spanish creative examines the detrimental impact of screen time and how the return to traditional timepieces can help benefit our mental wellbeing. 

The Next Hour: Hi Cristina. Can you start by telling us about what piqued your interest in graphic design?

Cristina Antequera: I never had a clear idea of what I wanted to do when I grew up. I’m 21 and from a coastal town in Spain and it wasn’t until I started to select my own subjects in high school that I paid attention to my artistic side. I’ve always had an eye for design and so far, it seems to have been a great decisionI love problem solving and having in my hands the possibility to make ideas come alive, whether it’s through branding, motion, editorial design. 

TNH: So when it comes to problem solving, what drew your attention to the notion of time and how people use their phones to navigate it? Why do you think that’s important in today’s society and something that needs to be discussed? 

CA: My Fossil Focus Project was a response to this year’s New Blood D&AD brief set by Fossil. The brief asked how to help 18–24 year olds make time with Fossil and questioned why wear a watch when you can just check the time on your phone. The thing is, checking the time on your phone often leads to procrastinatory phone use which is especially common within young people. This results in feeling guilty, less productive and wasting time. Fossil Focus encourages people to wear a Fossil watch and use the tin to lock their phones away, avoiding distractions when they are completing an activity. As a reward, Fossil will award them with points to redeem, the longer they can concentrate without checking their phones the more points they get. This concept idea aims to support young generations and what they’re passionate about, helping and encouraging them to achieve. Overall, I think it’s important to remind people that not long ago we managed perfectly without phones, so if you feel that your phone is getting in the way of your goals try to change that. Maybe the first step is to start checking the time on your good old watch.

TNH: How did you go about turning this idea into a physical entity?

CA: The topic of time immediately made me think about procrastination and how dependent we have become on our phones which can sometimes be the culprits of these behaviors. During the pandemic, due to self-isolation, problematic phone use became especially true, and I thought that many people would feel identified with the idea of wanting to do a lot of things but feeling as if you just don’t have enough time. 

I wanted to discourage bad phone habits and, as I knew about phone lockers, I came up with the idea of reinventing the infamous Fossil tins to serve this purpose. I then thought about the rewards app and how it would work alongside the tin. I started visualizing my ideas by filming, using Photoshop, After Effects etc. and adding new details until I was satisfied with the project as a whole.

TNH: The Eleventh Hour notionally means the very last moment. Can you describe how you were feeling during this  time and if you decided to make any changes? 

CA: Surprisingly, I was calm and had everything fully prepared for my submission, which unfortunately is not always the case! I spent a lot of time on this project, and I didn’t want to have to rush anything at the last minute. I managed my time effectively and could think things through logically. Thanks to this, I could minimize stress and produce an outcome which made sense with everything nicely tied together. I think you shouldn’t leave big decisions for the last minute because you won’t have time to think them over properly and execute them professionally, but it’s true that a little pressure can do wonders in getting you working.

TNH: What has been one of the most valuable lessons you’ve learnt from producing your own project? 

CA: I have learnt to manage my time effectively and plan ahead. For this project I had to film my own footage, find free stock videos, do motion work, editing, hire a voiceover artist… all this needs some planning so that everything can come together in time. You can’t get the voiceover until you write the script, and you can’t finish mounting the video until you match the voiceover with it… some elements depend on others, so you must be wary of this before it’s too late. 


TNH: Who would you say is one of the most influential icons of our time that has impacted your work? 

CA: I felt really inspired by Tim Urban’s TED talk on procrastination. I think it’s really eye opening and it gave me many ideas for potential paths my project could’ve taken. I was specially surprised by the life-calendar slide which shows one box for every week of a 90-year life (not as many boxes as I expected). I would encourage everyone to watch this video, it definitely is a wake-up call. 

TNH: In terms of finding that sense of fulfilment, can you talk us through how you navigate the timing of your creative process, and how long you spend on each  stage from the fruition of an idea to the final result? 

CA: Typically, I will start doing research on the topic and then narrowing my ideas down. Then I search for inspiration from other artists, create some mood boards and start defining the style I will adopt. Every choice is reasoned and thought through. I then start creating outcomes and incorporating new ideas whenever they fill like logical additions. The time spent on each step really depends on the project and how it flows. There’s always ups and downs, you may be feeling great about something and then get totally stuck and spend days trying to push it forward. 

CA: And finally, can you describe your project in one sentence?

TNH: Stop procrastinating and start achieving!

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Scarlett is a writer, editor, and creative consultant specializing in art, fashion, culture and digital strategy. Drawing on her work from previous titles including Dazed, LOVE Magazine, The Perfect Magazine, AnOther and 1 Granary, as the Editor-in-Chief of The Next Hour, Scarlett is leading the editorial vision toward new territories providing an alternative lens of social commentary to recontextualize the world of watchmaking for the next generation.