Jul 8, 2019

Jose Rizal, our unofficial national hero, is deeply embedded within our pop culture, from biopics to an actual Rizal-based religion. And whether you like it or not, his life and works are open season to the public. Case in point: An old college professor of mine was notorious for revealing the more, err, salacious details of Rizal’s private life.

Still, there’s a lot to Rizal that the public has no access to. For local watch company Ibarra Watches, named after Rizal’s protagonist-turned-antagonist, one of this is Rizal’s wristwatch—which Rizal’s descendants have tucked away from the general public.

A quick history lesson: During the 19th century, pocket watches were very much still the norm, with only women wearing wristwatches. It was only during the end of the century that men started wearing it, but that was limited to military men who needed to keep their hands free to arm themselves or control their vehicles. Rizal using a wristwatch as his constant timekeeping companion was pretty unusual. (Check out this forum incredulously figuring out what Rizal’s watch was if you want a light chuckle.)

In honor of Jose Rizal’s 158th birth anniversary, Ibarra launched their Heritage line with their Sucesos Mechanical Hand Wind watch as their flagship piece. Named after Rizal’s annotation of the Sucesos de Las Islas Filipinas, the Sucesos captures the 19th century Girard Perregaux aesthetic of Rizal’s dress watch (wire lugs, hinged double case back, “low-domed sapphire glass, and a clean enamel dial”), while implementing modern luxury watch technology (it uses a Swiss mechanical ETA movement).

The line is also Ibarra’s first entry into the global luxury market. Explaining why they chose to kick it off with an homage to Jose Rizal, founder Nico Moreno described Rizal as “the first global Filipino.”

Since Sucesos is a limited edition piece, there will only be 158 watches in production, again honouring Rizal’s birth anniversary. The watch is also made in support of the Order of the Knights of Rizal, which Moreno is a part of, specifically to boost their Jose Rizal Model Students of the Philippines Awards Program.

The watch is up for preorder until Aug. 31. To know more about it, you can check out Ibarra’s website.


Featured photo courtesy of Ibarra Watches

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