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An old watch gets a makeover orchestrated by John Mayer

It’s not uncommon to see clocks or hourglasses alongside snails, skeletons, scarecrows and other images. Ceramics online T-shirts. The brand’s founders, Elijah Funk and Alix Ross, said the passage of time is a theme they’ve explored since they began creating clothing several years ago in Los Angeles.

“We talk a lot about time,” Mr. Funk said. “Like the past and the present, rebirth, the speed of life.”

This interest did not extend much to watches until recently. Mr. Funk, 34, remembering a watch worn by his uncle, said he considered watches a marker of elegance. Mr. Ross, 33, said the only watch he had actually used was a Timex that he wore while working for the Maine Conservation Corps after college.

The men said they were drawn further into the world of watchmaking by musician John Mayer, a renowned watch collector and a sort of ambassador for Hodinkee, a watch website and retailer. He recently contacted the founders of Online Ceramics to design their first watch: a limited edition version of the Casio G-Shocka style that has been adopted by all manner of wearers since its introduction by Casio in 1983.

Mr. Mayer, the lead guitarist of Dead and company — an offshoot of the Grateful Dead — has been a fan of Online Ceramics since Mr. Funk and Mr. Ross sent him T-shirts from their label after he started playing with the band.

“John talked to me a lot about watches,” Mr. Funk said, “knowing that I have no idea what he’s talking about.”

Mr. Funk said Mr. Mayer, who is also an investor in Hodinkee, taught him about various watches. “And he showed me the strangest ones he has,” he said.

The Online Ceramics G-Shock 5600 ($185), just released by Hodinkee, has a design that incorporates many motifs from the brand’s obscure visual canon. “Online Ceramics” appears in an iconic looping script along the watch’s forest green strap, which also bears gnomic phrases including “Mushroom House Haunted Wagon” and “Sun Watch, Moon Time.” There is a little snail on its face and its screen also includes a backlight. When activated, another phrase lights up: “Love grows in the sun.”

Ben Clymer, the founder of Hodinkee, described the watch as cool and strange. “Online Ceramics has, so to speak, understood the mission,” he said.

Mr. Funk said that when he and Mr. Ross design clothes, “it’s often about trying to find these little clever or existential phrases.” Making the watch, he said, “was a little more like making it cool.”

“We make so many T-shirts,” he said, “that when the opportunity to create something that’s not a T-shirt comes along, it’s really liberating.”

The Online Ceramics makeover of the G-Shock comes as the watch celebrates 40 years on the market. In September, Rizzoli released an art book, “G-Shock,” to commemorate the milestone.

Its author, Ariel Adams, said the G-Shock has always been more of a workhorse than a showpiece. Mr Adams said the watch found an early audience among athletes and snowboarders, who helped popularize it among young people. As the watch’s popularity grew, brands like Maison Margiela, Stüssy and Bape created versions that helped make it trendy.

Mr Ross said he hoped the G-Shock’s reputation would help Online Ceramics grow its fan base.

“I feel like we’re going to be talking to a new consumer or whatever,” he said. “Whenever we have opportunities like this, I feel like my head starts spinning with ideas. We’re really interested in ways people can interact with us that aren’t usually from our world.

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