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The 54-second watch: A symbol of time stolen from LGBTQ+ persons

·4 min read

MONTREAL, May 17, 2022 /CNW/ -- Today is the International Day against homophobia and transphobia. For this occasion, the Fondation Émergence and advertising agency Havas Montréal, created at the Haute École d'Horlogerie Arc in Switzerland, a first of its kind: a 54-second watch, illustrating that time is different for everyone depending on your sexual orientation, identity or gender identification.

54-Second Watch
54-Second Watch

For sexual and gender minorities, intolerance still too often has tragic consequences. In 2017, an increase of 86% in homicides against members of the LGBTQ+ community was recorded in the U.S. Young lesbians, gays and bisexuals are 4 times more susceptible to attempt suicide than young heterosexuals—and between January 1st, 2008 and September 30th, 2021, 4,042 trans persons were murdered around the world.

Violence, whether physical, psychological, sexual, institutional, medical or economic reduces the life expectancy of LGBTQ+ persons. Available in video, poster, print, digital and in radio, this public awareness campaign created by Havas seeks to put a spotlight on fundamental injustice.

While many specialists judged this as an impossible task, the creation of this 54-second watch posed an impressive technical challenge that Swiss watchmaking engineer Melanie Guillaume couldn't resist. "When the team at Havas contacted me, I thought, what an intriguing idea and a great cause! But how am I ever going to be able to alter the measure of time? No one had ever willingly created a watch that doesn't tell the right time!"

With only 12 watches made, the 54-second watch highlights in a symbolic manner, the time stolen due to intolerance and violence towards LGBTQ+ persons. Why 54 seconds? 6 seconds less for every one of the colors of the pride flag.

"When minutes are only 54 seconds long, time goes faster, years are shorter and lives end far too early. As long as there is violence, we must continue to educate and raise awareness," says Laurent Breault, Director General of the Fondation Émergence.

"It was very important for us to create an object that could exist in the real world, explains Félix-Antoine Brunet, art director. We also wanted to create a digital version of the 54-second watch so that it would be easily accessible and people could demonstrate their support."

The digital version of the 54-second watch is available to be downloaded from Google Play app as of today.

"Our goal was to create a meaningful object that reminds us that every second counts, when it comes to supporting this cause. It's a watch that doesn't tell the right time, but it does tell us that the time is right to act," add copywriters Vanessa Harbec and Olivier Goulet-Lafond.

Translated into over 20 languages, it will be broadcast by organizations dedicated to the protection of LGBTQ+ persons in numerous countries around the world.

A petition to have May 17th officially recognized by the UN as the International Day against homophobia and transphobia will accompany the launch of the campaign. To add your support, simply visit:

Client: Fondation Émergence/International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia — Laurent Breault, Francis Viau, Carl Poulin, Sébastien Houle
Agency: Havas Montréal
Executive Creative Director: Carle Coppens
Creative Director: Carle Coppens
Art Director: Félix-Antoine Brunet, Preto Murara
Copywriters: Vanessa Harbec, Olivier Goulet-Lafond
Adaptation: Marcus Hildebrandt, English Department
Client Services: Charlotte Lafrance, Natacha Nasset
Digital Project Manager: Jean-Michel Rioux
Production: Anick Rozon, Brigitte Robillard
Strategic Planning: Stéphane Mailhiot
Web Development: Human
Digital Development: Vincent Nicopolsky
Graphic Design: Benjamin Trottier
3D Animation: Félix-Antoine Brunet

Mechanism Design: Mélanie Guillaume, adjunct scientist at Haute École Arc in Neuchâtel, Switzerland.
Watch assembly: Dominique Brouillet, watchmaker
Swiss Director: Sarah Adatte

Post-production and editing: Post430
Director: Nicolas Fransolet
Camera assistant: Arturo Fransolet
Gaffer: Nicola Tomasini

Offline Editor: Ludauvick Geoffroy
Online colorist and editor: Étienne Beaupré
Assistant Editor: Rosalie Bégin Nadeau
Post-Production Producer Post 430 : Isabelle Borduas
Post-Production Coordinator Post 430 : Annie-Kim Brais
Production Coordinator: Charlène Blanchette

Music/Sound Design: Tanguy Meunier, Circonflex
Public Relations: Tök Communications

A special thank you to all of our partners, locally and around the world, who collaborated on this project: Andrée Giraldeau, Anne-André Benoît, Bromar, Ève Bastien-Rouleau, Janie Lebel, Jérôme Couture, Johanne Pelland, Reliable Watch, Selco, Simon Provencher Allard, Tanina Drvar, Time Merchants

Havas Montréal Logo
Havas Montréal Logo

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