It’s not uncommon to see clocks or hourglasses alongside the snails, skeletons, scarecrows and other imagery on Online Ceramics T-shirts. The label’s founders, Elijah Funk and Alix Ross, said the passage of time has been a theme they’ve explored since they started designing clothing several years ago in Los Angeles.
“We talk a lot about time,” Mr. Funk said. “Like past and present, rebirth, the quickness of life.”
That interest didn’t stretch much to watches, until recently. Mr. Funk, 34, recalling one worn by his uncle, said he had seen watches as a marker of elegance. Mr. Ross, 33, said the only watch he has ever really used was a Timex he wore while working for the Maine Conservation Corps after college.
The men said they were pulled further into the world of horology by the musician John Mayer, a noted watch collector and an ambassador of sorts for Hodinkee, a watch website and retailer. He recently approached the Online Ceramics founders to design their first watch: a limited-edition version of the G-Shock by Casio, a style that has been embraced by all sorts of wearers since it was introduced by Casio in 1983.
Mr. Mayer, the lead guitarist for Dead & Company — a Grateful Dead offshoot — has been a fan of Online Ceramics since Mr. Funk and Mr. Ross sent him some T-shirts from their label after he started playing with the band.
“John has talked to me quite a bit about watches,” Mr. Funk said, “with the knowledge that I have no idea what he’s talking about.”
Mr. Funk said Mr. Mayer, who is also an investor in Hodinkee, had taught him about various timepieces. “And he’s shown me the more peculiar ones he owns,” he said.
The Online Ceramics G-Shock 5600 ($185), just released by Hodinkee, has a design that incorporates many motifs from the label’s arcane visual canon. “Online Ceramics” appears in a signature loopy 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 small snail on its face, and its display also includes a backlight. When it is activated, another phrase glows: “Love Grows in the Sunshine.”
Ben Clymer, the founder of Hodinkee, described the watch as fresh and weird. “Online Ceramics understood the assignment, so to speak,” he said.
Mr. Funk said that when he and Mr. Ross design clothes, “it’s often about trying to find these little phrases that are clever or existential.” Making the watch, he said, “was a little bit more like, let’s just make this look cool.”
“We make so many T-shirts,” he said, “that when the opportunity to make something that’s not a T-shirt comes up, 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 published 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 in athletes and skateboarders, who helped popularize it among young people. As the watch’s profile grew, brands like Maison Margiela, Stüssy and Bape made versions that helped make it trendy.
Mr. Ross said he hopes the G-Shock’s reputation will help Online Ceramics grow its fans.
“I feel like we’re going to be talking to a new consumer or whatever,” he said. “Whenever we get opportunities like that, I feel like my head just starts, like, spinning with ideas. We get really interested in the ways that people can engage with us, that aren’t typically from our world.”