54-second watch acts as symbol of time stolen from LGBTQ+ community


In life, time is considered to be our greatest asset. However, for a member of the LGBTQ+ community, “time” is often cut short due to unsolicited violence—physical, psychological, institutional, medical or economic.

To help bring awareness to the cause, on May 17, 2022, Fondation Émergence and advertising agency Havas Montreal launched a campaign to highlight the injustice that has claimed so many victims in the LGBTQ+ community.

The statistics driving the campaign are eye-catching in all the wrong ways. In 2017, the United States experienced an 86% increase in murders committed against members of the LGBTQ+ community. In addition, due to harassment and violence, young LGBTQ+ members are four times more likely to attempt suicide than young heterosexuals and between January 1, 2008 and September 30, 2021, more than 4,000 transexuals were murdered worldwide.

As a symbol for the purpose-driven campaign, Havas commissioned Switzerland’s Haute École d’Horlogerie Arc to create a never-seen-before time piece: a 54-second watch. The custom-made watch illustrates that time does not elapse the same way for all individuals.

Why 54 seconds? – The six-second reduction represents time stolen from members of the LGBTQ+ community, one second for each of the six colors represented on the PRIDE flag. Watch below (Warning the images could be triggering):

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“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.

“Our goal was to create a meaningful object that reminded people every second counts, especially when it comes to being an ally,” add copywriters Vanessa Harbec and Olivier Goulet-Lafond. “It’s a watch that maybe doesn’t tell the right time, but tells us the time is right to act.” 

While May 17 is currently recognized as the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia in more than 130 countries, including 37 where same-sex acts are illegal, this campaign is designed to drive change and encourage the United Nations (via public petition) into designating May 17 as an official, internationally recognized day of awareness; International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.

The digital version of the 54-second watch will be available as a smartwatch face from Google Play on May 17, 2022. The entire campaign will be available in video, digital, print and radio and translated into over 20 languages.

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