I don’t know about you, but I’m finding the “analog clock=luxury” thing a bit played out. One upon a time, the old-school interior clock was everywhere… and folks called it a modern convenience. Then it became a genteel, slightly throwback Maserati hallmark. Then it became a symbol of Infiniti’s admiration for Maseratis, and its desire to stand apart in the luxury market. Then Chryslers started adding clocks as it moved, unconvincingly, to position itself upmarket. Now? Now the interior chronograph just seem to be a symbol of trying to hard to appear luxurious without really offering anything unique, distinctive, or innovative. Which is why I’m a bit concerned that an early shot of the new Lexus GS, a car that has years of underachievement in a crucial segment to make up for, seems to show that Lexus has succumbed to the siren call of the dashboard clock.
To the best of my knowledge, Lexus has never indulged in an analog dash clock before (at least in the US market), as its interiors have always been modern and purposeful, emphasizing function over frippery. This isn’t a question of “ruining” the car itself… few customers are likely to put as much emphasis on an analog clock as I do. But in this small step I do see signs of a brand drifting away from its pioneering roots and towards the directionless malaise that inevitably leads to fad-chasing, and style over substance. Even if Lexus does need to reinvigorate its aesthetic DNA, ripping of the cheesiest “Luxury: I Has It” signifier in the interior design playbook ain’t a promising start. Don’t clock up a good thing, Lexus!