I have a love of watches because they are one of the original single-function devices of the 20th century. Before tech giants came in and offered 200 different functions on your wrist, a watch was a simply accessory that served one function: time-keeping. Slowly, some wristwatches started offering a date-display, dual time zones, and 60 second timers on the front dial. And today, there are millions of different clock options, but my favourite UX still remains the circular 12-hour analog dial. I can’t seem to quite visualise time as effectively on a digital clock because it’s one thing to read 12:40 and another to see the two moving hands that make a pie slice (clearly displaying a third of an hour until 1 PM).
I have 2 fundamental beliefs when it comes to watches:
- It must FUNCTIONALLY display the time in a readable manner (not just be a fashion accessory)
- A watch should look and function like a CLOCK.
AKA. a watch should enable you to arrive on-time and time manage your day (function) before (form) it looks stylish.
After ranting about function, let me move on to say: I love the design of watches.
In the last 4 years, I’ve been investing in my (slight) watch obsession and though I’d share some of my favourite designs/makers for my personal taste.
Mondaine is the official Swiss Railway watch, so you will see that exact clock interface if you take a train in Switzerland! It’s got a classic strong colour combination: red, white, and black. And for anyone who’s a typography-lover, their new collection Mondaine Helvetica is absolutely gorgeous.
This was my first and only attempt at a wearable device. The obvious reason I went for this design over others on the market was the analog-styled dial. (This was one of the first on the marketplace and since then there have been more analog-dial wearables.) The wearable also measured your daily steps and synced with my iPhone. Plus, it measured swimming activity and had a battery life of over 6 months without ever charging.
3. Shore Project #3 – Newquay
Shore Projects is an independent British watch manufacture. Having lived in the UK for over 4 years now, I felt some sense of loyalty to try a British brand. Plus, I love their branding (the packaging had a complete brand identity) and the idea of watches designed as limited-time ‘projects.’ This was also my first watch with brown leather (oh the adventurousness!)
My latest discover (Thanks to Wired Magazine!) was Eone Time – most likely my next purchase. Besides their clever logo and interesting dial interface, the watch is designed in Braille-style, allowing blind individuals to feel what time it is.
“Because telling time shouldn’t require sight.” – inspired by Gold Paralympics Medalist Brad Snyder
5. Skagen – This Danish brand has been taking off in the last 6-months as I keep noticing more and more Skagen watches around my office. They have a great mixture of timeless and modern design principles and my favourite from their current collection is: Hagen Steel Bracelet and Anita Crystal Steel Mesh.
Honourable Mention: And also, have a look at Daniel Wellington for ‘prepy-style’ and classic watches. It draws influence from British Isles, but is a Swedish watch brand. Amazingly, the first DW watch was sold in 2011 – but it’s now found around the world as a symbol of style and simplicity.
I’ve decided that if I win the lottery… I’m going to retire and become a watch-designer. Happy Sunday @11:54 AM.