A watch should be able to do one thing above all: look good. Sure, the technical side can interest many, and some require a familiar name on the dial, however the design remains the decisive reason for purchasing.
Often, the item‘s design is simply based on the specifications of a certain type of watch, such as rotating bezels for diving watches, or simple dials for dress watches. But there are also models whose aesthetics can go beyond usual wristwatches, or ones that visually “merge” with other objects. We present three such watches.
When it comes to a clock that is used by a large proportion of people in everyday life, it is impossible to overlook ones found in train stations. One wristwatch that hearkens back to the design of Swiss railway station clocks, is the Mondaine. In 1944 the original Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) station clock was developed by Hans Hilfiker.
This is known due to the fact that its second hand stops 1.5 seconds before each minute change. This is related to the synchronicity of all Swiss station clocks: all Swiss station clocks receive a time pulse from the main clock in the Zurich signal box through a telephone line. Since the second hand always waits briefly at the minute change until it jumps to the next round with the pulse, this results in the short pause found in the second hand.
In 1986, the Bernheim brothers, owners of the Mondaine clock company, produced a redesign of the SBB station clock. After reaching an agreement with the Swiss Federal Railways for the necessary distribution licenses, the station clock was finally released as a watch for the public to wear on their wrist.
The design was subsequently so successful that the wristwatch found its way into the London Design Museum and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The aforementioned well known minute change of the train station clocks was finally realized in 2013, with the introduction of the stop2go models for the wristwatch. With this update, the watch further embodies the spirit of the original Swiss station clock.
More information about this cult watch can be found on the manufacturer’s website.
With its clean design inspired by the teachings of Bauhaus, the Junghans Max Bill should be known to most people. But was there actually a kind of blueprint for this classic?
In the 1950s, the Schramberg-based company Junghans required an artist to design everyday objects, such as kitchen clocks. In the end they decided on Max Bill. Born in 1908, the product designer had studied at the Bauhaus in Dessau and later founded the Hochschule für Gestaltung in Ulm.
In collaboration with his students, Max Bill thus developed the first kitchen clock design for Junghans. With this, Bill implemented a design that adhered to the teachings of the Bauhaus: it was to be designed in such a way that it could optimally fulfil its function.
Above all, the clock had to be perfectly readable. For this purpose, the minutes were marked with clearly separated bars. Longer bars stand for the hours, which are additionally marked with Arabic numerals. The aesthetic is completed with simple hands, which also express the high functionality of the watch. The typography of the numbers with the significant “4” also strictly follows this design philosophy.
This dial now serves as the starting point for other watches in the Max Bill range, designed from 1962 onwards, and have remained true to the specifications of the initial kitchen clock design to this very day. Thus, they stand for a purist watch design, and are seen as the figurehead of the Junghans watch factory. In our online shop, we have a large selection of these watch classics available.
The following watch was not only inspired by an everyday object, it immediately merged with it, or rather entered into a symbiosis. If you have a weakness for coins as well as for watches, this item enables you to kill two birds with one stone.
The watch manufacturer Corum had previously created the first coin watch collection with an American coin in 1964. Interestingly, the manufacturing process of these unique watches has changed very little since then.
The coin is first split in the middle, and the front side is used for the dial whereas the reverse side is used for the case back. The ultra-thin movement is then sealed between the sides. A real, $20 double eagle gold coin, is used. This model has been worn by numerous US presidents and celebrities, including Nobel Prize winners.
More design icons (and those who want to become one) can be found here.