Finding inspiration in time 16 Sep 2005

41 comments Latest by thomas Piccirillo

I’ve always looked to watch design for inspiration. All watches basically do the same thing in roughly the same amout of space, yet there are so many different ways to do it. I find that inspiring. Whenever I come across a watch I find interesting I add it to my Design inspiration: watches page. I figured I’d share it in the hopes others may be inspired as well. Got any others I should add?

41 comments so far (Jump to latest)

DaleV 16 Sep 05

I have a collection of about 80 Swatches I have accumulated over the years . . I am always intruiged by the different moods and designs the artists have been able to give these watches, especially considering that nearly all of them have the ‘limitation’ of working within the exact same size and shape.

Makes for some very creative solutions.

ichigo 16 Sep 05

you should have included these apple think different watches in your backpack page.


Dr_God 16 Sep 05

I share you fetish for watches (even though I don’t wear one) but doesn’t your “watch design” theory basically apply to…well…most everything?

“All ________ basically do the same thing in roughly the same about of space” can be said about phones, computer monitors, refrigerators, clothes, cars, etc.

I do agree that watches seem to have a wider range of design than most things though.

Steve 16 Sep 05

JF, do you have a URL for the Orbit watch? It is damn cool but I can’t find any information about it.

Mark 16 Sep 05

Nice collection, though I’ll second a request for URLs for all of the watches…

…and submit an addition of (even though I’ve never worn one) Nixon Watches. Some are a bit OTT but others are really innovative (pretty sure it’s mostly original ideas too)…

…also whereas some Watch brand websites were hit by the same ugly stick a lot of the high-end car brands were, Nixon’s seems pretty slick/minimal to me.

Good Examples:
Rotolog leather (very different though possibly not practical)

The Connect (common concept, brilliant execution, I’ve never seen an LCD display like that before (check the close-ups out) and yet it’s so obvious in retrospect

Peter Cooper 16 Sep 05

All they need to make is a watch that’s just a small color TFT with a backlight that comes on only when you touch the watch anywhere. Get it ultra low power, but perhaps make it pluggable into USB for recharging and to put text files and appointments on.

That way, you can run it as an analog watch, a digital watch, with a wallpaper, with any face whatsoever, any time system whatsoever.. all from the one watch.

Does this exist?

Christopher 16 Sep 05

Jason — love you list. Any idea where the “Orbit” watch came from? Did some searches online and can’t find that model…


8500 16 Sep 05

Strange - I actually own 2 of those watches (the Orbit and the Pierro Lissoni with the red second hand). Both were given as gifts and even though I don’t wear a watch, I love them. A nice use of backpack too.

JF 16 Sep 05

Just added a bunch of Nixon watches. Those are beautiful.

The Moma store has the Orbit and Zoo watch.

JF 16 Sep 05

Pierro Lissoni is my one of my favorite furniture designers and I was pleased to see he’s designing watches now as well.

JF 16 Sep 05

Wow, I want that MIH. Anyone know where to get it in the States?

Hartvig 16 Sep 05

I love the Ikepod watches by Marc Newson. The nice about physical designs is that its about the feeling of the materials as well and the ikepods are a feeling of future quality materials…

S 16 Sep 05

Here’s a great article about the MIH watch:

Dominic Damian 16 Sep 05

In addition to the Nixon watches. I’ve been really liking the new Ammon watches. They’re a relatively new brand from what I know, but they have awesome products. (

JonB 16 Sep 05

I have a version of the Pierro Lissoni watch in the top-right of the page. Mine is made by Alessi and has a stainless steel strap. Very usable, comfortable and elegant (in a manly-type way…)

Bob Aman 16 Sep 05

I’ll be honest. My biggest problem with design has always been trying to balance the need for aesthetic vs. functionality. Within the realms of website design, I tend to let aesthetics win. But with watches, I worry about functionality first. Which I why I’m wearing this crazy-ass Timex Ironman GPS/Heartrate Monitor/God-only-knows-what-else watch…

MJ 16 Sep 05

I like the “less is more” approach of these single-hand MeisterSinger watches. A minute hand just gets in the way…

"D" 16 Sep 05

You might consider some of the classic designs by both FRANCK MULLER and ROGER DUBUIS-

Brian 16 Sep 05


Oooooh…. Click and drag the pages of that “book” to turn the pages.

Brian 16 Sep 05

Those people looking for the “Orbit” watch can find it at: (the text on the face of the watch actually says ab art, not abort as I first thought).

I want one of those MIH watches so much, it’s painful. 5000 CHF is more painful though!

adam 16 Sep 05

i’ve always loved the Cartier Santos. Got one as a graduation present, but had to sell it for rent between jobs…

Andy 16 Sep 05

There is only one watch to have - once it becomes available:

Made by Seiko, based on eInk. Very, very cool.

Ray 16 Sep 05

About 10-12 years ago, Swatch made a line of 24-hour watches, where the face showed 24 hours, instead of 12. It was a great concept, except that the top number was 24 (where the 12 is on a regular watch face), and 12 was at the bottom (where 6 usually is). It meant that at noon, the hour hand pointed down (when the sun is at the zenith!) and at midnight, the hour hand pointed up (hey, the sun is below your feet on the other side of the world).

It would have been excellent and intuitive if 24 had been at the bottom. That would have meant that the top half of the watch face (hours 6 to 18) represented the day, and the bottom half the night.

Al Chang 17 Sep 05

Sometime around 8-10 years ago in a design magazine, like HOW or Communcation Arts or maybe something slightly less mainstream, printed a wonderful two-page spread of the deconstruction of the face of a super high-end watch. It documented the specific attention to detail which went into the design. It was beautiful, noting each non-obvious tweak in spacing, proportion, layout, etc.. necessary in creating the balanced look of the whole. Great to showing a guy off the street all the work that goes into making the clean and obvious.

I lost track of it in my collection of magazine articles 5-6 years ago and I’ve been wanting if back ever since. If anyone knows what I’m babbling about and can send me a pointer to it, I would be most grateful.

ericnova 17 Sep 05

Beautiful simplicity in the Dimension Clock of Hans Donner

scosan 17 Sep 05

The Deloarean Watch is pretty sweet.

anne marie 21 Sep 05

I think you’re missing a girls point of view here…. check out the Scandinavian designs of Axcent at

I love the Frost line.

thomas Piccirillo 22 Feb 06

I have a time piece that does not use hands, numbers or letters. It is called an Iconochron. I am seeking investment capital to get this unique and modern time piece manufactured. Ihave filed a patent and need to take this to the next level. Please email me if interested.