A watch designed in 1995

Whilst at the Gerrit Rietveld Akademie I got the assignment to design a watch for our Industrial Design class. The moment I got the task, my mind went onto a journey. What is time, what does it mean to me, how do I experience time were some of the more fundamental questions I asked. A large part of my journey was to understand the role of time in my life and to a larger extend, in our society.

I began to look around me and noted how so much is regulated either directly through time or indirectly. Directly as I needed to take the train and tram to reach my destination and therefor had to know the arrival and departure times. Indirectly as create time schedules ourselves. The most notable was my regular watching of “The Bold And Beautiful” which I did for another project of mine. The I realized how a television program schedule steers me to make certain choices.

The more I looked into this the more I found subtle and less subtle nudging of our life through external and internal schedules. This was fascinating but it steered me, as usual, away from the assignment: design a watch. All my fellow study colleagues were already way ahead of me and some must have been at the stage of an almost ready mock-up when I had to start to sketch.

But then it hit me, my time piece should be something that is as non-intrusive as I possibly can imagine. No numbers as I wanted to capture a rhythm rather than precisely telling “what time it is”. I wanted to get away from “it is time to watch…” while still allowing to see what time it is. I know, this sounds perhaps poetic or downright confusing but that was it basically it.

To make a long story short, I had a wonderful study about time and it’s role in our lives. The tangible object was very minimal compared to my fellow students but luckily our school was more about the concept than it was about slick products. Recently I found my tangible mock-up and I made a 3D sketch in SketchUp. My son Jasper worked on this watch in Blender. He has only just started with the first experiments.

A watch designed in 1995

One of the intermediate steps. This is a work in progress but it gives an idea at least