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Over a year ago now I started out with the idea of designing a watch. On the face of it the basic premise is easy enough, but the further you go along, the more you realise how many factors you have to account for, not least the specifics of which movement will be used. Quartz or mechanical, Chinese, Japanese, or Swiss.
What became apparent pretty quickly was how insanely expensive it is to make a watch. The costs are either astronomical for mass production, or insanely high for low quantity production. The latter does have the benefit of needing less capital from the outset at least.
I knew roughly what I wanted when I did the initial design concept. This rough drawing features the design cues that will remain throughout the development process.
As I worked on the design, I gradually came to realise an easy pitfall of digital design, in as much as when working on virtual components, it’s easy to loose focus on scale. The side retainers which hold the strap bars in place are impossibly small. Ultimately this will lead to the design changing from the sleek slimline design to a much more rugged and masculine item.
This was the first shaded render, and really did hit home the scale issue. As the design evolved, the main case shape would prevail, and the strap bars too, but everything else would have to change to be viable for manufacture. It’s fair to say that when I drew up my initial design, I was overly confident that I had cracked it on the first try. Oh dear!
The first and biggest change was the strap bar retainers. To be machinable they needed to be much much bigger, and the also had to be secured with top and bottom fasteners, not screwed in from the side as I had originally envisaged.
The “Final” Design
After a great deal of tweaking, adjusting, and noodling, this is the design as it stands, and in all likelihood it is not going to change much more. As can be seen, the design now features a prominent crown guard, along with totally redesigned hands, replacing the IWC type hands. The cheesehead screws have given way to slightly more pleasing Torx fasteners.
I will soon detail more the construction of the watch, in respect of the movement which will be used, and the manufacture costs for a limited run product.