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Time travel

Today, the practice of collecting information and attempting to spot a pattern or a trend in modern watch design will irresistibly lead you to one consensus: aesthetic appeal over functionality…

The 3012 Series by Finnish designer Mats Lönngren for Hygge

The 3012 Series by Finnish designer Mats Lönngren for Hygge tells time using two rotating disks instead of traditional hands. The two disks are layered on top of each other. The bottom larger disk indicates the hours and the smaller top disk marks the minutes. The disks are different colours to allow the wearer to distinguish between the hours and minutes. 

Lönngren designed the watch with quality and simplicity in mind. Each disk features a small triangular arrow extruding from the edge to tell the time. The crown sits flush with the case allowing it to be pulled out only when necessary.

The watch has a rubber strap and a stainless steel case that has been sand blasted to create a matte finish. There are three colours available: white and orange, black and orange and white and grey.

Déjà Vu by Denis Guidone

The watch appears to feature two traditional watch hands that leave behind a trail of colour as time passes. However, on further inspection these sweeps of colour are simply graphics used to mark the hours and minutes. The graphics are printed on two disks layered on top of each other. The top disk is transparent.

Déjà Vu comes in three colours: blue, white and yellow. It has a soft rubber strap that attaches to the lugs of the watch face. The watchcase is made of IP plated black stainless steel.

The minimal Gravity by Ziiiro.

The minimal Gravity watch is the first design by new Hong Kong watch brand Ziiiro.

Without typical hands or markings, the Gravity watch uses two rings that resemble rotating comets to indicate the time. The fatter, inner ring marks the hours while the narrower outer ring shows the minutes.

The rubber strap does not have a fastener but instead wraps around the wearer’s wrist. It can be made tighter or looser by bending the strap’s stainless steel core.The face can be removed and interchanged with any of the silicone straps in Ziiiro’s range.

Gravity comes in a range of colours


Indeed, the 19th century in watchmaking industry was driven by luxury and beauty. That trend was reflected in the dials that became canvas for leisurely hands of the masters to turn them into works of art.

Later, the industrial 20th century opened the door to the need for functionality and practicality into daily life. Thanks to that need, watchmaking started gradually to replace carefulness and beauty of design by the noble art of paying attention to details in the conception and crafting, in order to a focus on sophistication and technicality. For instance, watches with digital numbers are a great outcome of this momentum.

The following 21st century is an era of speed and cross-cultural understanding by using technology and communication as the key drivers of lifestyle. In addition, in this century, the ” artistic experience” forms a special relationship to different types of art by engaging uniqueness and individualism in style through various combinations. That trend has been spread out in literature, architecture, fashion, and of course, no exception for the watchmaking industry. At some point, it becomes more difficult to invent new things, and the new generation of watchmakers and designers need to sort out the left cultural “heritage” to be able to deliver something in a new way, or to mix various components of eras and cultures in a creative way. As a result, design experiences of previous eras are so rich that in the light of modern technology, we react as if we had been deprived of comfort and tranquility, making a constant race to have more and more… From this attitude towards life, modern designers are inspired and then create with the basic needs to live with no surplus: the idea of simplification has risen. In the foreground, architecture, interior design, fashion and other applied arts have taken the bet to drop everything unnecessary as suggested in the Japanese Zen philosophy to focus on the essence.

That being said, the details become irrelevant, design becomes purely minimalistic and futuristic oriented. Actually, is more than a trend it’s a lifestyle.

Minimalistic aesthetic design

“Minimalism describes movements in various forms of art and design, especially visual art and music, where the work is set out to expose the essence or identity of a subject through eliminating all non-essential forms, features or concepts. Minimalism is any design or style in which the simplest and fewest elements are used to create the maximum effect.”

Futuristic aesthetic design

Futuristic design derives from an artistic and social movement that originated in Italy in the early 20th century. It emphasized and glorified themes associated with contemporary concepts of the future, including speed, technology, youth and violence, and objects such as the car, the airplane and the industrial city. The Futurists practiced in every medium of art, including painting, sculpture, ceramics, graphic design, industrial design, interior design, urban design, theatre, film, fashion, textiles, literature, music, architecture and even gastronomy.

Today in 2013, the modern design of watches without hands is the reflection of that trend to hallow the “minimalistic” and “futuristic” aesthetic design in watchmaking industry such as the three displayed wonders: The 3012 Series by Finnish designer Mats Lönngren for Hygge, the Déjà Vu by Denis Guidone and the minimal Gravity by Ziiiro.

Watches without numbers and hands open up a whole new range of design because they express a great freedom and personality. This is what is at stake in the modern “horlogerie”: to cope with a minimalist and futuristic designing style to reinvent an humble watch. As a matter of fact, this is the only way to make those modern watches wearable and functional for the daily life. In truth, a modern watch is more than a device to tell you what time is it, it is a small piece of art to tell who you are. However from now on, it is also a statement to declare: I’m a Zen like person grounded in the new millennium.

In 2013, this is the new look of reinterpreting novelty in modern watches design.

Sanza Bulaya