Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Denis Guidone Concept Timepieces - Ora Unica Scribble Watch Ora il Legale Daylight Savings Tilt clock & Other Prototype Designs

via Yanko Design;

Save yourself from the arduous task of setting time forwards or backwards at daylight savings with the concept clock "Ora ilLegale" designed by Denis Guidone.

It will eventually be produced by NAVA, and will be displayed at the upcoming Milan Design Week. The designer, Denis Guidone, has had one other concept posted on Yanko, a clock too, how about that!

"Denis Guidone was just selected as the winner of the international design competition Adamo Eva. His whimsical scribble watch design called “Ora Unica”, meaning One Hour, is a wonderful contrast of chaos and order mixed together. In their words, “The hour and minute hands are represented by a single line drawn on two circular faces, which turn one inside the other. Both faces together resemble a graphical gesture, a doodle that changes as time passes.”

Below, some new minimalist watch designs by Denis Guidone

via Yanko Design & Technabob

Denis Guidone Website

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Friday, April 10, 2009

Jaquet Droz Automaton 'La Machine à Ecrire le Temps' (The Machine that Writes the Time)

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Jaquet Droz 'La Machine à Ecrire le Temps' (The Machine that Writes the Time)
by Maximilian Büsser via MB&F's Parallel World

"Baselworld 2009 has just finished and, amongst the flurry of new horological creations, the timepiece that really impressed and amazed me wasn't a wristwatch at all, but an incredible horological machine in its own right.

Jaquet Droz's 'La Machine à Ecrire le Temps' - The Machine that Writes the Time.

Manuel Emch, president and head of artistic creation at Montres Jaquet Droz, has done a superb job in reinventing the brand over the last 8 years.

18th century automates from Jaquet Droz: the Draftsman, the Musician and the Writer

Jaquet Droz was one of the most celebrated creators of automatons in the past and in developing this modern time writing machine, they have created one of the most amazing "horological sculptures" to date, as well as added to the brand's rich heritage.

The project was the brainchild of Manuel Emch who had, amongst other objectives, the idea to create an automaton that relates to the 21st century. The result is as impressive as it is poetic. La Machine à Ecrire le Temps is an incredible blend of tradition, kinetic art, high-tech horology . . . and magic.

The development and construction of La Machine à Ecrire le Temps took the best part of a decade. It contains more than 1,200 components, including 84 ball bearings, 50 cams and 9 belts, and took thousands of hours to construct and regulate.

The masterpiece is housed in an unusual cage, whose aluminium frame is fitted with a liquid crystal glass, allowing the owner to mask or unveil the whole movement at will. A light touch activates the mechanism and a stylus writes the time in hours and minutes."

Some antique Jaquet Droz Automaton videos "The Writer" & "The Artist";

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Monday, April 6, 2009

Stepan Sarpaneva Presents Redesigned Gold Korona K3 Moonphase at Baselworld

SARPANEVA KORONA RG (rose gold) AND KORONA WG (white gold)

It was quite a while since the first Stepan Sarpaneva watch, the TIME TRAMP was created, using a pinion gear from a Harley Davidson motorcycle. At that time no one knew what the future would hold for watches created in Finland, certainly not for mechanical watches created with a different vision and such a distinctive Finnish design pedigree. Now, some 10 years later, Sarpaneva Watches has started to establish itself as the renegade alternative to the ‘Swiss-only’ mentality, offering collectors and watch lovers something new and different from the rest whilst keeping all the best qualities of watchmaking tradition. For Stepan this is definately something worth celebrating in an exclusive manner.


For the past 10 years, the Sarpaneva workshop has been creating a name for itself producing unusual, limited series of watches – exclusively in different types of steel. There were a number of reasons behind this concept.

Stepan Sarpaneva: “I have always liked, even preferred the ‘essence’ of steel cased watches, as it fits with my desire for simplicity and the beauty you can find in essential and basic materials and designs – whether inspired by man made or natural elements. With my hobby and passion for motorcycles from an early age, steel is also a material I know and love intimately. So I never felt that steel was less interesting or less valuable to me than any other metal.

So what was behind this new development for the workshop?

Stepan Sarpaneva: “One reason was that I made my first watch exactly 10 years ago: the TIME TRAMP – and back then I never thought it might mark the beginning of where I am today. In addition a number of clients have been asking me regularly for a gold watch, so all this meant that the time was ripe for it now. Another reason was a more emotional one for me. My father designed jewelry, and in the back of my mind I still have plans to also create some jewelry, either stand alone items or combined with watches. So that means that the next step has got to be working in precious metals of course.”


However, this didn’t mean that the new KORONA would simply be the same watchcase, merely in gold. Stepan took the decision to review the design; the case, with its slightly smaller 42 mm diameter compared to the previous KORONA K3 models of 44 mm, is just right for today’s tastes. The evocative scallops that are such a part of the exterior edges visual look are now cut right through the case from front bezel to back bezel, making the case even more distinctive. This, in combination with the skeleton dial has the effect of making the watch appear bolder and more uniquely Finnish in its design imagery, without it being perceived as either too large or too small.

Stepan Sarpaneva: “With this new, fuller case design, the lugs have also undergone some slight changes that allow me to use a shaped strap. This means the case and strap form a fluid line, giving a real visual and physical continuity between the watchcase and strap design, resulting in a truly relaxed fit. You can almost forget you have it on.”


The Moonphase indicator of the KORONA RG and WG, with its eternally somber face has become a hallmark of the entire series of KORONA watches, and perhaps Finland itself.

Stepan Sarpaneva: “You know, here in Finland, we are not a very extrovert kind of people. Maybe it has to do with our past history, as well as the cold combined with the extremely long winter nights and the extremely long summer days. You have to learn to remain in balance. So everyone here floats around with an aura of slight melancholy – I don’t know how else to describe it. So for me a smiling moon was out of the question, also because a Moonphase smiling all the time is too much like those yellow smiley faces they put in emails. This Moon has an aura of aristocratic melancholy; with a bit of indecision as to whether he is basically happy or sad in nature. The expression of the Moon on my watches just ‘is’ – same as the Finnish people here.”

Creating these Moonphase discs is as complex as the realization of the watch’s Moonphase mechanism. The first dilemma concerns the dimensions, as the face is only 0,4 mm thick yet contains four levels of elevation. The first step requires creating a drawing six times actual size, followed by cutting a rough model from plate stock, one piece corresponding to each level of elevation of the oversized model. These parts are then fixed together to form the model plate for the pantograph, which will mill the various shapes into a small piece of copper the actual size of the Moonphase. This copper version, which will serve later as an electrode, is then cleaned up and ‘fine-tuned’ by a master engraver before the contours are electro etched into a steel-pressing block, thus creating a negative image of the face. Last but not least, the eyes are modeled by hand into the negative image and the whole is finished by a master engraver and diamond polished before undergoing hardening, followed by yet another polishing.

The Moonphase of the watch requires two of these Moon faces to be created, but the winding rotor, responsible for helping automatically wind the watch with each movement of the wearer’s arm, also needed special treatment in order to be in harmony with the dial side view.

Stepan Sarpaneva: “Since the KORONA RG and WG are such special Moonphase watches, I felt that the rotor also had to be part of this special atmosphere. So I added another Moonphase on the rotor. It has the added effect of providing additional weight for the rotor, and it is always trapped in orbit around the watch’s center. Here again you sense my custom motorcycle building background – I see no reason why even the more functional parts can’t be attractive and nice to look at. So in total this is a Moon phase watch that has actually has three Moons on it, all in the same 18-carat gold as the case of the watch, either red or white”.


The skeletonized dial and rotor in every KORONA RG and WG look so simple that one can easily forget the amount of work involved in producing them. Once the dial and rotor have been correctly sized in all dimensions, 260 individual holes need to be cut out of the dial, whose thickness measures a mere 0.3 mm. After this, each individual hole must be filed and finished, from both sides, therefore even the side that you will never see.

Stepan Sarpaneva: “This seems like a small thing, but if you don’t do it this way there is chance that light will catch in some holes and not in others, producing an uneven visual effect.”

The production of a completely assembled skeletonized dial and rotor, with all the additional parts and Moon faces installed takes a total of about a week of work to complete.


The watch’s base caliber is a new independent movement from the well-known and highly regarded Swiss manufactory Soprod S.A., who also provide movements and watches to several haute horlogerie brands today.

The base caliber is then further modified at the Sarpaneva workshop and fitted with new parts, all of which are manufactured in Finland. The entire movement is also re-finished, starting from the main plate, which receives gilding after hand finishing. The entire Moonphase mechanism
gearing and parts are all designed and made in Helsinki as well. It includes quite a few parts with very small tolerances to insure perfect functioning, the smallest of which being only
0.15 mm thickness.

Different from other Moonphase calibers, the Sarpaneva design features correction via the crown, thus eliminating the need for any pushers on the case, greatly simplifying any correction if necessary. However, it should be noted that if the watch is regularly wound, the next correction for the Moonphase would only be in another 122 years!

Although the workshop is small and independent, the philosophy is for long-term results. For this reason a well-tested caliber was chosen for which there are always spare parts available, or parts that can be manufactured right in the Helsinki atelier.


For the new gold watches a special presentation box was designed and created by Stepan Sarpaneva, and is also manufactured in Finland. This wood and aluminum creation, embodying all the stylistic directness and raw energy of the timepieces, are also made by hand in small numbers that follow the limited production of the KORONA. An instruction booklet and guarantee certificate is included with each timepiece, covering a guarantee period of two years from the date of purchase.


Sarpaneva Watches is Finland’s only mechanical watchmaking company, solely dedicated to the design and production of mechanical wristwatches. Located in the country’s capital Helsinki, the workshop was started in 2003 by Stepan Sarpaneva after years of training in both Finland and Switzerland that covered watchmaking in all its varieties, including hands on experience at several of Switzerland’s major houses with highly specialized work on complications. The Sarpaneva workshop’s philosophy towards watchmaking is firmly anchored within Stepan Sarpaneva’s deep desire to express himself in more ways then solely through the purely mechanical side of watchmaking. For this reason his firm’s foundation is to unite a long-term and timeless visual design concept together with that of high quality mechanical watchmaking. Unlike the majority of brands on the market today, this is a fundamental aspect that sets Sarpaneva Watches apart from the rest; here is one man with the ability to create novel wristwatch designs as well as unite them with the mechanical know-how of a master watchmaker.

Photos by Ian Skellern at 2009 Baselworld for Horomundi

For more information about Stepan Sarpaneva
Sarpaneva - Finland, Family & Design

Sarpaneva Watches Website

Related Sarpaneva Posts at The Watchismo Times;
Korona K3 Black Moon
Korona K3 Red Moon
Korona K2 & K3 Moonphase
Korona K1
Blue Steel Supernova
Stainless Steel Supernova

Sarpaneva Loiste II
Eero Aarnio Prototype

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Saturday, April 4, 2009

Ikepod Solaris Collection by Marc Newson + Interview

Solaris by Ikepod & Marc Newson

Showcasing a new dimension from his Ikepod brand, Australian designer Marc Newson introduces the Solaris. Having designed watches since 1986, the expert watchmaker takes a unique approach with his latest creation. Named after an Andrei Tarkovsky film, the Solaris features a duality factor rarely seen on timepieces. Following the concept of an symmetrical two-faced object, this new Ikepod watch combines sleek hand crafted design with two fully reversible faces and German metal-mesh bracelets. Another neat feature is the ability to display two different time zones recto-verso with each face comprised of separate independent movements.

via Hypebeast

“With the Solaris, however, I wanted to design a very simple, elegant dress watch” - Marc Newson

Interview via The Watch Quote & Louise Neri

Louise Neri: When did you make your first watch?

Marc Newson: At the age of twelve, in my grandfather’s garage in Sydney. I found a piece of blue Plexiglas, carved it into a funny, massive rectangular shape and bored a big, perfect, cylindrical hole through it with a power tool. Then I inserted a movement that my uncle had given me; or rather he had given me a watch that I promptly took to pieces! I screwed the thick Plexiglas face down with four big woodscrews. They were unique technical experiments, but I remained interested in watches, clipping pages from magazines, learning about all the Swiss brands, and so on.

Louise Neri: What was it about them that interested you so much?

Marc Newson: I was always fascinated by the idea of the watch as a little universe, a container, a time machine that held an enormously complex mechanism with many moving parts, each one perfectly made. It was practically impossible to see what was really going on inside, so they seemed like wonderful, mysterious objects to me.

Louise Neri: Are all watches analog?

Marc Newson: Yes, to some degree. My watches are very handmade and there are very few of them, which is partly why they are inherently valuable. There is no other way to make them, especially not with robots. Watches illustrate a skill set that has neither significantly evolved nor significantly atrophied over the last century, unlike most other artisanal practices.

What I also love is the idea that a clock could be miniaturized to the point where it could be put on the wrist…

Louise Neri: When did that happen?

Marc Newson: Pocket watches appeared in the 16th century, and then wristwatches were invented around the turn of the 20th century. Clocks were being miniaturized to the point where they could not get much smaller. Although many other things are being reduced to nano-dimensions, watches reached their limits, having to remain robust, useable and able to be read.

Louise Neri: What else is there for you beyond the practical concerns?

Marc Newson: The idea that you can have time with you wherever you are—that you can literally “take your time”! For me it always seemed like a sort of alchemy, like traveling with a bit of fire in prehistoric times!

Louise Neri: How, over the years, have you chosen which mechanisms to use, given all the available options?

Marc Newson: I’d love to say that on a technical level I make rigorous or considered choices but in reality it’s about what is actually available. The industry has become so consolidated—most of the watch companies are now owned by a handful of big groups—it depends on what you can get your hands on. As Ikepod is one of the few remaining independent companies, it has to wait in line for movements—which is all the more reason for our company to distinguish itself via design.

The Ikepod Solaris watch in yellow gold by Marc Newson

Louise Neri: So, would you agree that Ikepod watches are design-driven?

Marc Newson: Absolutely. In fact, most watches are. It’s an interesting parallel with Apple: in the computer industry, the inherent technology is available widely but what differentiates Apple is the design. Of course Apple’s success is due to a lot more than its packaging but what you see and its related functionality is key.

Louise Neri: A lot of your earlier watch designs were more self-consciously concerned with technical function.

Marc Newson: The first Megapode, which is still in production, had an analog flight calculator. It’s my favorite because of its slightly ‘over-technical’ appearance.

Louise Neri: This kind of technical complexity was really fashionable at the time, wasn’t it?

Marc Newson: Yes, I designed the Megapode in the mid-nineties and the huge POD before it, in the mid-eighties. I think that they anticipated the trend of big watches.

In general, I like all the extra things watches can be equipped to “do,” very few of which we actually use or need. A tiny watch movement can be tricked up to the point where it can do half a dozen extra things; it’s like hotting up a car! It’s no wonder that in the industry these extra features are called “complications.” I have been progressively simplifying my watches, but I could easily and happily make them complicated once more.

With the Solaris, however, I wanted to design a very simple, elegant dress watch.

Louise Neri: Why did you call it “Solaris”?

Marc Newson: After Andrei Tarkovsky’s unforgettable film based on the novel by Stanislaw Lem. Solaris suits this watch because it’s all about duality, about being double. I loved the idea of making a symmetrical two-faced object, where one face is visible and the other hidden. It’s always simultaneously up the right way and upside-down. The connection is quite abstract; the original story concerns the relationship between reality and dreams. My Solaris contains two time zones relating to two different places…

The Ikepod Solaris watch in ceramic by Marc Newson

Louise Neri: Can the wearer choose the time zones?

Marc Newson: Yes, in fact, it’s not just a watch that displays two different time zones recto-verso; it actually comprises two separate movements that are utterly independent of each other.

Louise Neri: How difficult would be to synchronize them perfectly? Or is that part of it, that they will never be completely synchronized?

Marc Newson: Yes, somewhat. I love the idea that there is always that element of slippage.

Louise Neri: It makes me think of Felix Gonzales-Torres’ work Untitled (Perfect Lovers), 1991: Two identical, battery-driven wall clocks were initially set to the same time, but they eventually move slightly out of sync. Thus Gonzales-Torres transformed neutral, readymade timepieces into a personal and poetic meditation on human relationships, mortality, and time’s inevitable flow.

Marc Newson: In theory, the two movements in the Solaris will keep time because they are highly accurate quartz movements, rather than mechanical movements. But of course they will probably move slightly out of sync over time.

Louise Neri: But given that the watch faces have no second hand, any discrepancy will probably go unnoticed. Can they be reset at will?

Marc Newson: Absolutely, although this is probably at odds with the industry. But given that so many of our clients travel or live between two places, they might well appreciate the idea.

Louise Neri: Is the Solaris a unisex watch?

Marc Newson: Yes, I’ve never really designed for men or women but most of my watches tend to appeal to men because of their scale and weight. Perhaps this is the first of my watches that will appeal as much, if not more, to women.

Louise Neri: The size of the face also relates more to a woman’s watch, although the case is larger.

Marc Newson: However the gold and white gold watches have a masculine presence simply because gold is ultra-dense and heavy.

Louise Neri: Is the same true of the ceramic version?

Marc Newson: Not at all: ceramic is, in order of magnitude, much lighter than gold. Weight is an interesting quality to play with. The weight of a watch is a particular and esoteric thing.

Louise Neri: The flexible mesh watchstrap is also a more “feminine” touch.

Marc Newson: I also love the fact that mesh is a bit old-fashioned. Mesh is very difficult to find these days and we had to develop this particular variation to make it strong enough yet flexible.

Louise Neri: It makes me think of jewelry trends in the twenties and thirties; also of Elsa Peretti’s mesh chains for Tiffany…

Marc Newson: Sure, but in this case there are some technical limitations and real structural issues to deal with, such as the fact that the strap has to be strong enough to hold the watch in place on the wrist.

Louise Neri: How is the mesh produced?

Marc Newson: The production of metal mesh is another complex and specialized micro-industry. Much of it requires hand finishing. We work with a German company that makes mesh and chains for many different industries and a host of industrial applications, as well as for the textile industry. Companies such as this one use metals and industrial materials in such a forgiving and seductive way. So I was determined to work with them for the Solaris.

Prices: 6700 €, 16750 €, 24000 €

Ikepod website

Related Posts at The Watchismo Times

Marc Newson designs Jaeger LeCoultre Atmos Clock

Ikepod Black Hole In the Light

The Ikepod Has Landed...Again

Newson Clock & Watch Pre-Ikepod

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