Watches

Time For a “Touch Skin”.

I like watches. The craftsman ship that goes into a fine time piece like a Rolex, Tag Heuer, Pannerai, or Patek Phillipe is truly outstanding. I also like my smartphone. Now the craftsmanship that goes into the smartphone isn’t the same as a hand made watch, but the design experience that goes into the user interface, form factor, user experience etc. is every bit as detailed. As far as I am concerned on the iPhone it is.

Over the last decade or so, watch sales have declined, and the watch industry blamed mobile phones as the number one culprit. Who needs a watch when your phone has a clock right? The good news for watch makers is, watch sales are on the rise, and that leads me to the “Touch Skin Watch” designed by Niels Astrup.

Touch Skin was awarded the third place prize in the Samsung sponsored 2012 Design That Performs competition, and rightly so. Building off of the reality that the classic analog face of a watch or clock is universally embedded within the cultural consciousness of almost every society in the world, Astrup used it as inspiration for the Touch Skin Watch. This watch gives the end user an analog experience without giving up the modern touch screen functionality of a smart phone. The watch comes with skins that can be downloaded to the watch, allowing the OLED screen to be customized to meet the needs of the individual user. The design of the watch is clean and classic keeping true to it’s analog roots.

Touch Skin weighs around 80 grams, and features a 16GB micro SD RAM which is upgradable. The prototype watch runs on a multi-core ARM or Nvidia Tegra Type II/III processor. The watch’s face is covered in 0.46mm thick Gorilla glass which covers the 16 million color multitouch screen. The case is made from anodized aluminum with the bracelet  constructed from natural FSC-certified rubber.

No word about this watch going into production, but I hope this guy fires up a Kickstarter campaign to get it rolling.

Touch Skin is the ultimate digital accessory – A touch sensitive watch that combines tradition and transcendence via classic minimalist analogue watch design.

Touch Skin fits in neatly with existing gadgets and is thought of as an accessory that can follow you in all situations of your daily life. From the morning when you wake, customize the look of the watch to match your dress code with the build- in watch designs. If you are not satisfied you can always connect the watch to your computers Bluetooth and download new skins or design your own from the Touch Skin App. Touch Skin is notseen as a smartphone watch, however future skin development opens up to this direction.

Monday Morning Inspiration. “The Watchmaker” by Dustin Cohen.

I work with pixels, with digital content on a daily basis. The things I create have no physical form, they are simply a display of numbers represented as images on a screen. This doesn’t diminish the creativity that goes into what I do, but over the years it has made me yearn for things made by hand. When I started my career as a designer, everything was done by hand. Even the photo processes used to create a printed page was analog. That longing for the mechanical, the analog, the hands on, has led me in recent years to a greater appreciation of finely crafted items, especially things like watches, clocks, vintage radios and stereo gear, etc.

Last night while perusing the “Made in Brooklyn” series on Vimeo I came across “The Watchmaker”. This is a short film by Dustin Cohen about David Sokosh, a watch maker in Brooklyn New York. Cohen’s short film captures that feeling about the hands on craftsmanship that surrounds the creation of a fine time piece. It captures Sokosh’s passion, and patience that is needed to produce a bespoke Brooklyn Watch. Perhaps it is my longing to spend time creating with my hands instead of a computer that drew me to this film. Then again it could also be the masterful way the short film was shot and edited.

The ironic part is, the film is all pixels, and I am equally drawn to the pixel craft went into making this film.

Be sure and check out the photo essay about the film here.

Watch It Mad Men.

This year for my birthday my wife bought me a very, very nice timepiece. There was nothing wrong with my Tag Heuer Monaco, she simply wanted to give me something a bit more significant to commemorate a milestone birthday. Now I wouldn’t want to trade in my new watch, but I also wouldn’t mind owning the Jaeger-LeCoulture Mad Men watch that will be released this month.

Why would I want this? Well it is going to be a true collectors piece since only 25 will be made. That means that it is also an investment since it’s value will do nothing but increase over time.

The Jaeger-LeCoulture Mad Men watch is  aspecial edition of the Jaeger-LeCoulture Reverso, that is engraved with the Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce logo. Each watch comes in a custom-designed walnut commemorative box featuring the Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce logo embossed on top, with a copy of “Sterling’s Gold” autographed by Matthew Weiner.

As a Mad Men fan, this would be a very sweet watch to own, although I doubt I’d ever wear it.