Hong Kong brand Ziiiro describes its watches as “minimal, futuristic and cool”. With space-age names such as Mercury, Orbit and Proton, most Ziiiro watches come without hands or numbers and instead feature swirling rings of colour.
German graphic designer Robert Dabi came up with the initial concept when searching for a watch that he would like to wear. After teaming up with business partner Derick Ip, the pair launched Ziiiro in 2010 and named it after the accompanying tagline: “zero buttons, zero loose parts, zero numbers.”
The brand’s first product was Gravity, a watch that displays the time using two dials of graduated colour. “I wanted to think of something that looks different from regular watches,” said Dabi. “In daily life I noticed that I never needed to know the exact seconds of the present time, so for this concept I just declared the possibility of being able to read the time super-precisely as unnecessary as well.”
London’s Evening Standard newspaper described the watch as being “about as much use as a sun dial” on first glance, adding that it “starts to make sense” as you look closely. This theme continues with Ziiiro’s other watches, including the Celeste that appears to be nothing more than a circle of colour, or the Orbit where two dots spin around a circular axis. “After a short time you will acquire a feel for reading the time,” say the founders.
With an analogue face, Ion is the only watch in the Ziiiro collection with a familiar design. “We thought it might be something for classy occasions,” said Dabi. “You could call it playful rashness.”
Ziiiro watches feature bracelets that grip the wrist instead of being secured with traditional fasteners, and they all feature removable, allowing the wearer to mix and match faces and straps.