London-based designers Industrial Facility have created a new watch for Italian accessories company Nava. Designer Sam Hecht told us how he found inspiration in a bottle of beer (+ interview).
Bottle watch is a unisex timepiece featuring 60 raised bumps moulded into a tinted glass lens, which indicate the minutes.
“I had noticed that the nodules found on the bottom of bottles added up to 60, so it seemed reasonable to adopt this piece of knowledge to the lens of a watch,” said Hecht, co-founder of Industrial Facility.
These bumps on bottles prevent suction between a wet bottle and table surface – it was this basic observation that sparked the concept for the Bottle watch.
“It was no more than that, a graphic folly that intrigued me,” Hecht told Dezeen Watch Store.
After developing the idea further with fellow co-founder Kim Colin, the team set about designing the watch with a concave lens, as opposed to the flat or convex lenses used in traditional wristwatches.
“When Nava approached us to design a watch series for them, the question ‘why?’ never arose,” explained Hecht. “The design was accepted on the spot and then the work began.”
Here is an edited transcript of the interview with Industrial Facility’s Sam Hecht.
Why did you decide to create a watch inspired by glass bottles?
I had noticed that the nodules found on the bottom of bottles – which are used to avoid suction between a wet bottle and a table surface – added up to 60, so it seemed reasonable to adopt this piece of knowledge to the lens of a watch. It was no more than that, a graphic folly that intrigued me.
After talking things through with our office it made sense to go a little further with it, and to involve the idea of a watch where the lens is also concave rather than convex. We also wanted to tint the lens itself in the same colours that you find bottles: wine green, brown beer, clear spirit and blue water.
With this type of project it was important to involve a sense of identity because there was to be no leap of technology, no change of use nor revolution in material.
How would you describe Industrial Facility’s approach to watch design?
It is very important with all projects to understand context both for the use of the object and the company providing it.
Nava are clearly not Rolex and they do not want to be, so it is pointless to express precision or craft but instead we made it a design experiment that people can share in.
Why did you use a minimalist watch face for the Bottle?
We moved the graphical representation of time away from the watch face to the lens. We naturally assume that it’s the watch face that communicates time, so to change this using texture on the lens made it quite punchy.
After we made some samples of tinting a concave glass where the colour is stronger around the perimeter than in the centre, Nava were convinced. The effect is that the hands appear luminous or iridescent because of this contrast. No special paint technique was used, it was just a lucky result.
What were the main challenges in the design process?
The main challenge was twofold. One was the lens, which we were not satisfied with originally as we wanted a small height to the watch but also wanted to maintain the iridescent effect. The other was the buckle, which we wanted to match the aluminium case.
How did you make the watch so it appeals to both men and women?
Size has something to do with it. We’re quite lucky right now in that women want to wear big watches, so it meant we could avoid having to do two sizes.
As for the design, its very subjective. I like the brown one very much and knew it would turn out well, while my friends seem to like the silver, green, or blue. Because it’s a simple idea, it’s more a question of colour than size or material.