Optimef aims to revive the Romanian watch industry with a timepiece inspired by the unique way Romanians tell the time. Founders Andrei Morariu and Bogdan Costea took the name Optimef from Romania’s first watch company, which began producing timepieces in 1979 but closed down after the fall of the communist government. “We asked ourselves, whatever happened to the once-productive Romanian watch industry?” the founders told Dezeen Watch Store. “There used to be one, and it was capable of creating quality products that were in tune with the aesthetics of the time.” Described by the brand as a “rebirth” of the original company, Optimef watches pay homage to 70s design by using primary colours and simple graphics favoured by the Memphis Group. “We took the functionality of 60s modernism and combined it with the playfulness of the 70s and 80s. We aim to create designs that inspire a melange of clean minimalism and Memphis Group-like quirkiness,” they explained. The brand’s first watch is called Fărăzece, and is named after the way Romanians tell each other the time. Instead of having conventional numerals, Fărăzece marks 12 o’clock with a zero, and then counts past the hour in five minute increments. After reaching the half past mark, it begins to count forward to the next hour. Romanians presume that a person asking for the time knows the hour, but wants to know the exact minutes. The answer to the question ‘what’s the time’ (‘cât e ceasul?’) is ‘fără zece’ – which translates as ‘it’s ten to’.