All ideas great and small

All ideas great and small

April 12, 2018

When collecting anything, you always develop favourites, ours are 70’s style jump hours, so it was a no brainer that MAALS first design would be a jump hour. But we also wanted it to have that extra ‘something’ we just didn’t know what that ‘something’ would be.

We both knew that we didn’t want a heavily designed watch, preferring a subtler approach adding in little details here and there bringing the design to life.

We started with the two discs for the jump hour and a basic set of shapes. Square and sharp edges went out as did hexagons and octagon - too complicated, costly and potentially uncomfortable. In stayed circles, curves and a triangle inside the dial for discs.

Design 1

It’s safe to say this one was more experimental than anything. Think kid in a sweet shop and that was us on our first go. Hardened ceramics, precious and semi-precious metals, tourbillon movements looked amazing, so did retrogrades and skeleton complications, but they all spectacularly failed our own and the ODMs affordability feasibility test, so we stopped took stock and went back to the start.

  1. First things first choose a movement type
    1. For reliability and our own piece of mind it had to be either a Swiss or Japanese movement.
    2. No extravagant complications
    3. Can it be modified for our needs?
  2. It had to have a nod or two to the 70s style jump hours
  3. It had to have a second hand
  4. It had to be affordable for people to buy
  5. Less can be more, it’s the little things that count

With all of the above in place, with help from our ODM, we looked at over a dozen movements from ETA, Ronda, Seiko, Miyota with a whole variety of functions on offer. What kept standing out amongst all of them though, were the moonphases. Neither of us have a moonphase in our collection and a jump hour moonphase does have a certain ‘something’ about it. After a stint of net scouring, we found a jump hour moonphase would be rare, which sealed it for us.

To make sure we designed something people actually liked, we set up a WhatsApp group of friends, the kind that’ll tell you truth whether you want to hear it or not – in other words the perfect focus group.

Design 2

We chose a quartz Ronda moonphase movement for its size and potential for modifications and got to work. We wanted a good side profile and taking inspiration from our Lasser and Damas watches, decided to curve the dial and screen, adding a curved caseback for symmetry.

We didn’t want the dial to be plain with just a triangle cut into it and considered using holographic materials, mirrors, even enamel to liven up the design. We eventually settled on a sunburst finish to catch and play when light catches the dial and because it has a nod to classic jump hours. 

Moving the design along, we set the triangle with the tip at 9 and that’s when we ran into the problem with design number 2. We were adamant about having the movement in minute, hour and moonphase ordered right to left with the moon phase at the tip. Our ODM though had the difficult job of telling us it wouldn’t work with the chosen Ronda movement, which they did. While the movement could be modified for the discs we wanted, the moonphase portion of the was at the centre of the movement and couldn’t be moved without basically destroying it.

We pushed back against the ODM and they went through a couple of Ronda movements (sorry!) trying to make what we wanted, but in the end enough was enough – it wasn’t going to work as we wanted.

It wasn’t all bad news though because fundamentally the design was sound, it just needed tweaking and obviously a completely different movement……simple.

Design 3

We looked at moonphase positions and specs on various movements, while the ODM focussed on the technical side of the options we identified and their ability for modification to discs instead of hands. A month and a half of trial and error eventually brought us to Miyota and its 6 series of quartz movements.

To make the design work, the entire layout had to be rotated 45°, with the tip of the triangle at 6 and minutes, hours and the moonphase in that order top to bottom. That change would also give us the name of the watch, not that we knew that back then.

The WhatsApp group did their thing and critiqued the new design with gusto, eventually leading us to;

  • Shrink the triangle and round off its points
  • Reposition the logo on the so it’s clearer
  • And add a completely new finish

Sitting down to finalise the design, we moved the second hand to centre point in line with the top of triangle, added luminosity to the numbers on the mins and hours discs for night time readability, agreed upon leather NATO style straps for a retro modern look and finally confirmed our new watch, would be available in brushed stainless steel with a red second hand and indices and a black steel version.

Final spec 

Movement

Miyota 6P24 quartz moonphase jump hour

Central second hand

Hour disc and minute disc with standard lume

Dial

Domed sunburst dial

Case Material

316L Brushed Stainless Steel

Case Size W

42mm

Water Resistance

5ATM

Screen

Domed mineral crystal with anti-reflective coating underside

Caseback

Laser etched solid snap-on caseback

Crown

Laser etched steel

Strap

Leather vintage style


At last it was starting to feel real



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