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dessin de montre Beaubleu

How to design a watch?

During our meetings during a few private presentations or over a café, a Beaubleu watch on our wrist, a few questions often come up. How did you arrive at this design? Why round hands? Today we are taking the time to explain all of this to you.

Watch design: from mind to body

Before you jump to paper to scribble a tangle of two circles, one of which is smaller (the hours) than the other (the minutes), you must first define a concept. We are quickly tempted to start the design of a watch with its style: vintage, sporty, futuristic, modern or others. You actually have to start with your story by asking the right questions.

How am I going to wear it? Where am I going to wear it? Where will I go with her? What are the needs ? So many questions that will outline a strong idea without falling into an exercise in style or copy… sorry “homage”.

For Beaubleu, the general idea was the measurement of time and its composition. We had to go back to the very basis of what a watch is. To do this, there's nothing better than breaking it down into large, distinct parts: the technique (build and movement), the transport/ornament part (lugs and strap) and the reading of time. From there, the design of the watch almost came naturally. The body of the watch encloses the mechanical heart in a refined manner to highlight the movement. The lugs attaching to the strap have been worked with curves taken from automotive design. The spirit of the watch with a round dial and hands evokes the kinetic movement of the planets, the very basis of our perception of time. This design phase, which may seem laborious, takes you from a “thing that tells the time” to a coherent watch concept. But don't claim victory, the hardest part is yet to come: the spirit of the watch.

From the sundial to the round hands

You are there, the spirit of the watch is its dial and its hands. It is important to keep in mind that a watch must be looked at several times a day for many years. So no pressure but the design must not tire its wearer too quickly... Magnanimous, here are some tips to counter these problems.

The watch dial

This part serves both as a temporal reference (3, 6, 9 and 12 hours) and as decorations. Knowing that the precision is of the order of a micron (0.001mm), a watch dial of approximately 30 mm in diameter very quickly seems like an immense planet to fill. You have to play on graphics and relief to dress this space like an architect who identifies flows and uses. To appreciate a dial on a daily basis (and not get tired of it), it is important to give it relief and depth. Even if the design will not change, the light that falls on it will give it a completely different appearance. Grooving or joining two parts will be understood differently depending on the direction of the light, just as the material treatment will also vary depending on the ambient light. From color to material to its processing and graphics, a good dial lies in its ability to give a different experience every time you look at it.

Round hands: the signature of Beaubleu watches

One of the elements of your design will make the watch a recognizable piece: a shape, a treatment, a color or a graphic. To be consistent with the concept of the sundial and our Galilean inspirations, we had to rethink the idea of ​​a time indicator, that is to say the hands. Before Beaubleu took shape with the B01 collection, the very first sketches of the collection suggested straight hands. Whether “swords”, “arrows”, in leaves or in sticks, we fall back into an experience and a reading seen and reviewed. Any creation is a succession of back and forth between inspiration and sketches, from prototyping to concept. The B01 was therefore no exception. After several tests and feedback on Galileo's work, the round hands gradually took shape to finally give the Beaubleu signature. The round hands then became indicators and also a graphic design. By crossing each other, they form an evolving graphic throughout the day. From the alignment of the planets to the path of the sun, it's a spectacle at your fingertips. We could talk about this for hours. To extend our discussion about our passion for design and watchmaking, you can contact us. Perhaps you will be invited to choose pieces from the next collection... Wishing you wonderful times. Beaubleu