This is possibly the most egocentric article I’ve ever written. But hang one for five minutes and read it to the end. Because, honestly, who truly doesn’t dream of designing their own watch? I can hardly think of anyone who wouldn’t, and I know why. That’s because to many of us watch enthusiasts/collectors, watches express who we are or who we want to become. And because we are all unique—and I mean this in a non-narcissistic way—each and everyone of us wants to express something unique. And we have unique needs for our watches. That’s the reason behind the fact that there are hundreds of independent brands on the market. Each brand fulfills the dream of its founder.
While I do not plan to create a brand, I do often think about what my ideal watch would look like. So today, I’ll be sharing one vision of this ideal watch.
When I picture my ideal watch in my minds’ eye, I first think of proportions. To me, proportions in a watch are very important (as you may have noticed reading this article) because they mean two things: first, the watch will look good on my wrist by being neither too small nor too big. Second, because the watch will be comfortable to wear all day. Larger and heavier watches do bother me after a few hours and I often feel the need to take them off. This is why dimensions are so important to me. Furthermore, I find that smaller watches that come with the features I need (more on that later) are quite rare.
So, what are these ideal dimensions? Over the years of trying on and buying watches I’ve come to understand that I prefer watches with a case diameter of between 36 and 38mm. Smaller than 36 is doable but it depends on other dimensions such as the case thickness and the lug-to-lug distance. I have nothing against 39, 40, and 41mm cases, but 38 is my ideal maximum. In terms of lug-to-lug distance, proportionately I prefer between 45 and 47mm. This measurement combined with the ideal diameter is my happy combination. Thickness is not a deal breaker for me however it would be best to remain under 13mm. Again, that depends on which features the watch comes with.
I like functional and practical watches but I do not like over-engineered ones. I have come to understand that I love having a date complication (because I never know which day of the month it is) and having either a GMT complication (because I have friends, family, and clients in different time zones) and some kind of chronograph function. But I would choose a GMT function over a chronograph any day of the week. Although I don’t travel much now, I do travel sometimes and I do enjoy being able to know what time it is where my brother-in-law or best friend lives.
Although having a high water resistance is more of a feature than a functionality, I’d say that my ideal watch must have at least 100 meters of water resistance. This is as much water resistance I need 99% of the time and it does give me peace of mind. Although I don’t fear water getting inside a watch whilst washing my hands, I do like the idea of having a screw-down crown and case-back. Why not make the watch a bit more robust?
I like classic designs and high-contrast dials. My preferred dial color is black and, over the past year, I’ve developed a healthy obsession for gray dials. I find that the contrast of a dark dial with stainless steel hands and white-colored lume is practical, elegant, and timeless. Speaking of hands, I adore simple looking hands that are easy to read and serve a precise function—indicating what time it is—but I do appreciate hands that have a versatile design. In particular, Dauphine and baton-style hands that one can find on the Seiko and Rolex models.
I’m also a sucker for multi-faceted applied markers. Being applied, they add subtle three-dimensionality to the dial and reflect light in interesting ways. So do the facets on the markers and especially if we are talking about those that have one side that is brushed and the other polished. Having a clearly-indicated minute track is also a plus as I am obsessed with setting precise time on my watches. Lastly, I prefer satin brushing over polished surfaces, so having a predominance of brushed surfaces is a plus for me.
I know, what I described above is highly personal. Well, I’m talking about my ideal watch after all. I couldn’t describe in detail what each design aspect of the dial would look like because I haven’t finished designing the watch in my head. However, I believe that what I listed above will give you a good idea of where I am going. In other words: a classic and elegant watch with date and GMT complications, in a 36mm case, with robust built and decent water resistance. I don’t know if this watch exists yet but I would love to see one in person!Featured image: www.watchmywatch.fr