In addition to watchmaking performance and the technicality of materials, designer watches also express their distinction through shapes, lines and unexpected details.
TISSOT Heritage Memphis, extremely graphic minimalist dial
With the Heritage Memphis model, Tissot does not pay homage to the architecture of the American city of the same name. Just like the famous musicians who invented “Memphis blues.” No, the Maison is reinterpreting the lenticular watch created in 1988 by Ettore Sottsass, founder of the Memphis Group, an Italian architecture and design movement.
The antique piece’s similar dial can be found on the limited edition of 2,500 pieces in PVD steel/gold, 40 mm in diameter (€405). However, because it is a reinterpretation and not a re-release, there are still some minor differences. Larger dial. And we think the crown stands out a bit more from the middle of the case for better grip. Another difference is that Tissot has added the function of reading seconds without touching the design of the dial. Indeed, the watchmakers have integrated in the middle a small rotating disc marked with dots.
The back and back of the strap feature a geometric pattern inspired by Memphis designs. Equipped with a quartz movement, the watch also comes with two interchangeable straps (black and brown).
RADO True Square Formafantasma, a full hour at the square in the land of luxury watches
Design has always been part of Rado’s DNA. The manufacturer has won many awards in this field with its high-tech ceramic models. A material that Rado first used in watchmaking in 1986. Read our article Ceramic is the new black.
Watch brands often collaborate with designers to create special editions. This matte light gray ceramic True Square (€2,540) is from the Italian-Dutch duo Formafantasma. This solid square case watch (38 mm) is a modern take on the old “closed” pocket watches. They have a protective cover on the dial with an opening to display the time.
IKEPOD Megapod Gold Dots, pure seventies style
Created in 1997, Megapod is undoubtedly the masterpiece of Ikepod, a brand whose approach has always been very conceptual. Minimalist, refined, futuristic, flexible, “bulging”: the style of the instrument is very unique. Paying tribute to 1970s watchmaking design, the Megapod perfectly illustrates this visual identity with a hornless case for the strap.
Redesigned by Alexandre Peraldi, it combines the original codes with a dial imagined by another designer, Emmanuel Gueist, to create the “Gold Dots” version. This version is made of 316L steel with a diameter of 46 mm. The impressive size disappears on the wrist thanks to the case’s natural ergonomics. Its golden dial is reminiscent of a drum cymbal (a personal opinion that only the author of these lines can give). An automatic caliber with three central hands, visible on the back, controls this beautiful instrument (€1,190).
MONDAINE, the watch designed by the Swiss railway industry
Everyone in Switzerland knows Mondaine! And for good reason, this watch brand is the official supplier of the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB in Switzerland). It is impossible to find a station without a Mondaine clock.
A Swiss engineer, designer and SBB employee, Hans Hilfiker, designed this station watch that appeared on platforms in 1944 before it became a wristwatch in 1986. Maybe recognizable among all, very graphic and legible, its white and black dial features a red second hand with a glossy point.
The 40 mm steel reference on Milanese mesh (quartz movement, €299) presented by Frank sans C has the distinction of combining a signature element with a big date (read our article “ Big Date ? A great idea! ” ) .
HUBLOT Classic Fusion Orlinski Titanium, folding space-time
A Hublot partner since 2017, Richard Orlinski is currently the best-selling French artist designer in the world. He owes his success to his enormous, extremely elaborate sculptures – especially the famous Kong gorilla – which he displays outdoors. His creations are made using a personalized folding process modeled after car body techniques used in F1.
Here the aesthetic success due to the combination of the artist’s vision and the rules of production must be emphasized. One can even speak of a real fusion of two worlds when looking at the Classic Fusion Orlinski Titanium (€11,300). Indeed, Orlinski was able to create a completely different model without distorting the identity of the watch.
This 40 mm diameter titanium instrument opens to an attractive glossy black dial whose multifaceted surfaces reflect light with each movement. The three central hands are driven by a gear-wheeled automatic caliber that can be seen from the rear.
TRILOBE Nuit Fantastique Secret, bright ideas for uniquely designed watches
Trilobe is a small house that is growing. Its creations are a true symbiosis between engineering, design and… poetry. The principle here is to propose an alternative way of reading the time using the patented graduated dial system. They are driven by the exclusive X-Centric micro-rotor movement visible on the back. Their specific setting on the dial is also one of the keys to the success of Trilobe watch designers.
Illustrated with Nuit Fantastique Secret (€10,500) presented by Frank sans C. This steel version, on a blue alligator strap, comes in two sizes (38.5 or 40.5 mm). Its dial has a rotating ring around the edge to display the time. Hours are indicated at noon by the brand logo. An off-center module, shaped like the number 8, indicates the minutes (through a small hole) and seconds (the ring surrounding the clous de Paris decoration).
Uniqueness is the charm or secret of this work. Because the celestial chart covering the dial is completely personal. It really matches the position of the stars, set according to the location, date and time determined by the owner himself. Whether it’s the birth of a child, a wedding, or any other moment in his life that he holds dear, he can choose an event that hasn’t happened yet. The second magical effect is that this hand-decorated dome is magically illuminated at night because each little star is filled with Superluminova.