The history of the pocket watch started in the 15th century. Until then, blacksmith had fashioned the iron clockwork; however, copper, bronze or brass gradually started to replace iron. The forms of watches in the Gothic period initially remaind essentially the same. However, an invention was made in the first quarter of the 15th century, possibly in Italy, which prompted a new development – the spring clockwork. Whereas a weight clockwork required gravity to provide the energy needed to move the clockwork, a spring clockwork draws on the energy stored in the tightened spring, which is released over time using a suitable suppression mechanism. In 1504, the locksmith Peter Henlein from Nuremberg produced a pocket watch with spring clockwork that could run for 24 hours and that marked every hour. This watch is now on display in the Memorial Hall in Philadelphia (USA). The spring mechanism meant that the watch became portable. Rich citizens wore them in a cravat or attached them to their clothing (musk-apple watches); they were worn on the wrist after around 1520 and carried in pockets later on. This led to the development of wristwatches with straps. A new chapter in measuring time commenced.
In 2003, a graduation thesis was drawn up at the Polytechnic College of Trier, Idar-Oberstein Branch, in the Faculty of Gemstone and Jewelry Design. It focused on a reinterpretation of the classic pocket watch. Among others, the thesis included cooperation with the renowned manufacturer Junghans. The purpose was to develop a watch that would have other functions in addition to telling the time and that would be used fictitiously in 2025. The project focuses on a series of hand warmer watches. These hand warmers are used to tell the precise time thanks to a digital display. They are constant, inconspicuous companions, worn around the neck or clipped tight to trousers. This approach also drew on the handling during the 15th and 16th centuries. The new forms and materials are intended to ensure that this obsolete piece survives into the future.
Day and night are displayed by different color zones. The hand warmers have additional functions, such as that of a calendar and a small pager thanks to its Internet access. A small solar power plant means that the annoying process of switching batteries is no longer necessary while the radio technology ensures that the displayed time is absolutely precise. You activate the desired function by pressing the display. This presentation mode considerably simplifies navigation through the menu and improves the interaction. The hand warmer is formed in such a way that it perfectly suits the hand in terms of size, material and form, and is therefore not larger than a palm.
In view of the fact that watches convey personality and aesthetics and express one’s own individuality, it is important during the development of the design to find a timeless and clearly described line that defines the design concept through reduction to the basic geometric forms and striking lines. It is also important to articulate a perceptron of time in the design of the model. The implementation of the aesthetic concept is supported by high quality materials. Finding an ergonomic, round form, which perfectly complements the form of one’s hand and which is as light as a feather and durable, is the initial task for designing the watch. The display function means it is easy to tell the time.
At first glance, the elementary form of the hand warmer’s housing is supported in its reduced style by the discrete functions, thus revealing the essential. Reduced, graphic language of forms in the dial, with a clear and symmetrical design, unites the clear, futuristic design of the exterior to provide a conclusive design concept. The design is slightly futuristic, satisfying the highest technical demands. It creates an impression of precision, whereby no detail is over or understated. The project aims at an innovative technology concept, pointing the way to an emotional future.
The hand warmers come with numerous additional functions, which are easy to operate. Even inexperienced people will have no problem operating them. The hand warmers are a form of personal, electronic assistant in all areas of life. It stores personal data that is locked in such a way within a security system that only the user will have access. It also provides a means of payment. Electronic data can be received and transmitted quickly and inexpensively. Furthermore, the watch is robust and durable. Four different series were developed in this thesis.
High Tech Series
The high tech series also has a telephone function. The function is already integrated in the model. The hand warmer also manages all organizational functions such as appointments, telephone book and much more. The radio remote technology means that the user can log on anywhere without requiring cables or anything else. This watch combines an innovative concept of technical functions with a matching futuristic design.
New materials are used. It is important that the materials are very light and durable. The preferred materials would be carbon or ceramics in a compound with Indian rubber or plastic.
The sport series includes functions such as MP3 or health monitoring functions. All you need are headphones to listen to music. For many runners, mobile music is now taken for granted, just like proper running shoes, especially as various studies have shown that people run in a more relaxed frame of mind, more evenly and breathe more deeply if they are listening to music. In addition, an automatic alignment means that the rhythm of the music can be adjusted to suit the running rhythm.
The following functions are available for monitoring one’s own health: the user can wear a small chip implantation, which permanently transfers data to the watch. This means that the wearer is constantly informed of momentary data such as pulse, blood pressure, fat combustion, blood levels or oxygen levels. These are essentially the vital statistics. The user can query this data at any time by voice control. A warning signal sounds automatically if there are complications, notifying the runner that the training methods should be reconsidered. This data can help optimize training to suit the individual needs of the user. The advantage: a tailor-made training program.
Furthermore, the watch also includes an emergency signal that sends a signal to one’s GP or the emergency services in the event of there being an overload or sudden health complications. GPS technology also transmits the exact location of the user. This means that direct help can be provided. The data is also transferred automatically to the GP’s terminal, which means he or she is always up to date concerning the patient’s state of health. Without any additional pulse strap or such like, this chip enables one to complete pleasant training under complete supervision. The hand warmer can be worn on the neck or on a belt during training. In view of the fact that the watch should be very light, durable and sweat-proof, there are plans to use a combination of different plastics.
The fun series promises to be exactly what the name suggests. It unites pretty much everything we enjoy: Music, videos, photos and games. It will be a digital multimedia terminal. The functions range from MP3 to a camera to shoot and send photos in top quality and even to record and replay short video sequences. Everything will be possible. In view of the fact that the display will be small, it will also include the function of projecting the videos on to larger screens, wherever the viewer may happen to be. For example, small videos can be made and sent at the push of a button in real time, instead of sending postcards from holidays. Photos are also transferred directly to a computer, where they are processed and printed out. Development time will no longer be necessary. The user can have his or her own personal photo studio. The world of games is also open to the user. Indeed, the whole world will become one big arcade. It should be fun to hold the watch in one’s hand. The color, the appearance and everything else will contribute to this. The preferred material will be a combination of different plastics, although it may include some components made of electrically conductive textile material.
The luxury series will simply display the time. It will be a precious, luxurious accessory. The design of this object will reflect minimalism and the highest standards of comfort. After all, there will continue to be in the future a large target group that will focus on watches that simply tell the time, without any cumbersome additional functions. Only the impression of time will count. A glance at the watch will reassure the user that possessing luxury means wearing the watch as jewelry therefore defining one’s own impression of time. Less is more is the principle of this series. It means that this watch uses as little as possible that disturbs the overall line and impedes the clarity of the forceful expression. There is no doubt that this is also a reason why the series shines with convincing timelessness and sovereign simplicity. These watches are more than just chronographs – they are expressions of the personality and style of the wearer. The selected materials for these watches must appear precious. This is why a combination of metals, high tech ceramics, carbon and a precious-looking plastic will be preferred.
This project indicated how a historical approach can be taken to develop a modern and innovative design and technology concept for the pocket watch of the future.