Setting back the clocks this weekend makes this a good occasion to think about how designers have approached how we understand and know the time of day. Although we may not give a lot of thought to how we mark the passage of our days, designers certainly have. From modern masterpieces that strive to show the hours and minutes through minimal and highly readable designs to timepieces that play with the very concept of time, there are clocks and watches that make telling time an exciting part of the day.
QLOCKTWO: TELLING TIME WITH WORDS
In 2009 the designers at Biegert & Funk created the QLOCKTWO. A face with a seemingly random arrangement of 110 letters becomes a timepiece as the minutes pass and letters light up. Telling time the way we speak..."half past six", "quarter to three", the QLOCKTWO Wall Clock, QLOCKTWO Touch desk clock, and QLOCKTWO W wristwatch has switched up timekeeping from a symbolic to verbal experience. As Marco Biegert explains “It is the intuitive way of reading the time, it may be the most human way of reading the time. When you ask someone what time it is, the answer would sound "It’s half past four". We use words for that”. With wall clocks that are customizable with different finishes, including the new Creator's Edition, three sizes, and a choice of languages, you can make the QLOCKTWO fit your lifestyle and decor.
A CLASSIC OF MODERN DESIGN : THE MAX BILL WATCH
This year marked the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Bauhaus in Dessau, Germany. With the celebrations came a renewed interest in the artists and designers who studied there and went on to transform the history of modern design. The Swiss architect, artist, painter, typeface designer, industrial designer, and graphic designer Max Bill studied at the Bauhaus, and his work reflects the principles of modern design that made the school so influential. With works in the collections of major museums around the world, one of his most enduring designs can be worn on your wrist. The Max Bill Watch was created for the German watchmaker, Junghans, and is still in production. The elegant, minimal design of this iconic wristwatch, with its clean lines and domed glass, is as relevant and desirable today as it was when Bill created the watch in 1961.
THE SWISS RAILWAY CLOCK: KEEPING THE TRAIN ON TIME
Designed in 1944 by Hans Hilfiker, then an employees of the Federal Swiss Railways, the Official Swiss Railway Clock is not just a station clock – it is the station clock known around the world. The bold design is instantly recognizable for the bright red second hand which is shaped like the baton used by the station staff to dispatch trains. Also recognizable is the Stop 2 Go feature. Hilfiker's task was to synchronize the station clocks throughout the railway system. To make sure that trains left exactly on time at the start of a new minute a pulse was sent from a master clock to every station clock in Switzerland. The pulse moved the minute hand, but the second hand, not being controlled by the master clock, only took 58 seconds to smoothly rotate around the face. The second hand famously stopped at the 12:00 position for 2 seconds for the minute hand to be released by the pulse. A two-heartbeat stop is still built into Mondaine's line of Railway Clocks and Watches, making punctuality a visual concept. This clock, originally designed for the most public of spaces, makes a stunning addition to any home.
NO TIME LIKE THE PRESENT: PAST PRESENT FUTURE WATCH
"With the past, I have nothing to do nor with the future. I live now" Ralph Waldo Emerson
Designed by artists, architects, and designers, many Projects Watches tell time in an unconventional way. Their innovative watches not only tell the time, but reflect on the very concept of time. The Past Present Future watch is a meditation on time designed by computer graphics pioneer Daniel Will-Harris. With everything obscured but the current hour and minute, you are reminded to live for the moment. A conversation starter, the Past Present Future is a thought provoking piece of wearable design.