It’s About What’s Under the Hood
When I was a kid I briefly, briefly because I got fired, I worked at a BMW dealership. This was maybe 35 years ago. Back then BMW was doing things that the more progressive car dealerships are doing today. Things like a loner car, free coffee for customers and in the showroom, one complete wall was glass. A glass wall that over looked the service area. As a customer you could sit and watch the mechanic work on your car. Full transparency, the bays were clean, orderly and when the mechanic was working, he was working, if they weren’t working they weren’t there. BMW knew that perception was important and if looked clean and well run, you as a customer were confident in the service. The same went for under the hood. My father had a Plymouth Duster which when you opened the hood was spaghetti. It was functional but clearly there was no design intent other than making it work. You opened the hood on a modern (for that time) BMW and it looked good. No random wires running all over the place, a beautiful engine cover with the company logo staring you in the face, you could tell they thought about everything.
The same goes for watch movements. There are functional, sturdy movements but then, there are movements that seem to be pure art. This pocket watch movement is from the 1800’s and is amazing workmanship considering the tools that were available.
A modern but traditional design would be something like this Minerva movement made for the Montblanc Villeret collection. Entirely handmade, every 90o angle has been beveled and each piece polished to perfection.
Lately with a new breed of customers’ watch designing has hit new levels. It seems to be a combination of NASA engineering mixed with Italian, Ferrari styling. Watches are coming out that not only break all the traditional molds but that also seem to set new engineering standards as well. Take for example some of the HYT models. These “Hydro Mechanical” watches use liquid as well as dial indicators to tell the time.
Then you have some offerings from Urwerk that seem to have taken some styling ideas from science fiction and produced incredible mechanical watches that have a hood. What’s under the hood has replaced the dial so the speak so it should be interesting to see what comes next!