Every BWC watch takes a year in the making. Starting with concept and design, prototyping, and production, followed by QC, our teams spend an inordinate amount of time in each project. For the longest time, we've wanted to bring you into this process (virtually as best as we can) and provide you a view of what goes into a new watch project.
While you are managing work and home during these challenging times, here is some long-form content that you can bookmark for some late-afternoon reading with a beverage of your choice. These topics about design, prototyping, and production can be dense at times, so we are breaking this down into capsules for you. We'll bring this to you in a multi-part series over the next few weeks.
So, whiskey and bitters on the ready?
What inspires our design?
Many watch brands are design-led companies. What you buy is ownership of a unique (and often attractive) timepiece that is so distinct that one can tell straight away what you're wearing on your wrist. No matter what style of watch you buy from these brands - dress, sport, dive, or aviation - the unique and eccentric design pops-out of your wrist and grabs attention. An excellent example of this is Ressence Watches.
Bangalore Watch Company is not a design-led watch brand. There is no avant-garde design or unusual feature that pops out of your wrist when you wear one of our watches. Instead, we want each of our wristwatches to tell a story - ones that have a deep and meaningful connection to us, and we hope it will to you. It is a different form of self-expression that doesn't grab instant attention. Instead, it draws you and your spectator into its story and a conversation.
We're always in the lookout for stories and inspirations in India that we can turn into watch collections. Our worldview is that of a 21st century India - a modern, young, and vibrant nation. It is deliberately divergent from, what we believe, is an antiquated worldview of India - of exotic gods, and floral motifs. This view forms the basis of our design process.
What are our design guidelines?
Often, we find ourselves designing concepts that will never see the light of day. Once we identify an inspiring story, we follow a few straightforward guidelines for turning the story into a watch:
Understated, but timeless design.
We are not a fashion-watch brand. We don't launch new collections for spring/summer or autumn/winter. Contrary to the fashion-watch trend, we make watches that are intentionally understated (Read: not purported to grab attention). We strive for a form factor that is classic and is timeless. A 40mm dress watch in the Renaissance Automatic or a 42mm Pilot watch in the MACH 1 are timeless designs that we are confident will not go "out of fashion." We do not follow trends; an example is a slightly disturbing flight to making bronze dive watches. We see them all around us, but BWC will only make a bronze watch when the storytelling demands us to use a bronze case.
A familiar package with layers of storytelling.
Watchmaking has been around for a couple of centuries now. It is challenging to produce a wristwatch that doesn't come across as being derivative of something that already exists. We don't re-invent the wheel. Our goal is to design watches that look familiar at first - creating a comfort level for you to try them on - but load them to the brim with layers upon layers of storytelling.
We don't overdo themes either. For instance, you'll appreciate how the MiGs on the MACH 1 do not manifest themselves anywhere on the dial-side. They are quietly tucked away on the caseback to be revealed in all its 36mm splendor once you turn the watch around.
There are usually layers of stories as you 'peel the onion.' Why does the Renaissance Automatic have a Citizen Japan movement as opposed to a Swiss Automatic movement? Why does the Indian tri-color on the MACH 1 appear inverted starting with green as opposed to starting with saffron? What is the meaning of the six stars on the back of the MACH 1 with 3 MiGs flying in a formation? And why, for instance, is our MACH 1 black strap named "Farkhor Black"? These are layers of stories that we embed not only into the watches but also into the accessories and packaging.
Attention to detail.
For the uninitiated, our watches look like any other watch. But trained eyes like yours will not miss the attention to detail. Examples are the Sapphire Crystal not only on the top side but also on the exhibition caseback of the Renaissance Automatic, the 3D-printed C3 superluminova numbers on the MACH 1, the logo engraved on the crown and buckles, and the genuine leather reinforcement around the buckle-pin-holes of the MACH 1 straps to extend their life and longevity. These little details exist for a reason, and they were deliberate attempts to include them in the watch.
We spend countless hours during production and prototyping to get these details right. The excitement of adding these little details while we design, soon fades as we learn the manufacturing challenges of executing the minutiae. We set high standards for ourselves, and are incredibly proud of the level of attention to detail in the watches.
A method to this madness?
As we pick stories around us, we're also looking for ways to create more variety for you. When we debuted with the story of mid-century watches from India, we made a dress watch out of it. When we followed-up with an aviation story, we made a Pilot watch out of it. In just a short time, you'll have more options to choose from the BWC catalog - be it dress, sport, aviation, or others.
As we narrow down on the story, a design starts materializing in our heads. At this point, we also have a fair idea of the type of watch we want to create through the story (dress, sport, aviation, etc.). Before the pencil meets the paper, we work out some critical decisions like the movement to use, the complications that will come through, and the materials to use. We also draft a high-level project timeline at this point.
We are now ready to start designing the watch.
We get asked a lot about the thought process that goes into our designs, and why we're adamant in our understated design aesthetic. We hope this story gives you some color to understand our vision and design philosophy. We'll bring you the 'meat and potatoes' of the design process, prototyping, and production process in a series of stories in the coming weeks.