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Inspired by the Past vs. Replicating the Past

Posted on July 10 2016

The Caliper View is inspired by technology from the fifties and sixties and yet it does not look anything like a watch from that time. It's a design that could only exist now. Our design reaches back for inspiration in order to create something new.

In the mid-century, all watches were mechanical.  There was no interest in open heart movements or glass-backs.  A timepiece was an essential tool. The finer the mechanism, the greater the accuracy. Here are a couple of examples from my collection.

Today you don't need a watch.  Your phone tells better time. Your computer tracks your schedule. If you want to carry something around to check the time, a plastic Casio is more accurate than the finest Swiss timepiece.

If we don't need them, why are mechanical watches so interesting now?

The purpose, meaning and value of watches is very different now. The value of wearing a mechanical timepiece is not just to tell time in order to catch a train or make a meeting.

In a world of ubiquitous, cheap and inscrutable electronics a mechanical device stands out in sharp contrast.  Unlike a electronic quartz watch, it's a mechanism that we can figure out - it's a technology that's within our grasp.  You can see how a mechanical watch works unlike the opaque functionality of electronic gadgets.

Today a mechanical watch is in no way the best tool for 'telling time'. Today, a mechanical timepiece represents craftsmanship and the inherent beauty of precision engineering.  Electronics may well ingenious, but they do not offer up a physical presence of this on a human scale.

So what are the values that the Caliper VIEW reflects?

  • The watch reflects the values of mastering and understanding technology. It reflects the desire to see and know how things work.
  • The timepiece embodies independence and self-reliance.  It needs no battery and is powered by the movements of the wearer.
  • The heft of solid steel and sapphire glass offers a tactile sense of quality.
  • The View indulges the joy of technical fascination - it facilitates the simple appreciation of a beautifully made machine.

This is not nostalgia. These are contemporary, if not timeless values. We've found an effective language to express these values in the solid utilitarian tools of the mid-century

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