Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Virtual Ideas is watch design firm based in Geneva Switzerland. Their job is to assist existing watch companies come up with new ideas for watches to be labeled under those particular brand names. Virtual Ideas is what is considered an outside design firm - but fully qualified to design timepieces from the ground up. Their favorite pastime? Making interesting watch concept creations to attract the eyes of watch lovers and companies alike.
Seen here are three of their latest watch concept creations. A rugged man's watch and who interesting women's watches. Often times Virtual Ideas will "adopt" the thematic look of one brand, and come up with a new creations that might fit into the product family. You might notice that these watches may fit the designs you associate with one or more brands - this is done on purpose.
The first watch is known as the Virtual Ideas Concept 3. The case is meant to be made mostly out of Gibeon meteorite. The interesting material is sometimes chosen as a fantastic looking watch dial, but this is the first time I've noticed it as the material for a watch case. This would make for a very interesting looking watch. Such meteorite material is mostly iron with smaller amounts of nickel, graphite, trolite, and traversite in the rock. Not only that, but the crystalline structure of the rock is amazing to behold, and would be truly dynamic looking in this black color (meteorites can be chemically dyed all sorts of colors). The watch would have a chronograph movement with a large date display. This fits the mold of several popular watch movements out there (both mechanical and quartz). Of course this is designed as a luxury watch, but could be "scaled down." Note how the rubber strap is integrated into the case while the textured large pushers make up for a large part of the watch's personality. Done in the now hip tonneau shape case, this watch would be a hit for urban warriors and alike.
Next is the Virtual Ideas Concept 4 haute joaillerie women's watch. Shaped like a large heart, the timepiece is carefully designed to allow for the set diamonds to help make up the shape of the watch, rather than just adorn it. he diamond dial looks clean and crisp, as though it may have a mirror surface to it. It reminds me of the dance floor in a fantasy ball room. The classic hands are elegant but not too minimalistic, having a ornate design to them. The watch would be made of white gold most likely, and uses large diamonds to frame the dial on the perfect heart-shaped case. Diamonds vertically oriented around the sides of the case give it a deeper and more substantial look. One lug for the strap at the bottom mixed with two lugs at the top connect a thin galuchat strap. The dainty crown emphasizes the horological character of the watch, while enhancing the inherent femininity of the design. While heart-shaped watches have been done before, this take on the theme feels fresh and refined.
Last is the Virtual Ideas Concept 2, another women's watch with a new type of complication that epitomizes the goal of novel haute horology. This impressive women's watch is broad and meant to be relatively thin. It also calls for a rather complex movement - akin to something a mind like Christophe Claret might imagine. The main dial of the watch is functional but straight forward. The time, date (on two discs) and AM/PM indicator are displayed. You can see that Virtual Ideas is keen on this particular hands design that is also exhibited on the Concept 4 watch in a similar style. The inner dial has guilloche machine engraving, while the outer part of the time dial has traditional looking thin Roman numerals. This entire watch dial is set off-centered on the face of the watch.
The rest of the face is dedicated to three rotating rings, that each rotating opposite one another. So the inner and outer rings rotate counter-clockwise, while the inner ring rotates clockwise. The idea is for the three segments to make up numbers at the top of the watch face and for the number to accurately read "12" when the time is 12 o'clock. Such a system would require a novel movement that is able to power all of these functions properly. The thin bezel of the watch would be diamond decorated, while the rest of the case is relatively sober in style and has a Cartier like blue jeweled cabochon crystal in the crown. Strap in this case looks comfortable as white rubber.
Together the concepts are but three of Virtual Idea's creations. The irony is that once these designs are released for public viewing they are considered "dead." Why? Because brands that end up releasing designs from firms like Virtual Ideas must keep the design's secret as to prevent competing brands from "borrowing" the design ideas. As such, while elements of these watches may show up in future timepieces, these designs are strictly concepts made to wet your appetite.
By Ariel Adams