Design is everywhere. It dictates the world around us and manifests our creative energy. While watches fulfill a niche experience by fusing engineering, fashion, and art, the design world’s influence permeates everything, from the chair you’re sitting in to the water bottle in your hand. This is why it’s noteworthy when brands collaborate with designers to create timepieces that live forever, immortalizing their design. While Gerald Genta and Jack Heuer worked solely in the watch industry and found timeless success, brands that choose to involve designers such as Konstantin Grcic, with the new Rado Ceramica, or Mark Braun, with the Nomos Glashütte Metro Datum Gangreserve, help reinvigorate their brands with fresh perspective. In this section, we’ve photographed nine watches that are either a product of creative partnerships or have had a lasting design impact in the watch world.
Styled by Logan R. Baker and Shyam Patel
Photography by Jens Mortensen
Hamilton released the ODC X-03 earlier this year at the brand’s annual Behind the Camera Awards in Los Angeles. The watch was designed in collaboration with Academy Award-nominated production designer Nathan Crowley, best known for his work on Interstellar. The watch features three total movements, two quartz and one tiny 17.5 mm automatic ETA 2671, to tell three different times at once: home time, local time, and Universal Coordinated Time (UTC). Price: 3,500 CHF
The release of the Slim d’Hermès in 2015 firmly solidified the French fashion marque as a player in the watch industry. Through an agreement with Vaucher/Parmigiani, Hermès has been able to produce the entire watch, from the movement to the leather strap, in-house. The unique, one-of-a-kind numerals were designed by French graphic designer Philippe Apeloig and give the watch a distinguished design that separates it from the pack. Price: $18,500
The ultra-thin Slim Classique wristwatch is a testament to Ralph Lauren’s taste. The intricate guilloché dial and bezel have an alluring texture that captivates the gaze. This 42 mm version provides a surprising amount of balance to its 5.35 mm thickness. Inside, the minute case beats the RL430 caliber, a workhorse movement that offers a 40-hour power reserve. Price: $19,600
Tag Heuer’s redesigned Monaco Caliber 12 stays true to its predecessor, which was popularized by Steve McQueen in the 1971 autoracing film Le Mans. Designed by Jack Heuer and Erwin Piquerez, the Monaco automatically became a design legend by being the world’s first waterproof square faced automatic chronograph. Price: $5,350.
Zenith and Land Rover not only share their birth year, 1969, but also their aptitude for masterful engineering and affinity for simplified design. The 42 mm ceramic-coated aluminum case alludes to the luxury SUV’s chassis, while the brushed gray dial emblazoned with “Range Rover” resembles the vehicle’s minimal dashboard controls. Price: $8,700.
Legendary watch designer Gerald Genta once said that he viewed the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak as his greatest success. The octagonal design seamlessly blended Swiss craftsmanship with Italian design sensibilities, and it has remained an icon for 45 years. The subtle silver-tone of this model’s dial accentuates the grande tapisserie design pattern and opens it up toward a more modern audience. Price: $17,800
Arguably Genta’s most popular design, the Patek Philippe Nautilus helped usher in the popularity of luxury sports watches as a whole. This Nautilus Annual Calendar Ref. 5726/1A-001 comes with a moon phase indicator and the hearty in-house Caliber 324 QA LU 24H/303 movement. Price: $47,600
Nomos Glashutte partnered with Berlin-based designer Mark Braun to create a suave timepiece for polished urbanites. With its slim 7.65 mm dial, curved sapphire crystal glass, and mint indexes, style is in the details. Braun’s innate sophistication and Nomos’s proclivity for precision converge in this graceful timepiece. Price: $3,780.
Revived by industrial designer Konstantin Grcic, the new iteration of Rado’s Ceramica is made of high-tech ceramic; the result is an ultralight, scratch-resistant timepiece that’s cool to the touch. The streamlined silhouette, graphic typography, and velvety black surface speak to Grcic’s minimal yet striking aesthetic. Pictured beneath the dial, the Montblanc M fountain pen by Marc Newson echoes the same sleek sensibility with its black resin exterior and smooth magnetic cap closure. Rado Price: $2,100. Montblanc Price: $565.