by Miguel Seabra
Through my lifelong passion, I have noticed that in the last decade, the look of a high-end watch has changed dramatically. To be more exact, in the past five years or so, the proliferation of new brands and the profusion of new designers – combined with a new century mind-set – transformed the industry.
After almost a century of the luxury watch industry staying the same, new materials and aesthetics are now widely spread and the nouvelle horlogerie can be characterized by the architectural geometry of the cases, structured tridimensional dials and ultra-elaborated mechanical calibres with exotic complications (though some can also be compared to UFOs and theme parks…).
Just like the modern timepiece was born with the Royal Oak it can be said that the contemporary watch was born with the Royal Oak Offshore Concept, in 2002. The ‘concept’ terminology was imported from the car industry – the association between cars and watches is a long one, but most of the times the automotive industry is way more innovative than watchmaking.
I bring up Chris Bangle specifically in this post because whenever I look at my Linde Werdelin Oktopus, with its audacious lines and edges, I can relate it to that ‘New Edge Design’ movement. In my humble view on the definition on a modern vs. classic watch, Linde Werdelin is the perfect example of a modern timepiece with its strap attachment system (quite interesting and a fundamental part of the modernity of the design). Morten Linde’s design could be labelled as way too cutting edge a few years ago but right now is completely in tune, if not trend-setting, with the contemporary horological art…
I met Miguel Seabra when Morten and I first set up Linde Werdelin. Miguel is one of Portugal’s most established journalists and has been covering watches for 15 years. Miguel’s knowledge and understanding of the industry from the inside makes it thought-provoking to talk to him, which is why we invited him to write his views on contemporary watches on The Lab. Miguel is also a LW watch owner.