I have always been into watches and creating a timepiece from scratch has been my plan since a long time. I decided to build a wristwatch with a heavy inspiration from Art Nouveau and Clockpunk aesthetics which could be worn casually as well as on special occasion. After researching watchmaking tutorials and identifying the ST3600k hand-wound mechanical watch movement by Seagull, which I finalized as the mechanism I would use, I realized I would need to search a lot for the specific components of the watch to suit my vision or design them from scratch to embody the Art Nouveau aesthetic.
So the art nouveau aesthetic is defined by long flowy lines, maybe some natural designs or flowery patterns. And has no linear shapes, circles or any geometric shapes. It also emphasizes the use of materials such as leather, steel, brass, copper, or even ornamental materials like gold silver and gems. The clockpunk aesthetic emphasizes on the showcase of the moving gears and clockwork mechanism. For my watch, I decided on using the seagull made st3600k skeletonized hand wound movement as I could find it having suitable designs and was also within my budget. The aim of the project was to build a unique timepiece that would combine both of these aesthetics while I also learn about building and assembling watches in the process.
To achieve my vision, the watch case, leather band, watch hands, crown, watch dial, and band buckle would require designs that would suit the Art Nouveau aesthetic, such as intricate patterns, handcrafted designs, and the use of various materials like wood, leather, steel, copper, silver, gold, and even gems. And I also needed the inner gears and clockwork visible to the viewer which would also suit the clockpunk aesthetic. As a result, I finalized the ST3600k skeletonized movement with designs engraved that fit my vision and matching watch components were found or made.
Functionally, the watch would need to have all the hour, minute and seconds hands, and the watch case should also have a glass back to view the gears from the other side. The aim of the project was to build a unique oxymoron of a modern yet antique timepiece, learn watchmaking skills, and implement my own design vision, especially in custom design components. However, the overall look of the watch seems a lot more antique than I desired and I would add an additional post utilizing the plain black watch case I ordered as a contingency which might seem more modern and suitable for casual use.
Here are my initial sketch, the dial I made, and the final assembled watch.
As I couldn’t find the dial, I also had to design and make my own.
I have accomplished my design vision very well but it seems I went a bit overboard with the implementation of the Art Nouveau aesthetic and made the watch look antique and thus the next planned revision for the project. I also needed to learn quite a lot more than expected about how to build my own watch. Just considering mechanical movements, there are two types in it, one being hand-wound mechanical movement and the other being automatic mechanical movement which winds the watch using wrist movements. And there are dozens of movements and variants within these sub types as well, each having different standards, sizes, and an exponentially more number of compatible parts that are need to build the watch as a whole. I had to learn about the selection process for the specific components as well as finding and using the watch making tools. This has been a fun journey!
Link to my final presentation: ArtisanalTime Final Presentation Video
Citations and references:
Coreldraw and Vinyl cutting