Apple Watch Series 7 boasts enhanced durability and a robustly sleek profile
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•make your fridays matter with a well-read weekend
by Anmol AhujaPublished on : May 17, 2022
Time. A physical entity, and by that very definition, measurable in rather absolute terms and outcomes, even if in intervals or with reference to another point in time. Ironically though, it is also the one physical entity - an entire dimension perhaps - that has been visualised to be manipulated the most in one way or another. Arguably, the foundation of modern science-fiction itself may rest upon concepts related to time, including time travel tropes and parallel timelines. Throughout history, this increasingly complex yet seemingly direct entity that traverses a linear path but is measured on an axial plane, has been indigenously looked at differently between different cultures, until the invention of the modern watch, much in keeping with our diurnal cycles, simplifying the day into two recurring cycles of 12 hours - 720 minutes - 43,200 seconds each. For the team at US-based All Design Lab, this rather rigid way of measuring time seemed a hindrance to the operation of the creative mind and soul. In collaboration with footwear and fashion designer Miguel Peña, the team of designers sought to completely eliminate the numeric and arithmetic component, translating time and its passage to something abstract, emotional, and proportional to the user’s productivity and feelings.
"While debating how to repurpose this idea of time, we looked at a wide range of timepieces, from classics to the modern-day Apple Watch. We found that time is always told in its restrictive parameters. What if we imagined time centred not around hours but rather moments and habits throughout the day?”, enquired the team at All Design Lab, along with Peña, their primary collaborator on the design. It is this proverbial question that lead the designers of this timepiece to embark on completely reimagining the aesthetic and functioning of a watch to create Momentum. Unlike a traditional watch, Momentum, stylised as MMNTM, doesn’t operate on a traditional hour-based system, but instead adjudges the passage of time based on how the user spends their day. The watchface is composed of 45 individual fins, designed to rotate together, as well as go up and down, to signify to the user how their day is progressing. Based on positive and negative emotions or behavioural habits, Momentum spins faster or slower, telling the user differently whether their time is being utilised or wasted.
In a very metaphorical sense, the intervention tends to how we perceive the passage of time, without proposing an alternative way of measuring it. We feel time moves 'faster' or 'slower' depending on our levels of activity or moods through the day. All this, while the irrefutable fact remains that the rate of time passing remains the same for everyone, even if the number on the dial may vary across the world owing to latitudinal differences. In that, Momentum may thus be seen as a way of enhancing that perception itself - a completely personal intervention that operates differently for each user based on inadvertent, involuntary inputs they provide to the device. While that may take away from a certain notion of community, and even democracy associated with time, the device on your wrist would tell you to make your own.
Following the watch's design and conception that involved operating on a very abstract, largely thoughtful plane, the designers sought varied inspiration and relied on expansive research - from classic timepieces to smart wearables and smartwatches - to give form to their product design. The designers decided on a visual complexity to reflect and complement the abstraction of their idea, basing their design around a patterned texture, yet underrun by a functional simplicity. Their principal tangible inspiration lay in Kanye West and Kano’s STEMPLAYER in an aesthetic and functional sense. Much like the pocket-sized music player’s ability to repurpose and customise music by splitting into stems, along with its nifty form, Momentum too features an increasingly malleable design boasting softness in form. Both the strap and the case of the watch, with the latter housing the entire fin assembly, are designed to be modular in a way, detachable from each other to encourage individual use. The case can be magnetically attached to the unibody textured silicone strap, allowing the user to 'wear' time as they would like - on the wrist, in their pocket, or attached to their clothing. With its minimal yet striking design, the intent of the product is to attract subtle attraction, even while the product is increasingly oriented to a certain individualism and personalisation.
Momentum thus aligns its operational agenda eponymously, the rotating fans directly reflecting the 'momentum' and pace of the user’s actions throughout the day. For actions and habits generally perceived as positive, à la exercising, having lunch, meditating, or anything similarly mindful, the watch would maintain a healthy rotational speed, indicating a somewhat beneficial rhythm to the day. Conversely, it would speed up if the user ends up spending their time callously, including endless scrolling through social media apps, sitting for too long, working till late, etc. The increased momentum of the watch’s 'dial' would in turn signify faster passage of time, indirectly translating to wastage.
“The concept we built focuses on telling a deeper design story. Momentum concentrates on creating a ‘positive’ object that will generate new thoughts and discussions in the community,” states the design team at All Design Lab, on their aspirations with the product. Furthermore, on the future of the current conceptual design, the team states that designs and visualisations are "solely for media and would generally not work as mass-manufactured objects. Keeping this in mind, we kept the internal discussions away from mechanical possibilities and focused on visual presentation," explaining how their process was more anchored on the experimental thought of the project, more than the plausibility and pragmatism of its functioning. This also manifests in the diaphanous, membrane-like face of the watch, only providing a peek into the functioning of the presumably rotor assembly, visualised in beige, all-black, and two-tone deep sea coral shades.
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