Philipp's watch hands over future of design

A new range of ‘community-designed’ watches will have enthusiasts ticking with pride this month, as a Kickstarter to see it land on wrists goes live.

Philipp Schoenfisch, creator of the ‘Wayfarer’ and designer-in-residence at Dundee’s Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design (DJCAD), said more than 300 watch collectors have come forward to help advise on the final design of his watch, from fit and finish to colours.

The ‘Wayfarer’, the first in a range of collaborative watches planned by the German designer under the brand Akura, will go from web-idea to wrist this year, as the Kickstarter launches on Wednesday 31 July.

The Wayfarer is a durable sports watch built to ‘go anywhere and do anything’ and has been inspired by expedition watches of the past, whilst staying rooted in the present with a fresh new design.

Digital technology is enabling brands like Akura to be closer than ever to their customers, and this is something I wanted to embrace. For example, the choice between a non-proprietary strap system or changes to hands and dial were informed by the watch community.

“Being able to work with the community means that in the future I can work directly with them and design the watch to their specifications in order to deliver the best watches possible.”

Black, red and grey ‘Wayfarer’ watches will be available at launch, with blue and white versions also planned.

Philipp’s residency at DJCAD will end this month but the designer says he plans to stay and work in Dundee. The 27-year-old believes his love for timepieces began when he received his grandfather’s watch.

“There are emotions and history built into watches. We have a golden Zenith watch from my grandfather that is now a treasured family heirloom and this happens the world over.

“You could in theory just look at your phone and never need a watch but there is a reason the watch market is still worth $18 billion and this really intrigued me. I wanted to know why we wear them and why it get invokes this emotional response.”