Hello, aBlogtoWatch audience! Are you ready to design a timepiece with Geneva-based watchmaker Raymond Weil? Welcome to a very special promotion aBlogtoWatch is doing in collaboration with the Swiss watchmaker that puts all of you in the position of watch designer. We asked, “What would be the best way for a community like ours to create a new watch design together?” Collaboration watches are all the rage right now, so aBlogtoWatch wanted to imagine an opportunity for a watchmaker to collaborate with the world’s largest timepiece enthusiast community. The goal isn’t just to come up with something fresh but also to create a watch many of us actually want to put on our wrist. That is the genesis for this aBlogtoWatch and Raymond Weil product design experience.

First, let’s discuss what this experience is not. It is not a mere exercise in putting a new dial color on an existing product. It is not an aBlogtoWatch-branded product. It is not a way to simply “crowdsource” a product design with the intention of merely selling it back to that same audience. This will be a serially produced watch that will be sold in the retail market. The aBlogtoWatch audience will get a chance to purchase the product at a below-retail price (when the product is actually ready), but the aim of this exercise is to create something with mainstream commercial appeal that will be sold by Raymond Weil authorized dealers.

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What you will see over the next few months is a series of articles related to this watch design collaboration experience. Each article will ask one major question of the audience, and you can both vote for your choice and also offer comments after the article, which will be carefully read by the Raymond Weil design team. The philosophy here is that most watch brands are at their best when their mandate is to design a watch for a particular purpose. Our favorite brands operate like tool companies that are creating a tool for a particular purpose. In this scenario, the aBlogtoWatch audience is going to tell Raymond Weil what purpose it is building a tool for, then help the people at Raymond Weil narrow down the design choices as the product goes from conceptual theme to final rendition before production. If the concept works, then the resulting watch should be pretty interesting and worth going through the process to finally see.

There are a lot of good questions, such as how much will the watch cost and how many will Raymond Weil produce? It is too early to answer most of those questions at this time. The project phase we are in right now is to determine what theme Raymond Weil should build the watch around. In other words, what purpose should this time-telling tool be conceived for? Given Raymond Weil’s close association with the world of music, aBlogtoWatch thought it would be a good idea to begin by allowing the aBlogtoWatch audience to choose among a selection of five musical genre eras, each with an associated aesthetic and style. For the purposes of this watch design experience, we will refer to each genre with a type of musician that we imagine would wear the resulting watch. The options are: Hip-Hop Producer, Ukulele Player, Jazz Player, Orchestra Director, or New Wave Synth Player. Let’s hear more about each below and then you can choose which you’d like to see a watch designed for by Raymond Weil.

Hip-Hop Producer

Think Los Angeles, New York, and other major metropolitan centers rich with modern culture and energy. Imagine the bustling streets, tall buildings, and ambition in the air. Fashion is fresh and inspired by people on the streets. It combines pop culture with high-volume themes and a musical sound meant to gather attention as much as it is to communicate a message. The hip-hop music world is fast, competitive, and flashy, and so are the watches. Bright colors, precious metals, shiny materials, and flair are necessary parts of the experience. Go bold or go home.

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Ukulele Player

Music meant to relax the spirit is the specialty of this genre, and one of its most popular instruments is the always friendly-sounding ukulele. Often heard playing in paradise, the sound of this string instrument evokes a combination of celebration and tropical calm. In the hands of a skilled player, it can even power ballads. Think destinations like Hawai’i, French Polynesia, and the mysteries of the South Pacific. Colors range from volcanic black to warm aquamarine waters. Sports are all near water, including surfing, swimming, and boating. The watch needs to fit the scene while surviving the activities.

Jazz Player

Loud smoky rooms, deep soulful sounds, and the clambering of brass and wood instruments in the hands of seasoned veterans. Jazz uses classic instruments in modern ways while often eschewing classic structure for raw rhythm and energy. Successful jazz music is rarely a solo act. It’s the chemistry among a team of like-minded associates that pleases the good-time-seeking audience. The jazz player is dressed professionally like a host, but also casually like an entertainer. No one band member is supposed to stand out, but rather each is there to support the group. Tasteful and classy, with a bit of an avant-garde edge is what wears best on the wrist.

Orchestra Conductor

The weight of culture is on their shoulders. It is up to them to keep the classics sounding stellar and support the institution that is the orchestra. Moments before the music starts, the acoustically engineered hall is silent. All eyes are on the conductor to control the various sections of prime seats, each bearing a master of their musical tools. What separates the mediocre from the best isn’t the musical composition but the refinement in expressing it through the work of the conductor. The responsibility, just like the reward of hearty applause, feels massive. Black and white formal attire mixes with architecture, both traditional and modern, that sets the aesthetic tone for this theme.

New Wave Synth Player

Electronics are changing everything. Prior to the age of full digital music was the prolific era of electronically altered analog music. Electronics didn’t just invade the music itself but also the culture, the clubs, the advertising, and the imagination. Synthetic and analog music mixed together with contemporary ideas for an original sound that ushered in a new wave of taste and fashion. Industrial design and rebellion combine with class conflict and social politics for a charged musical genre theme that results in a playful bend on an era preoccupied with boundless consumerism.

Are you feeling inspired? As a member of the aBlogtoWatch audience, your task now is to vote below for your choice of musical genre theme that you’d like Raymond Weil to design a watch for. Then, you can even offer more specific advice or suggestions to the Raymond Weil design team who will be reading the comments below (thank you in advance for being pleasant). For the purposes of making a design choice for this watch design experience, votes and comments for this phase of the project will end two weeks after the publication of this article. Thanks for participating, and we look forward to Part 2 of “aBlogtoWatch Audience Designs The Next Raymond Weil Watch,” when we will choose among a few draft watch designs that fit the theme. Thank you, audience, from the aBlogtoWatch team and Raymond Weil.

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