Getting straight into the thick of things for this final part, here is a watch that takes on the one and only Rolex Datejust. The goal for this piece was to draw a versatile vintage-inspired gold watch with a date cyclops that wasn’t just a Datejust. Gold is difficult to render and the Datejust is one hell of a competitor so I figured it would make for an interesting drawing. From a design/layout perspective the original drawing is quite satisfactory. I started with a simple design like the Datejust but deviated from Rolex by using needle hands, moving the seconds hand to a subdial, and not using an oyster-looking case. The rendering of the gold case however was less satisfactory, I went a bit too far in some areas with the dark shading and could have been a lot cleaner overall with my marker use.
The new goal then for the redesign was more or less the same, but with a defined benchmark in the old watch. Like modern Rolex watches, I enlarged some of the details like the hour markers and the cyclops itself. The hands changed to lumed dauphine hands and the seconds hand turned from blue to gold. I also included lume pips around the minute track to enhance legibility.
The case is the largest visual change. While it is still rather conservatively designed with a stepped bezel and curved lugs, the case features a large crown guard flowing out from the right-hand lugs. This asymmetry highlights an ease of use feature: the quickset date changer. Like the Datejust, I wanted this watch to not only be easy to read, but also easy to interact with. However for the date changer I was not inspired by Rolex, but by a piece that I own: a vintage Benrus calendar watch. Instead of pulling the crown out and winding it to change the date, on this Benrus watch the crown is also a button that when pressed will make the date jump. It makes changing the date a quick and fun affair, however the downside is a less waterproof watch and a crown that is more susceptible to damage from knocks. Adding crown guards takes care of the knocking problem, and as for waterproofing, maybe don’t swim with your gold watch…
Speaking of gold, I am much happier with the gold tone rendering on this one. Since drawing the older watch, I have purchased a lighter yellow marker that makes it a lot easier to simulate gold. It is still a challenge and if anything I think that this watch is actually slightly underfinished, but it is a result I will take any day over a drawing that has gone too far in its coloring.
Vintage Style Diver
17 December 2015 & 24 September 2016
In the first article when I mentioned not being able to draw and color a simple dive watch within an hour, this was the watch I was referring to. Dive watch drawings were a rarity in the first year and a half of the One Hour Watch series mostly due to the fact that I (still) cannot swim. At some point in December of 2015 I read or saw something about the Zodiac Sea Wolf 53, a vintage style dive watch that must have zapped something in my brain because since then dive watches have become incredibly attractive timepieces. The Sea Wolf is a bit of an ugly duckling but it inspired me to try some new things out like a super wide lug width, a rotating bezel and very bold hands. Exploring all this new territory in one watch was the thing that lead to not being able to finish the drawing. No matter how clear the vision in my mind was for this watch, its translation onto paper turned out to be a very time consuming affair.
There was going to be hell to pay if I failed to color this watch on a second attempt, and even though this was a simple design that I had already drawn, I almost ran out of time again! The layout for the dial was initially straight forward, but I got distracted by trying to move the hour markers around, resizing them and playing with the bezel markers. Suddenly half an hour had past and it was time to quickly ink and color this beast. In all honesty I did run short on time before writing down a logo and depth rating on the dial but those are pretty minor things and I would rather omit them than have an uncolored case or bezel.
Scallop Bezel GMT
16 January 2016 & 26 September 2016
Drawing on colored paper will always be part of the One Hour Watch series; it provides opportunity, challenge, and fun. For this part of the Review, I wanted to see the effect of color on the same design. The watch I chose was a vintage style GMT dual time watch with a scalloped bezel, drawn on some wicked green paper. The watch took cues from the Eberhard Scafograf and Junghans Meister Pilot and the result was a design that easily lent itself to alternate color schemes.
There were a bunch of different paper options from some purple and mauve papers, to smooth blue, a pulpy but creamy yellow, a few browns, etc. The paper I settled on was a textured orange, it contrasted the green in the right ways and was not so toothy or fragile as to pose a challenge to draw on. I think that the orange paper suits this design far better than the green. In combination with the pass through leather strap, the orange bezel now matches the GMT hand, and the paper even gives the black dial a warmth not present in the green version. There were a couple of aesthetic changes I made on the updated version such as putting large bevels on the lugs to match the scalloped bezel. The date ring has also been changed to a white on black version.
Dial-side Micro Rotor
26 February 2016 & 28 September 2016
Outside of the OHW Review there are a handful of watches that have been drawn multiple times. The first watch of the series gets redrawn every 100 watches, and there have been a few designs that I have revisited to try and improve. The results have been varied and this complex watch is a prime example of spending too much time trying to make the dial layout accurate. The original design for this watch was drawn on December 11th, 2014, it was OHW 102 and I immediately saw it had potential for a future revision.
That revision came on February 26th, 2016 and at the end of the hour I was left extremely dissatisfied with the practically colorless assembly of circles I had drawn. The layout of the dial was far more refined and better showed off the golden micro rotor, but the Côtes de Genève finishing that really made this design stand out was nowhere to be found. So a third iteration was called for and that drawing found its way into this review.
The constant reminder that I needed to keep in mind for all of the watches in the review, but especially this one was, don’t get caught up trying to add too many new things. Making changes was already time consuming, but adding new features or complications was a whole other time sink. I nearly fell into that trap when I decided to change the appearance of the winding barrel and add in a click spring. The main goal for this watch was to re-introduce the Côtes de Genève finishing and color the case. There were however a few changes that I wanted to make: Scale down the lugs, and get rid of the unnecessary seconds hand. Having a seconds hand on a watch with a visible escapement and micro rotor can introduce an overload of moving elements, not to mention all of the moving glints and reflections you would get with a Côtes de Genève dial.
Finishing this watch was extremely satisfying. It combined the spirit of the original drawing and the accuracy of the second version. There are still things to develop with this concept but this third iteration is a drastic improvement.
Skeleton Jump Hour
15 April 2016 & 30 September 2016
There is always a risk of not being able to finish a design within a time limit. It is a risk I revisit every day when drawing a new One Hour Watch, and a risk made doubly apparent for this review project. At the onset of the review I was quite nervous about not finishing watches since these were based off of existing designs, but as the project progressed it became apparent that my fears were mostly unfounded. Nearly all the review watches were drawn to a finished state, and even those that were missing some final coloring still ended up far better than their predecessors.
Any past success however was checked at the door when I chose this watch to be the final design for the review. It was a deadly combination of elements: A heavily skeletonized jump hour regulator… with a flying tourbillon thrown in for ‘fun’. The initial drawing was so unfinished that I felt compelled to add annotations to clear up any confusion caused by this mess of graphite. There were some pretty complex designs earlier in the Review, but this watch was without a doubt going to be the most difficult to complete.
Before putting pencil to paper, I took my time observing the original design as well as its biggest inspiration, the Angelus U20 Ultra-Skeleton Tourbillon. While looking at the watches, I made mental notes on pitfalls where I could spend too much time, or areas I wanted to change. Right off the bat I needed to add in space for a minute track, one of the more egregious omissions of the original design. The winding mechanism was simplified, and the biggest change was to move the hour ring to the bottom of the movement rather than staying closer to the top. The reason for this move was to increase the magnification provided by a bubble in the crystal. The move unfortunately also made the mainspring barrel more visible and with it, the temptation to add in more elements. This was the trap I was trying to avoid with the previous micro rotor watch, but I fell straight into it on this skeletonized jump hour. At one point in the hour I had a bunch of Greubel Forsey style bridges connecting various elements, but the layout did not work. Ultimately all of these bridges (apart from the one under the tourbillon) were removed as I scrambled to finish more important details. Unfortunately time kept on ticking and I ended the drawing by doing a bit of damage control: only color the most important bits of the concept.
Ultimately the final watch from the OHW Review will remain the most unfinished. I think that even without wasting time on alternative layouts, this drawing would not have been completely colored by sixty minutes, there were too many changes and too many things to color. I would be lying if I said it was not a disappointing way to end the project, but at the same time this final watch is a poignant reminder of how quickly time can pass, and how important it is to put a priority on some elements over others. Overall I believe that the OHW Review was a success, each watch was more colorful, and more refined than what came before. There were not any simple line drawings, and honestly there was a lot of fun to be had revisiting some old designs.
Going forward, this review has also provided some great insight into the process of design and of drawing. It was a great way to start a new year of drawing watches and I am sure it will have a lasting effect on the future of the series.