Squaring the circle


In response to obtained knowledge, watches are naturally spherical. However that’s removed from being true in actuality. Many various shapes are doable, and the sq. is among the commonest.

It ought to come as no shock to be taught that the very first wristwatch – the Cartier Santos – had a sq. face. Louis Cartier designed it in 1904 for his pal, aviation pioneer Alberto Santos-Dumont. On the flip of the final century it was revolutionary, encapsulating a spirit of journey unleashed by the acceleration of technical progress. However the Santos was greater than that. Importantly, it enabled the aviator to inform the time with out letting go of the controls of his airborne automobile. Simply three years earlier, in 1901, the pilot shad proven his pal how tough it was to seek the advice of his pocket watch whereas flying. Louis Cartier grew to become an knowledgeable within the artwork of the sq.. In 1917 he unveiled the well-known Tank, impressed by a chicken’s-eye view of a navy tank. A pedant may level out that the Tank shouldn’t be actually an ideal sq. (with the notable exception of the Tank Chinoise). And that’s true, however while you’re trying on the sq. as an idea, you’re allowed to take a number of liberties, and develop the definition considerably.

Santos Dumont in metal, 43.5 x 31.5 mm, hand-wound motion, alligator strap. Cartier. CHF 5,700. © Cartier

This opens the best way for rounded corners, rectangles and the sleek form impressed by a cushion. Among the many excellent squares we’d point out is the TAG Heuer Monaco, an iconic timepiece launched in 1969. Not solely was it one of many first self-winding watches, it was additionally the primary chronograph with a waterproof sq. case. The Monaco rose to fame on the wrist of Steve McQueen, who wore one within the traditional Hollywood film Le Mans, though it’s past dispute that it’s the form of the case, designed by Jack Heuer, that makes this chronograph so distinctive.

Monaco Gulf Version in metal, 39 x 39 mm, computerized chronograph motion with date window, leather-based strap. TAG Heuer. CHF 7,250. © TAG Heuer

Richard Mille, who is thought for his tonneau-shaped instances, wished at the least one sq. watch in his assortment, and designed the RM 016.

RM 016 in titanium, 49.8 x 38 mm, skeletonised computerized motion with date window, rubber strap. Richard Mille. CHF 94,000. © Richard Mille

The identical goes for Hermès, which launched the Carré H in 2010. This formed watch designed by Marc Berthier is fashionable in its styling, and offers optimum legibility.

Carré H in metal, 38 x 38 mm, computerized motion, leather-based strap. Hermès. CHF 6,350. © Hermès

Readability can also be the watchword of Bell & Ross, which has made the sq. watch its signature. Bruno Belamich, B&R co-founder and artistic director, factors out: “The structure of our case lends itself to minimalism and radicality, lightness and energy. The form is instantly impressed by aeroplane cockpit devices and timepieces.”

BR-X5 in metal, 41 x 41 mm, computerized motion with date window and energy reserve indicator, metal bracelet. Bell & Ross. CHF 7,400. © Bell & Ross

From the sq., we transfer to the rectangle, and essentially the most well-known rectangular watch in historical past: the Reverso by Jaeger-LeCoultre. First launched in 1931, its fastidiously constructed design owes its traces to the Artwork Deco motion, and even at the moment embodies the spirit of that period.

Tribute Duoface Calendar in metal, 49.5 x 30 mm, hand-wound motion, day and month home windows, date hand, moon part show (entrance), day/evening indicator (again). Alligator strap. Jaeger-LeCoultre. CHF 14,700. © Jaeger-LeCoultre

A equally harmonious geometry and purity of line could be discovered within the Première de Chanel, designed in 1987 by Jacques Helleu, inventive director of the Maison at the moment, who mentioned: “I fought to make a robust, distinctive watch that would stay a reference, somewhat than being simply one other assortment.”

Première in yellow gold PVD metal, 26 x 20 mm, quartz motion, yellow gold PVD metal and leather-based bracelet. Chanel. CHF 5,450. © Chanel

The ultimate phrase goes to Patek Philippe, who has created a watch of excellent concord. The elliptical case of the Ellipse d’Or, a cushion form halfway between a circle and a rectangle, first appeared in 1968. This watch unapologetically distances itself from conventional timepieces, proudly owning its uncommon geometry, which is predicated on proportions which are recognized to be pleasing to the attention. The design is impressed by the Golden Ratio, the “divine proportion” found by Greek mathematicians, which could be present in a few of humanity’s biggest artworks and structure.