Satoshi Wada about “U”
The watch that pursued the “quiet and beautiful future”
“If I consider the ‘W’ launched in 2012 as Adam, this new series ‘U’ is Eve. The design is unisex and timeless, and I wanted it to broaden the range of time. For example, the roman numerals are used for the indexes, but this isn’t just for the design. These numerals had existed over millennia, since ancient Rome. Using these vintage numerals means that the message from thousands of years ago has passed on to the present day. I wanted to scoop it up, transform it to the modern expression, and impart it to the next era,” Satoshi Wada explains.
For this simple and clean-cut “U”, he pursued the “beautiful ordinariness.” The watch has three hands, but no calendar. It makes use of the white space and even creates mysterious fluctuation generated by the curved dial and glass surface.
“Because of the current era of high technology and AI, I want to value the ‘power that can be felt by human beings.’ Only human beings can have emotional feelings. The narrowed shape of the side of the watch faced a lot of challenges at the manufacturing process. The “beauty” never fade away even in 100 years, but conversely, the “newness” becomes old very quickly. In this era, technology has advanced and surprises and impacts have become required. For that reason, I have a strong awareness of how to deal with that kind of era as a car designer and a creator of formative arts.”
If you look at “U” closely, you can find beautiful expressions here and there. The side of the case is not only drastically narrowed but also carefully polished. This was made possible by attaching the lug on the case back side, and this method is common to his previous work “W” just like movable lugs. Furthermore, the narrowed case hides the crown when viewed from the front, and that even accentuates the beauty of the form.
“Competitions have achieved technological innovations repeatedly, but they aren’t necessarily for human beings. How long are these competitions going to last? Aren’t hearts left behind? A vision of the quiet and beautiful future may not attract people very much, but an image of a chaotic future that incorporates all kinds of information and technologies would do. Nonetheless, I still want to draw the quiet and beautiful future where we can breathe deeply, instead of feeling “excitement.” “U” is “a watch like a novel.” For example, when I stand in the dynamic entrance area of the museum, the Pinakothek der Moderne, in Munich where I used to live in, I feel like I’m dragged into space or communicating with a future. I was also inspired by the huge clock of the museum, the Musée d’Orsay, in Paris. When I look at the clock, I feel like I travel back in time. These memories are incorporated in the watch as messages.”
An important capability of a watch is to show a current time accurately. However, if various kinds of memories and phrases cross our minds every time we look at a watch, that would definitely be fascinating. This watch is for those who sympathize with this kind of philosophy.
Car and product designer
Satoshi Wada joined Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. in 1984 after graduating from Musashino Art University (Tokyo, Japan). He also studied abroad at the Royal College of Art (London, UK) from 1989 through 1991. In 1998, he began working for Audi AG/Audi design in Germany and contributed to the Audi brands’ global expansion by designing the A5 that was called “the most beautiful coupé in the world.” In 2009 he left Audi to establish his own independent design studio, SWdesign TOKYO. Since then, he has been playing an active role mainly in automotive design, presenting new ideas of simplicity in products and life-styles for a new era.