Friday 26 June 2020

Vannen launch USS Enterprise artist watches

Watch makers Vannen have entered the world of Star Trek with two new watches inspired by the USS Enterprise and designed by artist Tom Whalen. Available now, the USS Enterprise watch is offered in grey or white variants, with just 200 being produced of each. Continue below to check them out, and find out how they were made:

Here's a closed look at the different designs, as you can see there's some slight variations in the colouring depending on the base colour, with the white watch featuring grey panels, and the grey watch using blue. Here's how Vannen describe their construction:
Each watch features silkscreen artwork on the straps, dial, loop, and on the inside surface of the crystal as well as custom Star Trek etchings on the stainless steel back casing and crown

If the artwork seems familiar, that's because it was based on another piece by Tom Whalen originally made for the 50th anniversary 50 Artists 50 Years art exhibition. A version of Whalen's piece was also used for the cover of the book cataloguing the exhibition.

Vannen have released loads of information and behind the scenes images and video about the design of their watch in a blog, interview, and social media posts. Here we can see Tom Whalen at work on the packaging and watch design.

Curprisingly, to Whalen as well as me it seems, they actually designed the packaging first and then spun the watch design out of that. As s discussed between Whalen and Vannen's David Stowe in their interview:
Whalen: To be honest, I had the whole process wrong in my head before we started. I thought for sure that starting with the watch first would have been the way to go. But going in with you – and you having that experience of how to design a watch and packaging – I quickly realized the watch has to be an extension of the packaging and the overall experience. I'm very grateful for the way you guided me through the process.

Stowe: Glad to help. Once your packaging was finished, we talked about taking elements from the ship and putting those bits on the watch and also creating new, unseen elements from the ship. Like creating your version of the hull/bridge and using that as the centerpiece of the watch. With that said, what was the best part of working on the watch? Was it the process of seeing it come to life, or was it simply just reaching the finish line?

Whalen: What I really loved seeing were the variations and colorways next to each other, and seeing those come to life during the process. Usually, it’s about the end result, and that's where I normally get my satisfaction. But seeing the piece completed and knowing what the watch took from the box art to become a watch was something else. Having to add and subtract to then learn where art should be, or shouldn't be, and where imagery should land so that it all comes together to create a piece that looks really cool, was a process.
Stowe also elaborated:
One of the things I try to help designers with when we start working together is to let them know they need to be thinking 20 steps ahead of their current concept to make sure their watch and box are cohesive. Most people focus on the center of the watch, and then the straps are an afterthought with zero consideration, and then the box also becomes an afterthought. But with your design, the centerpiece of the watch is a great focal point, and then strap artwork complements the dial and crystal. Thus it all feels like an extension of the packaging. I'm thrilled for people to see it in person and appreciate all the detail.
Vannen released a couple of videos showing the packaging being die-cut:

And the final prints:

As a bonus for some randomly selected customers, a few of boxes have been signed by Whalen. And here he is proving it!

If this is the watch for you, they're available now on Vannen's website.

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