Worlds thinnest watch by Watches and Pencils

Watches & Pencils #42 – Because You Can Doesn’t Mean You Should

Teun van Heerebeek
October 01, 2018
Watches & Pencils #42 – Because You Can Doesn’t Mean You Should

Technique and functionality can be wonderful. They can make life easier, provide better user experience and are an ideal hook to show off to your friends. This also applies to watches. But, is focus on technique always the best way to go?

Thin, Thinner, Thinnest

A good example is a race for the world’s thinnest watch. While the current records are quite an accomplishment I wonder if we (the customer) still care about that 0,005mm less thickness. Is it not just a battle between the brands? Although it might sound like a waste of money I’m sure a lot of us prefer this ‘marketing method’ above another method: pay a higher premium on every watch from the brand to pay first class actors to promote watches from the particular brand. By the way, if the race of the thinnest watch goes on, we might and up with this:

Worlds thinnest watch by Watches and Pencils

Yes, we need technical development. Sometimes crazy experiments. But as a side-dish. Almost everyone wants the watch brand’s main course to be a whole bunch of tasty, good looking, smoothly operating and functional watches.

Watch Design VS Watch Technique

In my opinion design and technique should go hand in hand. When you create something beautiful but it doesn’t function the chances of success are minimal. The same goes for technique. I won’t bet on a watch stuffed with new technical features that looks ugly. It’s the art of finding the sweet spot between design and technique. But, since we’re human beings and focussed on first looks I would bet on watch design if you can’t do both.

watch design

Supercool, but not as daily beater. Or is it?

No Inspiration

While the pipeline of technical possibilities might seem endless, the pipeline of watch design certainly is not. The visual side, especially concerning the dial, has more constraints. Watch technique is still developing rapidly, while the design part doesn’t (at least less fast). Maybe this is also one of the reasons we see a lot of technical development instead of new watch designs? If you’re interested in more about watch designs, please read more about this in a  previous episode (link to the article about watch designs).


To sum up and come back to the race for the thinnest watch: because you can doesn’t mean you should. And when you decide to do it, always try to keep the watch lover centered. It’s cool to have a record, but it’s even more cool to have a happy crowd of watch fans on your side. What is your opinion on this topic? We’d like to hear from you!

NOMOS Tangente Automatik - watch design

Nomos ultra-thin movement, 3.2mm thick

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Teun van Heerebeek
About the author

Teun van Heerebeek

Teun van Heerebeek is contributor and visual artist to Fratello Watches. With his Watches & Pencils illustrations and other articles he likes to explore the vast watch-lands in all its diversity. His love for watches mainly originates from his eye... read more

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