Pieces of eight: watches celebrating the octagonal shape

Would you agree that the octagonal shape is the answer to the timeless design of watches? Read on

Who could have imagined the relevance of a single number to the aesthetics of watches? But to be fair, Douglas Adams said that the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything is 42, so why doesn’t the secret to designing timeless watches lie in just one? number, namely number 8. Maybe not It seems so obvious at first, but if one were to think about the two most common and basic forms of watches, one would find circles and rectangles (squares can also be classified as these). Now imagine that if we were to combine the two, ideally we would end up with a shape that would have short arcs of curvature that meet at defined angular edges. These could then be shortened or lengthened to accommodate as many sides as desired. And it is precisely here that the number 8 is found to be quite relevant – because so many watches seem to take the octagonal shape. Here is a short list of some of my favorite watches that embody (and enhance) this shape.

Pieces of eight: watches celebrating the octagonal shape

Patek Philippe Aquanaut: Gerald Genta’s timeless design has been reinterpreted and revisited almost endlessly and yet this watch remains the embodiment of simplicity and elegance. At first you might not notice the eight edges, seamless as they appear, but when you find yourself debating whether this watch is round or rectangular, you will see all eight sides of this story. While here we must also mention the Nautilus, which has a somewhat similar facade.

Pieces of eight: watches celebrating the octagonal shape

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak: Another classic shape on this list and a watch that manages to have a chunky, sleek version with the same front and never looks out of place. Sportier than formal, this is the most versatile watch on the circuit, balancing the complexity of movement for serious aficionados and the brand’s commercial appeal (and size) for the more novice fan.

Pieces of eight: watches celebrating the octagonal shape

Jean Richard Terrascope: A lesser-known brand, it’s not so much an eight-sided piece as a brilliant mix of design of a circle within a square, which creates the effect of an octagon. Extremely sporty, their lines are called Terra, Aqua and Aero, all suffixed with -scope, thus defining the models of style. A serious brand with in-house movements and remarkably affordable.

Pieces of eight: watches celebrating the octagonal shape

Lum-Tec G / V: These are highly functional watches with extreme fluorescence, which means that in the dark, they almost seem to light up with intense brightness. Ideal in situations where you will be in low light conditions for extended periods of time (cave hikes, scuba diving) and the watches are built strong and rugged, anticipating exactly such outings.

Pieces of eight: watches celebrating the octagonal shape

Ferdinand Berthoud Chronometer FB 1.3: A very boutique, high-end and respected watch brand, this piece combines two half-hexagons screwed onto ceramic lugs to create a seamless platinum octagon. It is a Tourbillon, but also a constant force device regulated by a rocket-chain transmission (comprising 790 parts), the assembly of which can require an entire day’s work. It’s just for transmission! Fortunately, a small window on the side allows you to appreciate this gigantic and yet tiny effort in all its visual pleasure.

Pieces of eight: watches celebrating the octagonal shape

Burberry Great Britain: This is the most sincere form of flattery I have ever seen for the Patek Philippe line, if you understand me. But where Burberry scores over the more serious watch brands is in the packaging, having given this watch more color and finish options than any watch brand could have imagined. The movement, as expected in such attractive watches, is secondary. But since this list is about form – and there’s a uniqueness about the facet of Britain – this one rightly belongs here.

Pieces of eight: watches celebrating the octagonal shape

Bulgari Octo: Another pretty reinterpretation of the classic, one with the Bulgari stamp of opulence. The edges appear here inside the circular bezel, all neatly encased in an eight-sided frame. The watch is elegant without a doubt, but it is also a serious timepiece with an in-house movement. Perhaps the most commendable of recent watches to revisit this format.

Pieces of eight: watches celebrating the octagonal shape

Casio G-Shock GA-2100: An unlikely entrant for some, but few people may know that the original design of the G-Shock DW-5000 which debuted in 1983 was an indestructible eight-edged watch encased in layers of cushion and absorption. shocks. This shape revisits us now as the GA-2100 and has been playfully dubbed the “Casioak,” a cheeky reminder of the similarity in shape. But don’t let the seemingly affordable price, even once, denounce its pedigree or relevance; their availability is scarce and some versions will command a market price several times higher than retail.

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About Robert L. Thomas

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