A good watch is a combination of design and fashion that is both beautiful and useful; a great watch is all those things, plus a bit of the unexpected. The Oblong is a new watch from Bulbul Watches, the Danish timepiece company that produced the Pebble among other minimalist designs, and it’s a pretty great watch.
Created by Kilo Design founder Lars Larsen, the watch is currently available for pre-order through Bulbul’s Kickstarter campaign, which has laid-bare the entire design and prototype process. It’s an unconventional way for an established brand to create a new product and appeals to those interested in the watch’s journey from sketch to wrist.
Here’s what Larsen and Bulbul founder Jacob Juul had to say about Kickstarter, the Oblong and the design process:
Tell us about the inspiration for the Oblong:
LL: The Bulbul product range leading up to Oblong has, on the whole, revolved around nice, clean Scandinavian design. With Oblong, we’ve gone deeper into the past and tapped into the heritage of watchmaking in a way. Oblong is invested with a bit more emotion and is essentially a classic men’s watch made modern and tight, fusing Scandinavian design tradition with a more international heritage-influenced approach. We’re trying to create a collection of aesthetically sustainable timepieces that will be relevant for a long time to come.
Why did you choose to crowdfund this process? How has that been different from your usual design process?
LL: This was actually Bulbul’s choice, so I’ll hand you over to them…
JJ:We’re always looking for new, innovative ways to communicate with people and market our watches. The internet and social media are filled with possibilities. We felt that it was a new and interesting way to interact with our customers. Kickstarter has provided us with a means to reach a slightly different audience and it has, of course, also been a way of generating funds for our next ambitious projects.
Give us a few words that describe the Oblong. Why should someone wear this watch over others?
LL: The word “Oblong” means a rectangle with a length that is greater than its width. It’s a classic men’s watch that pays its respect to tradition while pushing that tradition into a contemporary context. Compared to the predominantly clean and minimal watches that came previously in the Bulbul range, Oblong sports a stronger heritage influence.
In response to why someone should wear this over others; I don’t really feel comfortable telling people what to do. But Oblong is the end result of a long design process. At Kilo, we believe that you have to earn your way to simplicity and Oblong has been through an extensive range of tests and iterations. This is, in other words, one thoroughly designed and meticulously-crafted timepiece! A lot of effort has gone into making it look and feel this way; into getting it just right. I personally think that’s a good reason to wear it.
What is your perception of Scandinavian design and aesthetic?
LL: Seen from above, Scandinavian design is often associated with simple, clean aesthetics and a great respect for tradition and material. The new Nordic wave has been upon us for some time, offering a fresh take on bridging the past and present. That fits well with our approach to designing Oblong.
How do watches, and Bulbul particularly, fit into your idea of Scandinavian design and aesthetic?
LL: Bulbul products are borne out of Scandinavian design tradition with clean no-bullshit design aesthetics, but as mentioned, we are now want a bit more emotion and a feeling of heritage in the lineup and build a bridge to a more international context. Oblong is the first watch in this strategy.
Would you crowdfund a design project again? Why or why not?
JJ: I think we just might. The project is currently 589% funded [Ed note: !!] making it a big success for us. People are responding well to our foray into crowdfunding. So we don’t really see why we wouldn’t do it again.
Want to get the Oblong at 40% off the retail price? Of course you do! Jump on the Kickstarter and get your watch while there’s still time (ha ha). Delivery is estimated for December 2016, so this is also a perfect holiday gift for yourself and/or someone you really, really like.
Find out about other great Scandinavian-designed watches!