Humism: Automatic Watches that turn Time into Art
Our designs emerged from a dissatisfaction with the generic minimalism that is currently flooding the micro-brand watch field. As designers, we view the watch as an artistic canvas, and are excited by its unique creative possibilities. But most watches never fulfill this potential.
We wanted to completely re-imagine watch design, to create a timepiece that makes the most of this medium's uniqueness. And the most unique and fundamental part of a watch, as we see it, is movement. We were inspired by the potential of using time's movement to create visual beauty, and perhaps even philosophical meaning.
In our design research, we drew inspiration from the Kinetic Art movement, vibrant in the early 20th century. Kinetic artists broke from traditional static art pieces, and created art that produced beauty through movement. These innovative visual experiences created new interactive relationships between the artwork and the viewer.
Design is an incremental and often meandering process as we research, experiment, discard, and refine. The journey from initial idea to final prototype took more than a year.
More than a thousand drafts were created as ideas evolved. We conducted five rounds of reviews and testing involving more than 50 people. It didn't help that we are perfectionists, tweaking every detail and casting way too many prototypes to make sure each nanometer was perfect.
We are proud to present three designs, the final evolutions of a year of inspiration.Thank you for supporting us.
Since the industrial revolution, we have become subservient to external routines. Time has become a number used to regiment our lives.
Our Kinetic Art designs use the movement of time to reconceive the watch's purpose. Instead of a keeper of routine, our watches turn time into spellbinding art, revealing the beauty of the flowing present.
Time is no longer a number — time is beauty, time is art. The present is no longer to be planned away, but to be appreciated, as the flow of time mesmerizes and enchants us.
Beyond pointing out a few unique visual aspects of each work, we will refrain from in-depth exposition here, as we believe the meaning of a work shouldn't be shackled by the creator.
Instead, the abstract kinetics in each design are springboards from which each viewer can draw different personal meanings and inspirations. We have already been pleasantly surprised by the diversity of interpretations we have received. We hope our watches will move you, too.
Four concentric rings of circles constitute this design. Alternating expansion and contraction make a play of perspective. Round forms, linear layers and smooth animation scales work together to produce a balanced design.
This ambitious design discards geometricism, using the overlapping of uneven layers to produce organic forms that morph as they spiral outwards. Varying angles create an illusion of differing speeds, adding to the design's dynamism.
Using three sculpted discs instead of two, this design allows for more variation across time. Patterns change in symmetry and size as the hour and minute discs move across one another.
If David hadn't stepped into the world of design, he would have been working in the non-profit field. Even now, giving back remains a personal necessity in each of his design projects.
To keep with this vision, 5% of our sales will be donated to The Red Pencil, a non-profit that uses arts therapy to help those suffering from emotional trauma. Read more about their work with survivors of natural disasters, domestic abuse and human trafficking here.
Designing a watch requires hundreds of small choices, and at every crossroads, we have chosen the path that leads to quality. Here's an introduction to the premium components we use to craft our watches.
Unlike quartz watches which are powered by batteries, automatic watches are powered by human motion. Your arm's movement propels the hundreds of gears and springs precisely assembled in the watch mechanism — a feat of engineering artistry, and a refreshing change from the electronic circuitry we have gotten so used to.
After much research, we chose the Japanese Seiko NH35A movement to power our watch, famed for its durability and reliability. A generation ahead of the already robust 7S26 and 8215, the NH35A is more refined, more accurate, and comes with hand-winding and hacking capabilities.
Our custom movement design is a tribute to the Kinetic artists of the last century, who struggled with the tensions between human and machine as their lives became increasingly mechanized, even as they used these new machines in their art.
In a way, the automatic watch, as a human-powered mechanism, is a vivid illustration of that relationship. It is poetic that the mesmerizing movement of time in your Kinetic Art watch will be propelled by your own movement.
To frame our kinetic art, we designed a case that is minimalistic, almost geometric, with carefully balanced proportions, symmetrical bevels, and clean, angular forms.
The case is made from brushed 316L surgical steel, which is much hardier than the cheaper and more common 304L steel.
Designed to be water resistant to 5 ATM, our watches can be brought to the shower or the pool. However, we suggest you order an extra Milanese mesh band if you intend to get your watch wet, as leather straps are prone to water damage.
Sapphire Crystal is incredibly scratch-resistant, rating '9' on the Mohs scale of hardness, just one spot behind diamonds. We use sapphire crystal for both the top and bottom glass, with additional anti-reflective coating applied on the top glass.
Our straps are vegetable-tanned — a natural leather processing method that's much more time consuming than the more commonly found chemical-based chrome-tanning method. Vegetable-tanned leather ages beautifully, developing a patina over time.
We use full-grain leather for our straps — the strongest and most natural-looking type of leather, as it comes from the uppermost surface of the hide, where all the "grain" is preserved.
Our leather straps come with quick release pins for easy removal. You can order additional 316L Milanese mesh straps for a different look.
All our watches are painstakingly hand-assembled. The expert levels of dexterity and skill required to handle our vanishingly thin discs mean that only veteran watch makers are able to assemble our watches.
We are perfectionists here at Humism, and we take quality very seriously. All watch components are meticulously inspected before assembly, and multiple thorough inspections are carried out throughout the assembly process.
All watches are put through a series of stringent quality control tests, such as water resistance and drop tests. We take the additional step of manually regulating each watch's movement to ensure they keep time accurately.
Our watches come with an 18 month warranty.
* Please note that duties and VAT are not included.
To commemorate the launch of our first collection on Kickstarter, the first 50 backers of each design, 150 total, will receive limited 'Founders Edition' watches.
First forged in 19th century Italy, these straps are uniquely stylish, comfortable, and hardy. Add a set to your pledge if you'll like a different style option, or see yourself getting your watch wet.
With 39mm case sizes, our watches can be worn by both men and women. Our leather straps will fit most wrist sizes.
Kickstarter is a funding platform that gathers people to bring creative projects to life. We chose Kickstarter to launch our first collection because of Kickstarter's vibrant, entrepreneurial, and artistic community.
For Humism, you can see our Kickstarter as an opportunity to pre-order our watches before everyone else. To back us (i.e. make a pledge; i.e. pre-order your watch), simply click the green 'Back this project' button on the top right of this page, and select your reward tier (i.e. the number of watches you want) on the next page. Note that you can only choose one reward tier.
All in all, to bring you the perfect Kinetic Art watch, it has taken us more than a year, upwards of a thousand design drafts, and half a dozen prototypes. Here's a brief timeline of our journey.
We believe in our watches. That's why we have invested our own money in them, and are already deep in the production process. Our early start ensures that you can receive your Kinetic Art watch as soon as possible.
Risks and challenges
Making these watches has not been easy, as both precision and innovation were required to bring our artistic vision to life. However, as we are already deep in the production process, we are several steps ahead of other projects, and have greatly lessened the number of hoops our project will have to jump through after our campaign ends. It is always possible for delays with production though, so we have added some buffer time in our estimates to provide for this. We'll keep you informed every step of the way.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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