8 wearable pieces of art with customizable utility for the legendary Pebble® smartwatch. If you don’t have a Pebble you may still be able to get one before they are all taken – support this campaign and get a Pebble for a discount here.
Simplications range from simple to cinematic. These designs convey the relativity of time* by expanding the essential elements graphically with minimalism, mischievous fun, and gothic mystique. Grouped into three design series: Simplication, Creature, and Perspective, each design presents time in unique ways.
The design goal for the Simplication series is to be minimal and easy to read. These patented designs present new ways of perceiving time. Once you are familiar with them, you may think time has always been displayed this way.
Fingers of Time. An elegant design that articulates the hands of a traditional clock. Each hour has a finger. The tip of each finger rotates to point to the minute. The fingers are grouped, so you’ll never have to count higher than 4.
These watch faces tease and tempt with images that depict the epic journey of time. This series gives the narrative of time the starring role. After all, each minute takes us farther from the beginning and brings us closer to the end.
Hungry. Time is being eaten. The innocent hour is alone until 1 minute past. At 5 past, the smile begins. At a quarter past, the hungry mouth starts to open. It grows to a jubilant half circle at half past. At a quarter ’til the demise of the hour, the next hour peeks in.
Babyface. A baby is innately curious, changing and growing from minute to minute. The Babyface of this design is curious about the minutes that pass. For a baby, 5 minute increments are precise enough. Shake the baby, and he will tell you the exact minute in surprising ways.
Moonbird. A stark Poe-esque watchface that invites the viewer to perceive the passage of time through the bird, the moon and the position of the earth. The animation above shows a variation where all hours are shown in the eye of the bird. In the complete version, this perspective will only be hour one. Other hours will be represented by different perspectives: the bird’s feet grasp the minutes, feathers form the shape of the hour, the wings spread in flight and the bird eats the hour… as each hour unfolds, so does a unique scene.
This series challenges your perspective on the passing of time by playing with proportion and point of view.
Sidealog. Imagine that you are very small, standing between the hands of an analog clock, and looking up. It is 12:00 when the two hands point up away from you, they look very small. At 6:30, the two hands point down and look very large, as if they are reaching past you.
"In Horology, a complication refers to any feature in a mechanical timepiece beyond the simple display of hours and minutes" – wikipedia.org
Funds from this Kickstarter campaign will give me the time to realize the customizability of the watchfaces. The more people that back this, the more complicated they will be. All 8 designs can be personalized with basic settings like color, 12 or 24 hour display and other basic options specific to each design. Additional complications will depend on how many backers join this campaign and how many people continue to purchase the watchefaces afterwards.
The more people that back this project, the better watchfaces will be. Some of the additional complications that I would like to add are: date, battery level (phone or Pebble), weather, step count, heart rate, chimes, bluetooth connection and more. Share this campaign with your friends and other Pebblers to help refine the options.
You can download the first public previews from the Pebble app store. This preview offers only a subset of the planned features.
*Time is Relative
The theory of relativity is used by GPS to calculate your position on earth with an accuracy of up to a centimeter. When looking at a watch we usually don’t need microsecond precision. We just want to know how close we are to an event's beginning or end. We generally don’t even need to know the exact minute. When we speak about time, we mostly use 15 minute increments: we say “quarter past,” “half past,” “quarter to” – even when we know the exact minute.
A good feature in analog clocks is that you see a relative perspective of time. But the similarity of the two hands adds ambiguity. In addition always displaying all numbers from 1 to 12 adds visual noise, without correctly representing the minutes. Minutes are on a scale from 1 to 60.
A good feature in digital clocks is that you get the exact minute (and on some clocks the exact second.) But the fixed digits take away the relative representation of time that better matches the way we talk about time.
The designs in these collections build on the best of both of these traditional ways of presenting time. Some of them are based on a patented concept that integrates the representation of the hour and minute, some are digital-analog hybrids, and all of them add a little art to the utility of telling time.
Apparently when Einstein was a child, he thought a lot about the passage of time. Worrying about how it actually worked would put him into cold sweats. But, he figured it out. Sort of. He was able to work out that time is relative. Listen to these podcasts for a nice rumination on Einstein's God and Einstein’s Ethics.
(See this campaign’s first update for more information on Fitbit’s buyout of Pebble.)
Pebble® has multi-day battery life, an e-paper display that’s always on and an appstore with thousands of third-party apps and watchfaces. You can read more from a few people who think Pebble is the best smartwatch made: Forbes, Gizmodo, PC Magazine, Android Authority, Phandroid, Pebble Stuff, and of course you can read more on one of Pebble’s 3 successful Kickstarter campaigns.
You can download free previews of Simplications for your Pebble from the Pebble appstore right now.
If you don’t have a Pebble you may still be able to get one before they are all taken – support this campaign and get a Pebble for a discount here.
Rajendra Serber: Designer, Programmer, Choreogrpher
Hi. My name is Rajendra. I've been thinking a lot about time. I love watches, but I’ve been utterly bored by conventional ways of displaying time. There are so many more interesting ways that time can be represented.
Until now, I have spent my career working in three different sectors: as an artist making dances and theatre, as a programmer building business systems, and at my father's company, American Ergonomics working with patents, licensing and mechanical engineering. I’ve worked on systems for a wide range of clients including the Glendale Fire Department, Apple Inc, and various other businesses from bakers to lawyers. I’ve performed in dance and theatre in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Australia, Russia, Germany, and Denmark. It’s an unusual, hybrid life that requires very different ways of thinking and approaching projects.
I have been trying to figure out how to simplify my life by integrating these disparate arts. The best idea I've come up with is clocks. I want to make clocks because they embody a beautiful union between art and utility. This collection for Pebble is just the beginning.
Kristin Leith: Marketing Samurai
I’m Kristin Leith. I met Rajendra at Sarah Lawrence College, and, over the years, we’ve made a lot of art together. Like Rajendra, I’ve also had a hybrid existence: making art, doing PR and studying archaeology. I founded and directed C3P Public Relations (1996-2003), a firm that created bespoke PR and marketing campaigns for the performing arts and non-profits in Los Angeles and San Francisco. About 10 years ago, I took a break from the arts and moved to the UK to get to grips with the past, eventually earning a PhD in Archaeology from University College London. Now I work as an academic and consultant.
When Rajendra called to tell me that he had been thinking a lot about time, I jumped at the chance to help. Simplications appealed to me as an archaeologist, because I investigate how past civilazations used material culture to express themselves. Simplications excite me in the present, because these designs beautifully marry art to utility, and allow the wearer to personalize each design as he or she lives their own timeline.
Thanks for reading. Please back Simplications. Tell your friends. Put it on Facebook. Tweet it. Blog it. Tell a stranger who's wearing a smartwatch.
Risks and challenges
The biggest risk already happened. Pebble has stopped making smartwatches. (See this campaign’s first update for more information.) So why continue to develop watchfaces for a platform that won’t be growing? Here’s a few reasons: I want to wear these designs, and I will continue to wear my Pebble; there are still over 2 million Pebbles in the wild; and by making these designs public I hope to develop interest in bringing them to other platforms.
I’m prepared to deliver basic functionality for all 8 faces even if I’m the only user. If you download the preview apps you will see that basic functionality is working for the first two designs. For most of these designs the overhead of setting up digital delivery and programing the interaction, like settings, has taken much more time than the basic graphics. I have a good framework now, which all my watchfaces will share, so I’m confident about delivering all the faces.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (31 days)