Monday, February 27, 2012

3D Case Drawings

The 3D CAD drawings with the latest revisions are now done. These latest changes will be reflected in another stainless steel prototype (which should be a production ready example).

A few renders from the CAD system:

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Hands are firming up

The dimensions of the hands (including the second "hand" disk) are just about finalized. To accommodate production realities, a few dimensions were  tweaked but otherwise the hands are on track. The hands and the marker on the disk will be produced in at least 3 colors and perhaps more.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Ka La Watch Dimensions

A question that sometimes comes up is, "how big will the watch be?"

The answer for the Ka La watch is:
  • 43 mm wide (46 mm including the crown)
  • 56 mm long (including the lug rings)
  • 12.5 mm thick
  • 7 mm diameter winding/setting crown
Speaking of crowns, one of my pet peeves are watches where it is virtually impossible to move the crown outward to set the time. Some watches have a crown without a contour on the case end of the crown making it really hard to get your thumbnail in there to pop the crown outward. Needless to say, the Ka La watch features a crown with a tapered inner end. It also has the "id" (Individual Design) initials engraved on the end of the crown.

With the lug rings angled downward from the main body of the case, the watch does not "wear as large" as its dimensions suggest. It is not a small watch by any means, but it is not massive looking or clunky to wear compared to some of the really large watches on the market these days. Substantial looking, but not massive to my eye. The curved lug rings actually allow the watch to slide under a long sleeve shirt cuff much easier than you would think.

The Ka La watches use a 20 mm band. Most of the straps I plan to offer will taper and will feature 18 mm deployment buckles in a finish that matches the watch case (stainless steel, PVD black and PVD rose gold).

Friday, February 17, 2012

IP Blue sample on its way

A dial manufacturer under consideration will be sending me a sample dial with IP (Ion Plating) Blue on a silver background. If this finish looks good, then it will be used for one of my dials and also for the hour and minute hands for some of my models. The challenge will be to determine a PMS (Pantone Matching System) color for the marker on the second hand disk that best matches the IP Blue.

What I'm aiming for is:

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Design meets production

Where design meets production, compromise reigns. Some things look good on paper but the reality of production feasibility wins in the end. So tweaks, more then compromise, might be a better description of the latest modifications for the dial designs.

The round hour markers (on the "Classic" dials) which will have lume (glow in the dark coating) can be created with IP plating, but not with enameled colors. So the original design with red hour makers with lume centers have become silver applied markers with lume in the center. The marker at 12 o'clock will still be red. Actually this change will give the black face a bit more flash with the silver circular markers at 1 to 11. The red maker at 12 will coordinate with the red hands.

Tomorrow I will show another dial with the latest revisions.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Details, details

Today I'm showing a crocodile band I bought for evaluation and which turned out to miss my expectations by a wide margin

The grain/pattern on this authentic crocodile watch strap is gorgeous. And the leather has that wonderful aroma of freshly tanned leather. So much for the good news.

I was hopeful as the country of origin is known for their crocodiles (and their skins). However, the workmanship is really third world and the strap is actually far too long (or could have had more holes punched in it) for the average wrist. The fixed loop is not even straight!

The stitching is uneven and on the back the cut and sewing of the crocodile facing to the backing is a joke. So as much as I love the skin itself, this vendor won't be supplying wrist straps for my watches.

Beautiful grain, wonderful aroma
 Poor execution

Uneven stitching

Cat Breading

I saw something funny on the Colbert Report tonight - the latest craze - Cat Breading. Nothing to do with watches, but what the heck. So here are photos of 6 of our 7 indoor cats.

Because we care about their health, we only used whole wheat bread. If you laugh half as much looking at these as we did while shooting them, it will still be a lot. Additional cat wrangling by Tammy and Tristin. 

Mia - our deaf kitten - not too happy

 Ginger - Mia thinks it is funnier on her
 Ginger trying to look regal with a slice of whole wheat
 Max looking shocked - the golden devil eyes are a bonus
 Max trying to look like the Easter Bunny
 OK, now Max has had enough of this breading nonsense
 Fluffy thinks this is camouflage of some sort
 Sabrina, the nervous cat, being unusually calm
 Yeah - stick that face of yours out there Sabrina!
 Now Sabrina is tired of this too
Bootsie wearing the bread like a frenchman with a beret and a beard

Friday, February 3, 2012

Black & Red Strap

I recently received some black straps with red stitching for evaluation to see if they might go well with  Ka La watches with black dials and red hands.

According to the manufacturer (Maratac), the straps are a "composite" material. They have a embossed pattern (top, bottom, sides and ends) which gives the appearance of kevlar or ballistic nylon (which they are not).

The straps are water proof and have one fixed loop and one floating loop near the buckle. These are 20mm wide and do not taper, so the stainless steel buckle is also a 20mm wide item.

Some pre-order customers will be getting Ka La watches with the black case. So if I put these straps on their watches, then a black buckle would be needed. So I have ordered a black 20mm buckle of similar style from another source. When it arrives, I will put it on one of these straps and make another post showing how it looks.

(click the photo to see the strap in detail)

I like the look of the strap with this Ka La model. It gives the watch more of a sporty feel. I will wear a prototype with this strap for a few days and see how the comfort compares to a leather strap.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Ka La Case Prototypes

Starting back in October 2010, I had (what turned out to be) three generations of plastic prototypes prepared. With each generation things improved. Such as proportionality and position of the lug rings and comfort on the wrist. Below are shots of each generation and finally a shot of the prototype steel cases (which are awaiting some minor tweaks before full case production starts).

 First generation

Note that the lug rings were as thin as possible and had "tabs" which descended to provide spring bar attachment points. The lug rings were also on the same plane as the main case body. This design did not conform to the wrist as well as I would have liked. Also, the main case body had a minimal amount of space above the dial for the hands.

 Second generation

In this second generation case, note how the main case body is taller and the lug rings are lower in relation to it.With the lug rings lower, the overall case now provides a center contact point on the wrist which is recessed/contoured in relation to the lug rings. This makes the case more conformal to the wrist. Also, notice how the lug rings now taper and blend more smoothly to where the lug rings meet the main case body.

 Third generation

With the third generation, the lug rings are now angled downward from the main case body. This provides a more harmonious appearance and again increases comfort on the wrist. The lug rings are now essentially a constant height from the spring bar attachment points to where the lug rings blend into the main case body. The case (both the main body and the lug rings) are "barreled". Meaning they have a slight outward bulge or contour. This makes the case look more substantial and pleasing to the eye. And it only added a couple of tenths of a millimeter to the case width.

 Current stainless steel prototypes

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Becoming a watch manufacturer all started with a drawing of a watch. It turned out, the radical hands (with the hour hand being a ring that "floats" over the hour markers) were too involved for a first watch. But many of the overall concept elements (including the curved strap "lugs" and the second "hand" disk) have survived in the nascent Ka La watch. So this badly proportioned drawing is what started it all back in 2009.

2D design work has been done using CorelDRAW.

The decision to base the first watch on a Swiss ETA 2824-2 movement was made in July 2010.

By October 2010, I had settled on "Individual Design" as my brand name and acquired the Internet domain name "". Early work on the website started thereafter as did preparation of 3D files using TurboCAD.

Using TurboCAD to produce .STL and .DWG files, I had plastic prototype cases prepared starting in November 2010. Tomorrow's post will show the evolution (and refinement) of the case design via a series of plastic prototype cases.

Welcome to the blog

Welcome to the "Inside Individual Design" blog where we will offer a view into the evolution of watch designs as they occur.

Stay tuned and follow us as the Ka La ("The Sun" in Hawaiian) watch comes to fruition.